Reese Witherspoon was in the news earlier this week for a comment she made during an interview about talking to her children about domestic abuse. I applaud her for having this conversation because it is such an important one to share.
Growing up, domestic abuse was discussed in our house. My mother made a mistake and married at 16. At the time she thought it was the right thing to do and was a ticket out of her home. Little did she know that the next 5 years of her life would be spent with an extremely abusive husband. It wasn’t until she was sure that he would kill her that she left. Thankfully she did not have children with this man and cutting ties was made a bit easier.
She told my brother and I about her situation as we grew up. The older I got the more I could see how it altered her life forever and changed who she was at the core. She told us that maybe she lived through it so that her children would know that you don’t have to put up with it and that you never treat another person that way. It was important for her to know that her son would never lay a hand on his wife and her daughter would never allow it to happen.
I am so thankful for these talks. I never dreamed that I would be put in the same situation. When I was 18 and broke up with my boyfriend, he turned physical. I knew right then that he could never be trusted again. If he went there once, it would happen again. I filed a police report, issued my statement and the prosecutors took care of the rest for me. I later learned that he was sentenced to anger management classes and community service. I have never spoken to him again, but hope that he learned something about himself. I hope that it never happened to another women in his life. I did what I could to prevent it from happening again.
Talk to your kids about social issues such as abuse. Tell them that this behavior is not OK. Tell them that is should never be tolerated. Tell them to watch out for their friends and report suspected abuse.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, there is help available. Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) for help.