Bruising

A lot of my thoughts tonight are about domestic violence. Previous stories are flooding back and the horror both real and futuristic is on my mind.

I remember at eleven, somehow learning about domestic violence (not at home, it was a non-subject at home where my parents created a home of innocence and naivety which I now, as a parent, understand) and deciding that I would never give anyone a second chance if they hit me. I've never had to test the strength of my convictions on that one. I'm unsure whether to declare gratefulness because a body safe from the violence of others is surely a basic human right, not an extra blessing?

I remember my first encounter with a story of sexual abuse, of incest. Not in a book; I knew everyone in the story. I remember trying to come to terms with the mother of the abused wanting to cover it all up. I still haven't come to terms with that.

I remember learning of another mother. Her daughter had broken ribs from her son-in-law. 'Stay together for the children.' I still haven't come to terms with that one either.

Today I learnt another story. For the third time, I know everyone involved. I feel sick about every aspect.

This time I too am a mother. I just put my son and daughter to bed, wrapped my arms around their soft bodies and read them stories of Danish winters, crazy green roaring bulls and Roman gladiators (err their choices). I told them I loved them and while I held their bodies, we were safe from the future.

I want to give them every strength. Strength for them to respect their partners in stressful times as well as in fun. Strength for them to know they deserve respect.

Should my daughter ever arrive on my doorstep with bruises and sad children, I hope with every ounce of my body that I will do everything I can to support her into safety. I am doing what I can, everything I can, to raise my children to know safe bodies as a basic human right. So long as I am alive, I want to continue to do that for them, for their children, and their children, for as long as I possibly can.

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