Stories of Survival
765 State Street Springfield, MA 01109 July 2002
participated in this yearís Women, Violence and Adult Education project sponsored
by World Education. We were pleased to be involved in this endeavor as it fits
with our mission statement to help adult learners meet their own personal, family
and community goals. This project was open to all students at Read/Write/Now.
Since our program is co-educational, we felt it would be unfair not to include
the men. We used a "team approach" with interested learners working
in study circles and guiding the large group participation.
is a culmination of many hours of preparation involving discussions, large and
small group meetings, writing, research, art, lectures, video presentations,
theater performance, group sharing, group building, bonding, raw emotions, nervous
laughter, dead silences, tears, and hugs. It was an awesome experience and the
stories in this book reflect the learnersí thoughts, feelings and deepest emotions.
The members of the study circles agreed that all stories would be published
anonymously. Our intention was to create an open and honest forum for the writers.
We believe you will find this reflected in the pages of this book.
Some of the pieces
in this publication are a result of our writersí workshop. The assignment was
to choose an object from the table that either triggered a memory of violence
or provided a source of comfort during such times. You may be surprised at some
of the objects that were chosen and the stories that accompanied them.
As you embark
upon the emotional journey before you, may you realize that these writers are
no longer behind closed doors.
The Chain is
I think when I
was a little girl my sister was abused. I never saw. She was assaulted by her
husband. My father and mother went to my sisterís house to check on her. She
was okay. My sister took the abuse for a short time.
I felt the abuse
at home with my mother. I donít remember very much about my childhood. I remember
getting stitches in my head. She told my father I slipped in the bathtub. I
also remember her burning my hand with an iron. She told my father she was teaching
me to iron and it was an accident. I remember a paper bag between my legs and
burning. My mother blamed me for wetting the bed. Later, the doctor found I
had an infection.
This was not the
only thing. I suffered other abuse from other family members, but I always managed
to defend myself. I remember my mother mistreating my brother too, but I donít
remember about my sisters. However, today when my sister and I talk about my
mother, my brother defends her.
When I raised my
kids (maybe because I was still so angry inside) the only way I knew was to
discipline them the way my mother did to me. My son was so bad. I used to scream
at him. I was so angry. I did bruise him one time. I didnít know how to handle
my children in a different way. Afterwards, I used to go into my room and cry.
I thank God that I have wonderful kids who turned out well and are wonderful
parents with their children. They cut the chain.
Really Be the Same Man?
going on here? Who is this man That yells and screams at me? Constantly saying
his heart, I could never understand. That makes me cry and hurt. Making me feel
unwanted, unloved, lower than dirt. Didnít I try to give him everything?
there, showing my love, when nobody else cared.
Was it all
in vein? I gave him my heart to mend. He was more than my lover, but my best
friend. So when did his love for me end? I donít know, See thatís what Iíve
been trying to understand. And yet I ask myself, Could this really be the same
been with Me All this Time
to kill myself when I was 14 years old. I experienced a lot of violence in my
life. I really couldnít read. My father would ask me to tell the time and then
yell at me and put me down because I couldnít do it. He would yell at my brothers
because I couldnít tell time and he thought that they should be helping me instead
of watching TV. But my brothers really didnít know that I couldnít tell time.
Although my father didnít ask me to do this a lot, I really dreaded it because
I knew that he was going to yell at everyone. Now that I look at it, I know
that he really wanted the best for me because he knew my life would be really
hard. He knew that I wasnít getting a good education. My brothers would bring
homework home and I wouldnít have any. I really didnít like myself then.
I didnít like the way I was living and I was scared to live. There were things
going on that I canít even write here and things that I have blocked. One of
the things that really made me hate myself was that I was picked up in the mini-bus.
My brothers would walk to school or the bus stop, but I would have to wait for
the van. The kids in the neighborhood used to call the van, "The wagon,"
or "The Jerry van, " as in Jerry Lewis. When my bothers got mad at
me theyíd use those terms too. If this wasnít bad enough, I used to have
to wear special shoes that were big and ugly. On top of that, I was going back
and forth to the hospital. This was just too much for me. So I stole my grandmotherís
pills that used to make her calm down. I swallowed 24 of them. I was really
scared. I told my father that someone put something in my soda. They believed
me and watched over me for a week. They never took me to the doctorís. Later
on, I told my mother that I took my grandmotherís pills. My father overheard
this. He grabbed a knife and told me to kill myself. He was really upset that
I took the pills. Life got worse. At age 18, I did the same thing but I
didnít take as many pills. I didnít try to kill myself anymore after that. I
just became an addict. But now, I know that it really was suicidal. I thank
God for being with me and helping me recover. I have learned to read. I have
a job. And sometimes I even like myself.
I found out my boyfriend had another girl. I was so hurt that this happened
but he came to my job with her. And I started to hit him. 4-25-02: I want
to change my life without my hands because I have two daughters and I donít
want it to affect them. 4-29-02: What would I do if I needed to get out?
I would call my sister, call the Domestic Violence hotline, and go to a shelter
until he could remove all of his stuff. Once he does remove his stuff, I would
go back home but I would get a restraining order so he could not come around
my home or me. 5-9-02: I want to get help for my problem because I am afraid
that maybe one day I will hurt my children. I donít want to lose my children
over this stuff I love them too much. 5-12-02: But now we are both getting
help so we can make it better for both of us and the girls.
is a small town on the hill in Jamaica. That is where I first meet Junior and
his family. His mother got five boys and two girls. Juniorís mother clean and
sell cow meat. My grandmother usually send me to their house to buy meat. Me
and Juniorís brother, Mikey, go to the same school and come home at the same
time. I play ball with them.
I never remember
if Junior be in jail or in trouble. I never remember Junior fighting or arguing
with anyone. He was a funny guy. He was a guy that always made you laugh by
remembering something from the past. He would make a joke out of people fighting.
Jamaica in 1990. I leave Junior back in Jamaica. In 1992 or 1993, Junior came
to the U.S. I remember the day like it was yesterday when Junior get out of
the cab on 16 Dunmoreland Street. He was living in Springfield for a while and
was working with some other guys doing car work. He was never in trouble but
he was doing "road work" like hustling people.
He moved from
Springfield to Seattle and then he moved to Philadelphia. That is where he started
to hustle off the streets. One morning my uncle asked me if I heard the news.
I said no. He told me that last night they killed Junior in Philly. They shot
him in the head and stole his belongings and his money. They killed him in his
truck. My uncle told me the police found him in the morning hanging over the
steering wheel in his truck. Someone shot him in the head. Junior died a violent
death. I donít know if all of that is true but Juniorís body is supposed to
come to Springfield. Heís going to be buried in Oak Grove Cemetery on Saturday.
Violence is All
a Part of Life
through some things in their lifetime. What is violence? I think itís all a
part of life. In some homes thereís violence. Dads and Moms discuss it sometimes
and sometimes kids go through violence. Sometime, in the home, people do not
talk about it.
I have seen violence
in my lifetime. I often have been the referee for friends and family members.
Sometimes I get in the middle of these people and try to solve the problem.
Sometimes my instinct tells me to get involved because I want people to be treated
they misunderstand me or they donít listen. That is life, and life goes on.
Wouldnít It Be
When I was a
child, I saw my mother and father fight all the time. I used to think that was
the way of life in order to be happy. When my mother and father were arguing,
they always went into the bedroom and made up. I donít like fighting because
when I get started, I donít know when to stop and that just makes it worse.
I have heard some people say if your husband donít get angry with you, then
he donít love you. I think that if any man hits you, he does not love you. He
just wants someone to be his slave. How do I feel about fighting? I hate it.
I did not like it when my father beat on my mother. I did not like it when I
was young and I donít like it now.
I have heard some
men say some women donít know when to shut up. By that time, I am so angry I
canít stop. I just have to keep going until I say what I have to say. I feel
if I canít say what I have to say, then I am not a free person. I wish everyone
could get along and there was no fighting at all, but I know that that will
never happen. But wouldn't it be nice if every man and woman could get along
and not fight. Boy! What a wonderful world it would be. No matter what color
you are or where you come from, we all could get along.
Abuse All Over the World
Sex abuse happens
not only in America, it happens all over the world. I know more than two people
in Jamaica who were involved. Sex abuse is happening to children in schools,
A long time ago,
I knew these students, a girl and a boy. They were at the playing field during
P.E. class in the afternoon. The teacher left the playground and went home.
A girl friend and
a boyfriend were making love on the playground. Another boy came along. He wanted
to make love too. She didnít want to. But she was afraid of a scandal so she
agreed, but still it got out to the public.
in America, men and women are affected by violence every day. I can talk about
this from my own experience. I have grown up with violence. I have seen my father
and brother solve problems with guns and violence. I have thought about doing
this myself. When someone messes with me, I donít have to take it. I can hurt
this person and solve my problems that way. I think when a person steals another
personís boyfriend; somebody is going to get badly hurt, maybe even die.
A lot of women canít take it. When they know their man is cheating, they want
to hurt both of them, the man and the woman he is cheating with. These thoughts
go through my head. They are very strong thoughts. I know itís not right to
think this way. I canít help the way I feel. The only way out is to hurt the
person who played with your heart. I know I need some help. But Iím not getting
the counseling I need. Iím into some serious stuff. I think my only choice is
to move far away. I told him if you play with my heart, you play with my head.
I grew up in
a violent home. I was in the house when my father shot at my motherís lover.
He just missed killing my mother. My mother almost stabbed my dad with scissors.
Violence doesnít bother me. I grew up with it. My mother and father used to
fight all the time. I went through so much with my motherís boyfriend. He tried
to do things to me when I was 13. I told my mom but she never believed me. He
went after my sister too. To this day I canít stand this man. My brother went
through it. He got stabbed by a woman and he went to jail. She tried to kill
him but he went to jail. My brother was married and his wife was cheating so
he went after her lover and shot at him. Violence has affected my whole life.
I canít sleep and canít pay attention in school. Everyday and every night I
think about my problems. I think about hurting someone. I think about leaving.
Life is Hard
I have problems
with my back. Iím in pain all the time and in and out of the hospital. My kids
have been out of control since I have been in the hospital. Sometimes I feel
so lonely. It has been two months and I am still here in the nursing home. I
ask myself, "When am I going home?"
I asked my doctor
and all he says is, "Not yet."
I was feeling lonely
because no one came to see me too much. I was feeling bad and sad and all I
did was cry and cry. I missed my kids and my family and I missed school.
I learn a lot at
Read/Write/Now. I miss that for real. When I go home in the next few days, I
want to go back to school.
I went through
a violent time when I was a teenager. My ex-boyfriend used to use drugs and
I didnít know about it. He kept it as a secret, but I found out from a few people.
I was with him for almost five years. Just before we had five years together,
I decided to leave him. He was a nice guy, but it was the drugs that pushed
him away from me. Alcohol made him crazy too. He used to beat me up. I didnít
know what was wrong with him. He would take my money from me. He used to act
funny when he was high. I didnít know what to do. Iím too nice a person to go
through this. I have been through a lot of relationships. Right now, it has
been a little better for me. But, if this should happen again, I will go on
with my life. And for everybody my advice is to listen to what they say: "Stay
away from drugs and alcohol."
It Hurts So Much
It hurts so much
when you love somebody so much. She helps you every step of the way but she
rubs it in your face. Thatís why fights and different speculations about problems
occur between two loved ones. My babyís mother doesnít tell the truth to people
and to herself. She said I hit her. I have been raised by a woman. Why should
I hit a woman? I donít get mad all the time. I am a very humble person. After
we argue, I try to work things out because I have a son with this woman. If
she donít love me but loves the most beautiful thing in the world, my son, thatís
important. But that donít mean I donít need to see my son. If she doesnít
let me see him, that is very mean and disrespectful to my son because my son
needs a father there.
Life in Violence
This is my
life story. My childhood was not the best. I saw my parents argue and fight
physically. It was crazy. My parents left each other. My father left with another
woman and my mom stayed alone. She started to work to support us because every
time she asked my father for clothes for us, he would hit her in front of us.
Then I started
to grow up. I was ten years old and my brother was 13 years old. He started
to be depressed and angry a lot. He started screaming at my mom and punching
her and not respecting her. It got worse. He also got violent with me. My mom
was sick of my brother. This went on for five years. I told my mom to put him
in a program but she thought that he was going to get mad at her. So he left
I was turning 15
years old when I met my boyís father and I lived with him. My mom and his mom
forced us to get married because I was pregnant with my son Chris. My sonís
father was mentally abusive and I left him.
I met another man
in my life after I was alone for three years. He looked like a good man and
I stayed with him for four months. He treated my boys like they were his and
I liked that in him. We started to live together and I didnít know that he had
a drinking problem. He started to get mad and argue with me for no reason. Every
time it was worse. He was screaming at me and saying bad names to me. I told
him to calm himself down. That is when he hit me. But one time he hit me so
hard that I called the police. I was pregnant by that time. They took me to
the hospital and they couldnít save my baby. The court gave him 10 to 15 years
I left and moved
to Springfield to be with my mom because she was sick and I started to take
care of her. She died. I promised my mother at her death that I was not letting
no man abuse me no more like my father did to her and my brother did to her
and me and that men did to me too. There will be no more violence in my life.
Abuse in My Life
I have learned
a lot about abuse in America. Some bad stuff is going on, like people mistreating
kids. I heard this old man had sex with a twelve-year-old girl and got her pregnant.
A lot of men and women are always fighting. I knew this guy and his girlfriend
they fussed with each other everyday. I also experienced abuse from my father.
My brother was abused by my father, too. He used to beat me very badly. He also
stripped us naked and beat us real bad. A lot of people used to come and help
us. They took us away from him and kept us for awhile. When he wanted to come
and get us, we never wanted to go back home to him. He always wanted to take
us back to punish me and my brother. So, I ran away from home and never got
to finish my education.
I think parents
should not argue in front of their kids. Because that hurts the kids and then
the kids want to take sides with one of the parents. It seems to me that the
boy always takes the motherís side and wants to fight his father. The girls
always take their fatherís side and want to fight their mother. I donít know
why this is, but it just is the way it is. Kids also get hurt by their parents
arguing in front of them because sometimes the kids think itís their fault that
the parents are arguing.
My wife and
I raised two kids. We never really argued in front of them. We had our arguments,
but we made sure they werenít there. We have been married almost 36 years and
never had any problems with our boys. They never went to jail; they never gave
us any problems. They finished and college. We were a family that always went
to church. Even when I didnít go, my wife made sure they would go.
Here is my advice
for a long healthy marriage. First of all, donít argue in front of your kids.
Next, be aware that a small argument can turn into a big argument. If the argument
gets heated, one of you has to be smart enough to walk away since it takes two
people to argue. Or, if you donít walk away, just leave it alone, just drop
it. Iím not saying that you donít discuss the issue, just wait until things
calm down. When you get "all mad," you lose all sense of right or
wrong. If you are both all mad you would be arguing like you were crazy. If
you donít stop, you know itís going to turn into a physical fight and one of
you will go to jail. That will divide the family.
A marriage is
something you have to work on. There are going to be good times, like whey youĎve
been on vacation, but also bad times, like when you argue about money. Two people
donít always agree on everything. Sometime you need to get in a room by yourself
and think through both sides. Consider all of the angles before you make up
your mind. This time, maybe she is right, or maybe youíre right. A marriage
is a thing that you have to work on together. Communication is the most important
thing for a healthy successful marriage.
I Know How it
Since I was nine
years old, I grew up in an abusive family. I was the oldest. My mother never
sent me to school so I could help her raise my five brothers and my four sisters.
After my mother and my father separated, my mother got another husband who was
a drug dealer. He used to hit my mother and used drugs in front of my brothers
and me and my sisters.
In my young life
I saw a lot of drugs and physical abuse and never got support from my mother.
Up to this day, I never tried to use drugs or drink. And now I got the opportunity
to go to school and be somebody in the future.
My dad used
to come home drunk every night. The only two people up were my brother and me.
I was five years old, and my brother was four. He would beat my mother and then
he would turn around and beat us.
I grew up
feeling sad, scared, and angry. This abuse continued until the day I stood up
to him. I was thirteen years old. He just turned around and belted me. I left
for school saying I wanted to leave home. When I came home, my things were in
the yard. I stayed with family in New York and then in Springfield.
we are speaking to each other. It started with the death of my younger brother.
The experience is still with me. I hope never to cause harm to anyone. It
A Rose that Bloomed too Late
My sister was
in a violent relationship. She got hurt very bad. She got raped and raped over
and over again. It cost her her life. She died at 16 years old. She died on
Christmas Eve. But they found her body on Christmas day. The last time I saw
my sister was on Christmas Eve. I told her to stay at home but she wanted to
go with her boyfriend. He took her to the park and he raped her and killed her,
leaving her son behind. His name is Mark. He was a year old at this time.
The Bible Can
Help You Overcome Violence
It is not good
when a person decides to get even with someone who has done them wrong. Because
when a person walks around with such vengeance in his heart, it boils up and
makes him want to hurt that person so much so, that they think of how they would
then go about getting even. They have to go to the lord because the lord knows
vengeance starts with the devil. Itís all because we refuse to listen to the
lord or go to him in prayer that we want revenge. It has to do with what you
let your kids watch on TV. Most of the movies on the TV are not good movies.
They have so much violence and/or swearing in them. Some people grow up in a
violent household where they see their father and mother fighting or arguing
with each other. The fighting and arguing then becomes a part of them. When
they get married, they bring it into their relationship. Here are some of the
things you can do to over-come violence in your life. You can seek the lord,
Jesus, in prayer and he will give you the victory. The Bible can guide you on
how to get the violence out of your life. You have to pray constantly and believe
that the lord has the power to help you with such violence. Prayer helps a lot.
Today we met
and talked about things that happened in our lives. I hope it will help some
of us to understand life when there is abuse going on in the family. Sometimes
we cannot talk about it. I think the program will be good for some of us. I
think about what happened to me when I came to live with my godmother and godfather.
By doing this, it helped me to overcome my fear of life. I am not unhappy anymore.
Coming to school has helped me a whole lot.
me tell you a story. She was telling me about something that happened when she
was a little girl. I sat there and listened to her going on about different
things that happened in her life. The things she was telling me were amazing.
I canít believe the abuse this person was going through. By this time you must
by wondering who l am taking about. She was telling me about her father! You
were probably thinking she was the one going through it. Yes, she was, because
she would see her father get hit by her mother and that would scare her. To
me that is abuse. Sheís been through a lot. Her mother broke her fatherís nose
so bad that he had to go Boston to get his nose fixed. You hear a lot about
women getting abused all the time, but you donít hear too much about men getting
abused. Probably you know of someone, or you may think, "A man getting abused
by a woman, that is impossible." But you know what? It does happen!
I learned about
violence on TV, while watching about the Vietnam War. I saw all the bombing
and the people getting shot for no reason or were they? I know about Communism,
but why do you think we should care? Why do you think we were in that war? But
violence comes in many forms. You can threaten someone or you can yell at some
kid. Some TV shows like westerns and cops shows, they all have violence. Even
boxing is ok in the ring with the "ref," but not for kids in the schoolyard
or on the street. I love watching the show, "Cops" on TV. It is filled
with violence, people beating people, people yelling at their kids, ladies,
and old people. There are a lot of people on drugs and there are drunks on the
show. They do not walk away from an argument. If kids aged 12, 13, and 14 or
so, watch violence on TV, the kids may get ideas to do the same thing they see
Reaction to the
Scott Girard and Brenda Lopez Presentation on Domestic Violence
* I agree with
the speakers. Iíve never experienced the battered part, but I have been talked
to meanly. I didnít realize it was a form of abuse. I wish the abuse could be
* I was not
interested in the presentation by Scott and Brenda. I believe that if someone
acts out by abusing someone else, it was passed down to them. Maybe a family
member abused them in some way, so they grew up thinking thatís normal. I was
not around any abuse, or ever abused, so I cannot relate. I also believe that
if you are in a relationship where that is going on, and you do nothing about
it, then you like it. I also donít care for anyone who does it or is abused,
because none of it is normal. And if you donít know that maybe you need to get
* At the talk
on domestic violence, I learned a lot of stuff I never knew. What they said
made me interested to find out more about the programs. I would like to talk
to my wife so we could go together for help.
* I do not like
to see people beat on by their husbands or their parents, like in the situations
they were talking about. It is not good to do that. Parents should not beat
their children or abuse them. They should get help to stop beating them up.
They should get out of the situation because I would not like to see them get
hurt. The children do not like to see their mom get beat up either.
* I never
experienced any kind of abuse, but I think the programs are good. I learned
both points of views. We were a close family growing up and never had that.
I never got beat but I was sent to my room. Today, itís a real problem. Something
people should realize if they abuse, is "you are not a bad person, but
you are making bad decisions" when you do this.
* I feel that
violence is a love-hate situation that needs to be dealt with. The reason those
two people were here was to promote non-violence toward human beings. They have
grasped the concept of it, but I feel they have not grasped how to instill it
in other people yet. I hope that in time they will have a more successful approach.
* I can relate
to this. The people like Brenda are good people and sheíll go out of the way
to help you. In my opinion, a man doesnít go for help at all. Itís the
woman who does. I agree when they say a friendship should be 50-50. When a man
takes a hand to a woman, she should walk out of the door. She should walk out
even if he says "sorry," because itís a lie. It doesnít mean anything
you and hurt you.
Speakers on Violence
yesterday were very interesting to me. For I liked the way the lady opened up
everything about women and men. She spoke on both sides. She spoke about men
and women calling each other names. Some of the things she said yesterday makes
me remember what happened to me back in 1977 with my kids and their mother.
My kids were left alone when I was working. When I get home, I spoke to her
about it. She hit me and I hit her back. I am lucky I did not go to jail. But
God take me out of it. I enjoy what both speakers had said and I see it
on the TV and hear it on the radio everyday. Sometimes because of drugs and
alcohol I see men beating women. Everyone can see it on TV news. From what I
see, they end up in the hospital or in jail. It sends a message that people
need to act more like adults and stop acting like children. People need to take
responsibility for themselves and not blame other people for their problems.
Violence is not the solution to any problem. The solution is to go to church
and ask God for help. God will help them. It may take a long time but he will
help. These people also need counseling. They need to talk to someone who can
help them change their behavior.
I liked what
we were talking about today because it is very important. We were listening
to the man and the woman talking to us about family abuse and family violence.
Sometimes you see so many brothers and sisters fighting together. I wish I could
do something about it. I would like to do something to stop them from fighting.
They should sit down and talk about it inside the house. I think when they were
growing up they were abused by their parents. Also when the parents were little
kids they were abused.
Please God, for
those people who would like to hit kids, make them stop. I would like to take
care of them so much. The solution is in the family. If we communicate, we can
solve any problems. It begins with the family.
There is an excessive
amount of violence in todayís society. There are many contributors to this,
like rap music, hard rock music, peer pressure, sex, drugs and even entertainment.
Children as well as teens are showing up on the news because of their violent
behavior. This world has the idea that being tough is the way to be. If youíre
not tough, you canít survive in this world.
of songs today often talk about kill or be killed. They talk about violence
in the home and on the streets. They talk openly about sex and sexual acts.
They talk about gang warfare, race against race, area against area, even family
member against family member. Music is not the only place that violence turns
use violence for entertainment purposes like boxing or action packed movies.
If you think about it, when growing up and being a child, cartoons had a lot
of violence in them. Bugs Bunny had Elmer Fudd who chased him with a gun, and
Thundercats have characters with swords and guns looking for the "bad guys".
Since we were born, weíve seen violence. It sticks to you if you see it all
the time when you are learning about the world. If you donít at least have a
reputation for violence, you are not accepted by your peers in school. They
tease you and put you in with the nerds. You have to make people believe that
you will stand up for yourself. You hope you donít have to live up to your reputation,
but if you have to, you have to do what you have to do. Violence is really an
emotion that tells your mind to react in a hurtful way. Violence is more than
just hitting or shooting someone. You can be violent with words or actions.
But, violence is all in the mind because no one can make you get mad, you have
to give into whatís happening to you to get mad or violent. People let what
happened to them in the past, influence their decision making today. Men and
women get mad and violent sometimes. However, if you want to consider gender
in violence, there is more male violence than female. In the past, it was the
men that went to battle. It was the man that was taught to control and defend.
This is true in the animal kingdom as well. You never see a female lion fighting
for the male lion. It is always the male lion fighting for the female lionís
attention. It is always two males in combat. Basically, you have to fight to
get what you want in this life. And, there lies the problem. What we want is
what we have to get, and we will do anything to have what we want including
is definitely an excessive amount of violence in todayís society. It has always
been and will always be. We canít stop violence but we can try to curtail it.
Parents need to step up to their responsibility and teach their children right
from wrong and that will deter some violent acts. Violence is a thing that is
going to happen no matter what anyone says or does. We just need to show our
children the way they should go and they wonít depart from it. With one child
at a time we can make a difference.
Response to Video
I seen a lady
who the guy abused very bad. They had kids together but they were not even married.
He abused her all the time. She never did anything about it.
I used to try
to talk to her when he wasnít around. I told her Iíd pray for her. The way he
treated her Ė I told her she should do something about it. She said she had
the kids. So, she couldnít do nothing.
A friend of
mine talked to her. She told her abuser and they got into a big argument. She
called the cops. They went to court. He works at Ludlow and almost lost his
Beat Up By Ex-boyfriend
In the video,
I saw men abusing their wives. The wives tried to get away, but the husbands
went after them. It happens because men want to control their women. They want
to have their way. They donít want their women to go out with other men or their
girlfriends. It has happened to me. My ex-boyfriend abused me. He pushed me
down a lot. I told on him and they made him go for counseling. However, he wouldnít
go and heís still abusive.
I still see him
on Sundays. He has a bad temper. I am glad I am not his girlfriend anymore.
Response to Quote:
learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that
person continue to hurt youÖ" (source unknown)
I was with someone
that hurt me. I stayed with him because, all my life, I had learned that you
stay with the guy you love no matter what the cost. You do what you can to get
even in the way that he doesnít know. I hurt him more when I left him and got
a divorce. I know it is not good to get even with the person that hurt you,
but it is good to go and get help for both persons.
Abuse by her
husband Punching in the eye Punching in the head They throw things at you If
you speak to them to stop the fighting, They rage more If you try to ignore
them, They pick at you the more When you think of them attempting to kill you
You want to run for your life
Sometimes I wonder
why people have to be in this mood. I watch the news on TV every evening and
see how much people have been abused. It makes you think what a world we live
in. People ought to have control over their behaviors, and think twice before
they do things. I think when they show bad behavior they should be put in a
place to teach them the way to good behavior. Then they would think to live
good with each other.
abuse comes from "discussing" an argument. When you and someone have
a misunderstanding, you should talk it over and over again until you all understand
each other. When someone is in a bad mood, donít let him or her hurt you. You
should ignore the matter, talking with them might cause them to hurt you. You
should not allow that to happen to you. You should not plan to be even with
them either. Because getting even with them only gets matters worse. Sometimes
people throw out their feeling at you and you adopt it. Then it sometimes turns
out that you are hurting each other.
in a relationship with a mean and violent women. She was arrested two times
for beating her husband. I didnít know that and I had no experience with this.
But, I do remember thisÖ She was standing over me, while I was in bed, with
a big glass candle jar in her hand raised to hit me. I think if she wasnít on
probation, Iíd be dead or in the hospital for a very long time. That was two
years ago. Last night I was in Friendlyís and she walked by me. I said, "Hi."
She said, "FUCK OFF." "Iíve learned that when you plan to get
even with someone you are only letting that person continue to hurt you."
If I Stuck a
Needle in My FingerÖ
If I stuck
a needle in my finger, outside of the pain, anger, and frustration, I would
want to punch someone in the face right at that moment that I stuck myself.
But I love sewing. I love making things. It makes me feel good when I make a
skirt or a pair of pants. But that is not always the case, one day I wanted
to fix the hem on my skirt and I couldnít find a needle. I looked all over the
house. The more I looked, the more angry I got. I got so angry and frustrated
that I could not think, so I just stopped looking and sat down. Boy, it is not
easy to find a needle in a haystack.
Fun, fun, fun,
I like to read books sometimes, but other times, I like to color in books more.
I had more fun with coloring books. I was like a pro at coloring books. But
my mother did not like the idea of me spending time with coloring books. She
did not want me to color no more. I felt small but I was ten years at the time.
I am a creative person. I liked creating things. My mother didnít push me to
read books. I came home from school and sometimes she didnít even see me. Many
times I did anything I wanted. My mother is a nice person. I love my mother
with all my heart. She blamed me for a lot of things. One day, she said to me,
"It is because of you that my life is like this." I did not speak
for a minute. I walked away and I thought about it.
come to my eyes. Itís hard for me, but my goal is to work hard and hold up my
When I was a kid,
I used to play with army toys with my older brother. It took me away from being
outside. My mother always kept us in the house because New York was a bad place
to live. There was too much violence, but we still went outside to play with
Once me and my
brother were playing back in the yard and it was getting dark. My brother told
me we had to go home. We picked up the toys and we were going upstairs. There
we saw a man shot in the head. I told my mother that we saw a man shot in the
head. My mother was so scared that she told my father that we had to move from
New York. So we ended up in Springfield, MA to get away from the violence. But
we moved to Springfield for nothing because my mother and father were fighting.
My mother caught my father with a woman. There was broken plate glass all over
the house. And there goes the violence again.
Where I was living,
there was more violence. Police and the Puerto Ricans were fighting because
the police killed a Puerto Rican. When I saw all the violence, I started to
do bad things like stealing cars, and breaking into peopleís houses. I was a
gang member. I was shooting at the other gangs and beating up people too. I
ended up in jail. When I got out of jail, my life started to change and there
was no more violence for me.
Cologne in the
This bottle of
cologne is really mine. When I was growing up we were very poor and my father
and mother had a farm. They could not buy all of us cologne because we were
five girls. So, my mother would buy one bottle of cologne. All of us would use
that one bottle of cologne. I was just happy to have a bottle of cologne to
share with my sisters. Our first bottle of cologne was Lily of the Valley,
but now I buy all kinds of cologne. White Diamonds is my specialty. The first
thing I do when I have money is buy a bottle of cologne. I tell my family and
my friends to buy me cologne. When I was a little girl, I used to hope that
one day I could buy all the cologne I ever wanted. So now I have about fifty
bottles. I love cologne very, very much. If anyone wants to buy me anything,
buy me cologne.
When I was
a baby, my father beat me with a fry pan because I was crying and he told me
to stop crying. I was only nine months old when he beat me. My father was a
drunk and my mother was a drinker too. So today, I have a speech problem that
my mother told me is because of my father beating me. He broke my nose. My mother
did nothing about my father beating me. She never called the cops or took me
to see a doctor to see how bad I was. I have had to live my life like this.
Powder in the
When I was growing
up in my neighborhood in Springfield, "coke" was in full effect. I
seen a man put a bag under some leaves. I seen him for a while and I wondered
what was in the bag. The man seen me looking at him and he told me to come to
him. He asked me why I was looking at what he was doing. He said, "This
side of the world, you will learn as you grow up." Then he told me what
it was and he showed me what was in the bag.
I was young at
the time, maybe 13. He told me not to tell no one. Next, he showed me how the
drug was used. He had a spoon and put some coke into the spoon with some water.
Then with the needle, he sucked it up and told me to lift up his shirt. He shot
up right in front of me. This put me in a place and I learned to live that life
of the streets For me, it was reality. It was a neighborhood known for this
kind of thing. I learned how to live and survive in my neighborhood.
am not that 13-year-old kid anymore. The life Iím living now is without the
negative. It is still in my mind. The drugs were what made me who I am now.
Before, I would just take their money. I didnít care, but I would never sell
to mothers cause I knew they would do it in front of the kids. All this made
me realize a lot of good you can do with your life. I lost a really good woman
once because of drugs. But now, my life is going the right way. Iím working
and Iím happy and Iím not wondering whoís looking at me anymore.
a Wedding Dress
I was eighteen
and old enough to go out drinking and dancing on my own. I met a guy one night
and had sex. I got pregnant. I didnít know the guy so I never saw him again.
I got sick in the morning and I had no idea what was going on. I had no
one to talk to because all my life my mother pushed me to the side or beat me.
I have an older sister and her friend that I called and talked to. I knew my
mother would have beaten me because I was not married. But by talking to my
sister and her friend, it helped my mother to understand that it was the 70ís
and more girls were having babies without being married. It took my mother a
little time but everything turned out for the good for a little while. Now
I was nineteen and nine months into my pregnancy. I was feeling so good like
I was not pregnant. But March 17th came and so did the little signs
of labor pains. They did not stop me. I drove my mother to the store for shopping
and I told her that I was not picking anything up because I was having little
pains every ten minutes. I drove back home. At four thirty in the morning,
I got my mother up. It was time. On March 18, I had my baby girl. We lived with
my mother for eleven months. Then she told me to get out so I packed up my baby
and moved to Jackson Parkway. I lived there for 13 years. My mother and
I got into a fright over my daughter. After two years of staying home with my
baby, I wanted to work. I got a job in a nursing home. My mother worked at the
same one but at night so she watched the baby in the day. I had sisters and
brothers living with my parents. I did not have to go and pick up the baby everyday.
She stayed there until I had a day off. My mother would also have the same day
off. She would not let me take my baby home so I quit my job and I stayed home
with my baby until she was old enough to go to school. I stayed out of work
for eight years. During that time, my mother saw her granddaughter when
I was going out at night because I needed a babysitter. I went back to partying
all the time because my life was empty without a man in it. It was too quiet.
Since I left home there was no one to beat on me or yell at me so it was time
to go out and meet guys and get into trouble. My mother loved her granddaughter
so I did not have to pay for a sitter. After two years of going out and
meeting guys, I met a real nice guy. We went out for ten years. I got pregnant
with my second child. I told him I was pregnant and he told me that he was moving
to Texas. So after all, he wasnít a nice guy. He was just one of those guys
that got women pregnant and didnít take the part of being the father. I had
two children and no husband. But my dream was to have two kids and never get
married. I came from a big family and some of my siblings are older than me.
So I saw what happened to married couples. They got into a lot of verbal and
emotional abuse. I didnít want that. I was happy just going out meeting guys
and taking them home. Some guys I saw more than one time. I went out with one
guy for six months. He started to abuse me verbally and emotionally. There was
some physical abuse and sometimes it was in front of my daughter and son.
So at the age of thirty-one, I worked three jobs in addition to being a mother.
I had to work fifty hours a week at one place and the other two was bartending
at night and on weekends so that I could give my kids the things I never had.
The one thing I did give them was love. But since I never had love as a child,
it was hard being a mom and having to love my kids. Now my daughter was
turning out like me. As a teen without her mother around, she was seeing boys
behind my back. One of her friendís mothers called and told me. I was hurt but
looking at my background, I could see me in her. I had no friends to talk to
so I did what my mother did to me. I beat her and then called D.S.S. on her
for help. At the young age of 15, she was pregnant. I loved my kids and I would
do anything for them. So I decided to stop the bar scene and get married. I
would find a man that would take care of me like my father took care of my mother
before she died. After my mother died, my father moved to VT where I met
a man who lived with him. We went out and after five months, he moved down here
with me and my kids. We got married in June 1996. It was okay until one day
he got me fired from my job in 1997. I wasnít happy about that. He called my
boss and fought with him over the phone. That was none of his business. My husband
was a drunk and he verbally and emotionally abused me. So one day I called my
daughter to see if my son and I could come and live with her and her kids for
a little while. While I was living with my daughter, I got a D.U.I. and lost
my license. My husband called and asked me to come back. So I did. It was getting
worse. I had no car or job and he lost his job due to his drinking and doing
drugs. So no money was coming in but he always was drinking or doing drugs.
night it got bad. He was physically abusing me, and my son called the cops.
He heard my husband threaten to kill me. So the cops came and took him to jail.
I left and went to a domestic violence shelter and lived there for six months.
Now I have my own place and Iím happy with my son. I donít have a man in my
life now but there will be time for that later in life.
Violence has played a big part in my life. I was born in a low income Housing
Authority property in Holyoke. I lived with my four brothers, two sisters, and
mother and dad. I cannot remember one good time with my dad. My dad was very
hard on me and on my brothers. He hit all of the boys. When my dad and my uncleís
wife had a car crash, my dad died hours later in Holyoke Hospital. I was fourteen.
I did not go to the funeral. I was angry at my dad. I did not cry. It made me
very mad and left me with questions. Did my dad really love us or did he just
like making us? My mother did not graduate from high school. She finished sixth
grade. My mother had to work in a box company. We did not have a lot of money.
My whole family has had problems. My older brother has been married two times
and now lives with a woman. My two sisters married alcoholics. I have been married
three times. My first wife walked out on me and left me with my daughter. My
second wife sexually abused my daughter. I divorced my second wife. My third
wife is very good to me and to my daughter. My wife has two children, one boy
and one girl. I had an argument with my daughter. I was mad at her. She was
not home when I came home and there was no note. I did not know where she was.
Then she came home and her boyfriend was there. He is not allowed in my home
when I am not at home. I grounded her for two weeks. She got mad at me. I yelled
at her, and she yelled at me. I got in her face and she hit me. My glasses went
flying. I slapped her, and then she ran out of the house. Minutes later the
police were out in front of the house with my daughter. The police did not help.
They made things worse. All they wanted to do was arrest me or my daughter.
The police often play the game of good cop, bad cop. I live near a neighbor
that calls his girlfriend all kinds of names. The man has a little boy that
will grow up the same way if he does not change. I think one day the man will
kill his girlfriend. He talks about killing her. On May 12, 2002, my stepdaughter
called me. I have not seen her for three years. I could not believe it. She
thought I was mad at her. She told me that her step-dad tried to abuse her sexually.
So now, she lives with her dad. Her brother had run away. His mother called
the police on him. God has given me two gifts. One is that I can talk to strangers
about my deep personal problems. The second one is that I love people, children
and animals. It has taken me forty-six years to see the gifts that God gave
me. Read/Write/Now School has helped me with my anger. I think that school can
help children too.
It was a Sunday,
and my nephew came over. My brother cooked him a steak. I asked him for a piece
of itóit made me very sick. I went to the hospital and they gave me a shot of
Compazine in my arm. They said it would stop the nausea and relax me. Well it
stopped the nausea but... It made me anything but sleepy. I was totally hyper.
I got into the house and I started slamming the doors. I told my mother to rub
my back but I couldnít sit still long enough. I went into the kitchen and looked
at the stove. A voice kept telling me to "put it on, put it on." I
was also in some kind of trance as I was looking at the stove. My brother went
to get my mother. My mother came in and stopped me. She asked me why I wanted
to turn it on. I told her a voice kept telling me to put it on. The doctor
called from the hospital to see how I was doing. My mother wanted to bring me
back to the hospital. The doctor said it would take 72 hours to get the drug
out of my system. During days #2 and #3, I was shaking my feet and my arms.
I tried to lie down for a few seconds but it didnít work. My mother wanted to
take me outside to wake me up. She said, "Iím sending you back to the hospital,"
like I was something that could be returned to a store. She didnít know what
to do with me. By this time the voice was gone, and I wasnít slamming the doors
anymore. I was just walking back and forth. I was very tired. I looked at myself
in the mirror and asked myself, "Is this what medicine can do to you?"
My face looked like a zombie, and I was walking like one too. My arms were straight
out in front of me. My mother thought I was the "Energizer Bunny"
because I kept going, and going, and going. About 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the whole
thing came to an end. I didnít have the funny stare in the mirror and I was
finally standing still. I could walk normally and I could put my arms straight
down by my side. After three days of walking, standing, and being uncomfortable,
I was able to sleep. I slept for 24 hours. A week later, my psychologist said
my reaction was called, "The Ping Pong Effect." I had never heard
of it and she told me that a lot of people go through it. It made me feel better
that other people went through what I went through.
If you try
to get even with someone, it just makes the situation worse for you. If those
people have power over you, they use it to control you and manipulate your life.
I see a book, it brings back so much memory about my family who was very educated.
My family always wanted me to read. They sent me to different schools and they
tried their best with me. My mother, especially, used to sit and cry about my
learning disability. I used to give her comfort words to make her happy. I created
things to make her happy. I lived in Jamaica until I reached thirty-three.
My wife and me migrated here. Two years later, my wife passed away. That was
a big shock for me. I had known my wife since I was seventeen. We had six kids.
That caused me concern to find someone to marry and to take care of the kids.
That was the first time I know the world was cold. In my second marriage,
it was the first time I know about violence. My second wife and her two sons
abused me mentally and physically. I finally filed for divorce. I gave up everything.
I only kept my house. She took everything, furniture, furnishings and money.
I started my life all over again. It was a new page in my life. I started
a lawn service, and a snowplow company. Then I married again and started a new
life with my wife. Then, she became greedy and put me down and called me different
names. There was physical and verbal abuse. My plan now is to get rid of her
and start my life again. All this experience has motivated me to write about
the missing pieces in peopleís lives that have caused them to be mean.
This Story is
There is a lot
of violence and abuse in the world today. We hear about women and children being
abused. But what about men? There are a lot of men being abused. When a woman
or a child has been abused, we hear about it on TV or in the newspaper. But
when a man is abused we donít hear too much about it because heís ashamed or
he doesnít want anyone to know heís been abused.
Some men put up
with abusive women because they love the woman or they have children and he
doesnít want to leave his children. A manís pride keeps him from telling anyone.
The woman knows he wonít tell anyone so that makes the woman more aggressive.
She knows her man or her husband wonít report her to the authorities.
I know a woman
who used to beat up her husband. She was always hitting on him. He would throw
up his hands and walk away. He knew that if he left her, his kids wouldnít be
treated right. Here is another story about a man being abused. The man left
his wife and moved in with a friend. The man moved out because his wife would
throw stuff at him, swear at him and was also cheating on him. So the man was
at his friendís house and the wife came by. They wouldnít let her in. She broke
the glass in the door, reached in, and unlocked the door! When she got in she
was screaming and yelling. The guy was going to call the police on her, but
the husband told her to leave. He didnít call the police because he did not
want her to go to jail for the kidís sake.
we hear about abuse, the first thing we think about is someone beating someone.
But that is not always true. When there is abuse, it doesnít always have to
be about physical fighting. There are other ways to abuse. I have a friend who
worked two jobs. His wife did not work. She would nag him and wouldnít have
his food prepared for him to go to his other job. She knew he only had enough
time to walk in, and change his clothes before he was off to his second job.
He didnít even have time to eat at home. He had to take his food with him and
yet she didnít prepare food for him because she wanted to torture him.
They had three
children and she knew he loved his children and he wouldnít leave them. So she
took advantage of him. She kept nagging him, bossing him around, swearing at
him, etc. She knew he loved his children and wouldnít do anything about it.
He had too much pride to tell us about it, so he didnít talk about it.
we hear about domestic violence donít think it is just about women and children.
There are a lot of men being abused too. Abuse and violence are a big problem
in the world today. We hear about it on TV, in the paper and on the radio. We
have to find a way to stop it.
When I saw my
husband for the first time, it was inside the school. I looked at him like he
was a good boy. When I looked at him again, I talked to him and asked him why
he was looking at me. I do not have a monkey in my face. For two weeks after,
we talked more with each other, sharing ideas. We started a relationship like
he was my boyfriend and I was his girlfriend. After four weeks, we did not think
it was bad to have relations. After one month, I had to go the hospital because
I was not feeling good. I was feeling bad. When the nurse saw me she talked
to me. I was pregnant. Two months after we had a wedding because I wanted to
get married to him. We got married on March 20, 1993. So my baby was born on
September 13, 1993. Sometimes we had arguments and fights. The problems were
coming more and more in my life. I tried to protect myself because maybe another
baby was coming. I lost that baby. Well, two years passed and I was pregnant
again with my second baby. I was happy in one way and in another way not too
much because of too many arguments. When I saw in one moment that I was pregnant,
it was too late to try to talk to him about the situation. The same year my
daughter was born, I left to Puerto Rico with my two daughters. I stayed in
PR for 8 months. My babyís father went to PR to try to pick up my daughters
and me. I talked to him and I told him your daughters and I are not going nowhere
with you. So two weeks after, he left to Springfield. At that time I said OK,
let me give him another opportunity. I came back to Springfield in 1998 with
my two daughters. We tried talking again about trust. I thought we could come
to an understanding about how I could trust him and for him to trust me. We
talked and I told him not to talk bad words in front of my daughters and no
fighting in front my daughters. Things were ok for a little while. Three years
after, we canít understand each other. Sometimes we were screaming too much.
I was crying because he tried to make me feel bad about everything. Anyway now
the time had come. I had to say stop and I had to be more of a mother than a
woman. For now we caní t stay together. Sometimes people donít know they have
something good until they lose them. My husband left my house because he did
not want to stay with me no more. I want to tell God, "Thanks," because
he heard me when I talked with him. God brings me more strength and makes me
a stronger woman. Thanks to God for giving me my daughters.
Breaking the Chain
saw things I never saw before. How can a woman and man who are in love to a
point of deciding to marry and to live together forever start to fight each
other? How can they start calling each other bad names? I believe that after
they start calling bad names the violence comes up. So the man starts to abuse
the family. In the beginning it started with his wife and afterwards reached
to the children. After these big problems come around, sometimes they get divorced.
Some others go to jail because they abused others so much. They wanted control
I remember a couple
who was always fighting because he fooled around with some other women. One
day they started to fight and he grabbed a knife and he tried to kill her. He
cut her throat. After, he cut his throat too. The result of this was that both
of them went into the hospital. He almost died. After, they were in court and
he got punished with two years in jail.
I think that family
violence and abuse comes from the parents. Some parents donít respect the children.
They say dirty words in front of their children. They talk about everything
when their children are around. Sometimes they think kids donít pay attention
because they are always playing with some toys, but they hear everything and
they learn quickly. And they grow up with no respect in the family. Some parents
donít care with their sons, they donít teach them or give good advice to them.
Some fathers abuse
their daughters sexually because they donít have a good sense as to what family
means. They donít know much about religion so they donít see the bad things
they cause for their daughters in the future. They must live for the rest of
their life with that on their minds. I believe that must be hurtful forever.
I think nowadays there is a lot of violence in families because of drugs and
I want to leave
some advice to all parents. Try not to have arguments in front of your children.
If they have any problems, talk with them nicely. Try to speak so they trust
you. If you get their trust, you can help them resolve their problems. Check
out who their friends are, those, that they are used to going anywhere with.
If they are good, then it is okay. If they are troublemakers, they make our
kids worse than they already are. So we have to show them what could happen
in the future if they continue causing trouble. Sooner or later they will get
caught by the cops. I donít think any parent would like to see his child in
What is Abuse?
married on June 26, 1971. In my first year of marriage, my husband was a loving
husband. The first year of marriage, I lived in Springfield for 11 and a half
months then, we moved to Worcester. He worked all the time. I thought he was
a good man. The first year we were married, I was pregnant with my first baby.
I had my first baby boy. My baby boy was born in 1972. My husband was still
working all the time. My second year of married life was good too. I was pregnant
with my second baby the next year. My second baby boy was born in 1973. My third
year was ok with two kids running around. My husband was still working very
hard. My fourth year with my husband was still ok, but he lost his job. He was
out of work for six months. I told him to get a job. I was on welfare. I was
getting money and food stamps. I had two little ones to feed and take care of.
He started to yell at me and throw things on the floor. My husband started to
hit me and break my things. Then he got a job and was working fifty-nine hours
a week. He was working at a place that was called "Mass-ten Truck Stop."
He was on drugs. He came home tired and hungry, and he started to hit me. I
tried to put my kids to bed before he came home. My older son saw him hit me
and he was scared. My fifth year of marriage was hell. My husband started to
hang with kids that were teenagers. My husband was in his twenties and the kids
were sixteen to eighteen years old. My husband was taking off with the teens
two or three days a week. I stayed home with my two boys. I had to take care
of them, clean my home, feed my two boys and take my boys to the doctor where
they got sick. I was pregnant with my third baby; it was a girl. I was still
on welfare. As the year went on, my husband was still hanging with the teens.
The next year my husbandís friend tried to rape me. That year I moved back to
Springfield with my mother and my dad. I got on welfare again. I was on welfare
when my husband moved down here. For six months, he went back and forth to Worcester
to go to work. Then he found a job here. We still lived with my mother and dad.
In two months we found a place and we moved into it. For the next four years,
things were wonderful. Then in 1984, my oldest son (who was 12) started getting
into trouble by smoking weed, stealing cars and running away. My husband started
hitting him. I went between them. So, my son turned out just like him. He hit
his girlfriend. It was like my son and husband were the same person. Now
that my son is in his 30ís and my husband is in his 50ís, they get along. My
oldest son landed in jail so many times that he finally learned his lesson.
He is a changed man and he no longer abuses his girlfriend. And my husband changed
because once I called the cops on him, and he didnít want to go to jail. I told
him I would drop the charges if he agreed to go and get counseling. He did and
now things are back to normal.
Why Iím here in this group...
I was mentally
abused by my grandmother, Tina, my motherís mother. I think Tina was a mentally
ill person. She told her youngest daughter and me, at my kitchen table, that
her mother mentally abused her. Tina was the darkest of her family. She said
she was treated like a slave. So, the old cliche of light skinned blacks being
treated better than dark skinned ones was true in her case. She wasnít allowed
to eat at the table with the adults and her siblings. She had to eat separately.
I think because of the way Tina was treated, she had anger for her children
who were light skinned, like my mother and her youngest sister, Mikey. Tina
had Mikey, the youngest daughter, declared mentally ill. We believe that Mikey
is a hermaphrodite, but the family wasnít allowed to discuss it. To this day,
it is still not discussed. The family thought that Mikey was her favorite, but
I think she just wanted her under her control so she could collect the social
security from her father. If you love someone you teach him or her how to survive
in life. If you control someone, you alienate him or her from society. Thatís
not love, thatís abuse. Tina had a son, known to me as "Cuz." He was
her only boy out of five children. They say that she was crazy about him. He
was sent to jail for life. We donít have a clue about what has happened to him.
But here is what I remember of what happened that night... I was a little girl
and my mother was working nights at a bar around the corner from where we lived.
It was in Hartford, CT, on Westminster Street. One night I walked to my motherís
job. I think I remember it was a dark, clear night with music playing and bar
lights. As a little girl I tried to walk in and ask for my mother. But they
wouldnít allow me inside. So Cuz must have seen me because he came outside.
I asked Cuz to go get my mom for me. When he did, I donít know what happened,
but Cuz and a man were arguing and the man started hitting on Cuz. The man pulled
a knife on him and they struggled for the knife. Cuz stabbed and killed the
man in self-defense. Someone yelled, "Call the police." I think Cuz
was saying, "I stabbed a man." The police came and took him away.
I cried. I didnít understand why they took my uncle away. That man had tried
to hurt him! I do know that Cuz wasnít trying to kill anyone, he would not even
hurt a fly. My mom came out and took me home. I thought I would see my uncle
again, but I never did. I do think that the police allowed him to come inside
my house to say good-bye to me. (I think they let him do that because I was
a little kid and pretty scared.) Then he disappeared forever and I never saw
him again. Tina was in contact with him, she said, but until this day, I am
not sure if she lied about that as well. Then over the years he stopped calling
her or writing her. So once again, we lost Cuz for a lifetime. His son, "DK"
had to grow up without a father. The family and his mother helped raise him.
Now DK has a child of his own. So that means that Cuz is a grandfather and doesnít
know it. DK and the family donít know if Cuz is even alive, or if heís living
a wonderful life undercover. Tina said that he was out of jail and living an
undercover life. She said he was in a spiritual place. We couldnít find him
to let him know that his mother died on June 19, 2001, in Valdosta, GA. "Cuz,
if you are in heaven then you are with your mother in peace." I am not
sure if that evil woman is in heaven. She lied to and manipulated many people
throughout her life. Tina had hurt many people in the family. But she was a
churchgoing woman and I believe that an evil heart can be turned into a spiritual
heart in the end. Wherever she is, I hope she is in peace. I have come to believe
that she was mentally ill and in a lot of pain during her life.
Too Many Beers
Today was hell
for me, because today was Daddyís check day. Yeah, I know what youíre saying
to yourself, "Okay today he got his check, whatís so bad about that?"
Well, for most daddies, when their payday rolls around, they come in the house
with something for their kids. But not my daddy, he comes in the house with
a pint of Mr. Boston Vodka for my mother and two cases of Miller Lite for himself.
Then he sits in that red rocking chair of his and rocks back and forth, drinking
can after can until...CRASH! Someone broke my motherís favorite crystal set.
But who? My brother, John, and I were in my room playing with my Playstation
when the crystal was broken. So it wasnít us. Now my father doesnít know who
to blame, and John and I know what that means. My father comes stumbling into
the room, "Which one of you broke your motherís favorite crystal set?"
he yelled. "We didnít," we replied. "Youíre lying to me!
What did I tell you two about lying to me?" "Daddy, NO!" we both
yelled, because we knew what was next. My father grabbed my brother first. "No!
Daddy No!" I yelled out. "Please donít beat him. It was me. I did
it." My father looked at me instantly. "What!" he yelled, "You
were going to have me beat your brother for nothing? Now youíre really going
to get it." I was standing there shaking and scared to death. My brother
was sitting in the corner next to where I was standing. We both watched our
father storm out of the room. "Tina, what do you think he is going to do
to you?" my brother asked cautiously. "I donít know," I answered,
"But if it gets too bad John, call 911." My brother nodded, "Okay,
I will." "TINA!" my father yelled out. "Yes, Daddy,"
I answered. "Strip. Iíll meet you in the bathroom in 5 minutes." "Yes,
Daddy," I answered. I began to cry. "What is he going to do to you,
Tina?" my brother asked again. But this time I didnít answer him. I just
took off my clothes and went straight to the bathroom like my father said. When
I got there my father had warm water in the tub. "Get in," he said,
"I will be right back to deal with you." I got in the tub, I began
to notice that there was salt in the water. Then all of a sudden, WAP! I felt
a sharp pain across my back. I instantly looked up to find my father standing
over me with an extension cord. He began beating me and beating me like a wild
man, until finally I lost consciousness from the pain. When I woke up, I was
in the hospital. My brother was there next to me. "What happened?"
I asked. "You passed out from Daddy beating you. But you donít have to
worry about that anymore," my brother answered. "What are you talking
about, John?" I asked. "Well, Daddy is gone and now Mommy is too,"
gone where?" I asked.
"Mommy is in
jail and Daddy, well, Daddyís gone forever." "John, what do you mean
ĎDaddy is gone forever?í And what is Mommy doing in jail?" I asked. John
looked at me with tears in his eyes and began to explain what happened. "Tina,
while Daddy was beating you, Mommy woke up because of your screaming. So when
you stopped, Mommy thought that Daddy had beaten you to death, for sure. The
tub was full of your blood. We really thought you were dead. Mommy was so angry
that she jumped on daddy screaming ĎYou killed my baby.í I tried to stop them
but, before I knew it, Mommy had a knife and was running toward Daddy. It was
too late. Daddy fell to the ground, and he was gone. I ran to call 911 right
away, just like you said. And thatís how we got here." I sat there in shock..
"Daddyís dead," I said to my brother. "Yes," he said, "I
watched him die." I began to cry, "Oh no, this canít be happening
to me." My brother hugged me and said, "Itís going to be okay. It
just a shame that all of this trouble was caused because Mommy broke her favorite
Friends of the
Homeless Day Center/ Womenís Shelter 503 Worthington St. Springfield, MA 734-9946
Worthington House Friends of the Homeless 769 Worthington St. Springfield, MA
732-3069 Veterans Transitional Home 52 Maple Court Springfield, MA 746-6539
MASS Housing and Shelter Alliance East Longmeadow, MA 525-4710 Brightside Counseling
2112 Riverdale Street West Springfield, MA 788-7366 Springfield Rescue Mission,
inc. 19 Bliss Street Springfield, MA 732-0808 First Call of Springfield Springfield,
MA 737-2712 Brenda Lopez Police Task Force for Victims of Domestic Violence
Springfield, MA 787-6888 Scott Girard MOVE Men Resource Center Springfield,
MA 734-3438 YWCA OF Western Mass Main Office 120 Maple Street Springfield, MA
732-3121 YWCA/ SafePlan 50 State Street Springfield, MA 731-9143 Abuse and Rape
Crisis Hotline/ARCH YWCA of Springfield Springfield, MA 733-7100 YWCA/New Beginnings
Westfield, MA 24 hour hotline 562-1920 (800) 479-6245 Women's
Institute for Leadership Development Springfield, MA 747-9300 Family Advocacy
Center 2 Medical Center Dr. Suite 201 Springfield, MA 794-9816 New England Farm
Workers Council 1640 Main Street Springfield, MA 272-2208 Crisis Services of
Franklin County 164 High Street Greenfield, MA 1-800-562-0112 The Carson Center
for Human Services 24 hour crisis hotline 568-6386 Griswold Center Domestic
Violence Resource line 283-7622 Womanshelter/ Companeras, Inc. Holyoke, MA 536-1628