This story will not be balanced or accurate without mentioning its impact on the children – the ones innocent in all this…
One day my mum called my attention to the rehearsal and accounts of my 2 and a half year old daughter who sat under the table, relieving and recounting events between her parents.
She kept repeating over and over “daddy hit mummy! Daddy kicked mummy…” I was so shocked to hear this! It was a wake up call for me as you can imagine.
The blog story makes me look innocent? Far from it!
I’m embarrassed to admit that our children learned early on, to call the authorities when they sensed an escalating arguement in the home.
You hear so many stories about people reacting in self défense whenever they were in a threatening situation. Well I kind of resorted to ‘unfamiliar’ strange means to defend myself, (you will have to hear this bit on a one on one basis😒🙊).
I remember one occasion when they visited because they heard a child call the police! I learned a few skills… the ability to utilise other tools in the house as a gear box… (I’ll say no more).
Also mum called me one day to witness one of the kids hiding behind the sofa after he had taken a sweet without my approval. I had always wanted to kids to have brilliant white, non problematic teeth unlike my own experience. But one of the children was thinking difffentlt…
It took an Ibo friend’s comments to shock me into considering that the kids might be suffering the temporary ‘loss’ of their parent and needed the security and reassurance mummy could provide. Because I had become so absorbed with the pressures of having to change ‘mindset ‘quickly, to think for myself again, make my own decisions, deal with seeming ‘harassment’ and threats, handle the new task of being mum and dad to 3 young children. It was a very tough time. 😢
I had forgotten the pain my children might have been feeling. A subtle reminder of my role as a parent, from a friend, was timely as it diverted the focus away from my pain to other areas of gain.
It wasn’t easy to decide what story to tell the kids as things were so distorted back then.
Where is daddy? When will we see him again? If ever…
Well I had resolved within me that children were not going to be used as pawn and that they had a right to access their father. I think I had heard enough stories of children being shut out of negotiations involving connections with an estranged parent.
I had heard of too many needless battles over where the children live or who they lived with.
So embarrassing this but I’ll share it. A lovely hot summer day. One day the children were due to be picked up for the weekend away. And the matter of maintenance and support for the kids was still up in the air.
So when their dad arrived he noticed that the children’s clothes were old! And my son’s trousers 👖 (pants) were just below the knee, so they were neither shorts or trousers.
I was asked the question, “where are the children’s clothes?” I can’t remember my exact words but I think they were to this effect: the children can wear whatever clothes you have bought them. The result, when they were returned to us, they had a different set of clothes on.
It was interesting that at that time, the male judge presiding over the matter dismissed my concerns about not having an address for where the children were being taken to!
He was of the opinion that even if the children were being taken to a box under the bridge, as long as they were returned to their mother, it was OK!
That statement came as a shock from a man of incredible experience.
In retrospect, I am glad, we finally came to an agreement about where the children lived and how often they had access to their father. It did not solve future problems though…
Copyright ©Arinola 2017
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3 thoughts on “Who will speak for the children?”
Another amazing and inspirational blog. Admire your courage, wisdom and strength. We have to keep talking about DV and raise awareness so women or men can feel empowered to make positive choices in their life.
Thanks Karen. Hope you are well?
Thank you Karen. It has taken a lot of guts to share my story. How are you doing?