I don’t tell many people this story because it was a long time ago. But it is something I remember every single day.
My stepfather beat my mother for 3 years and emotionally abused my brother. He used to lock my brother in a closet, turn off all the lights and leave the house. Sometimes he’d leave him outside in a thunder-storm.
The last time he beat my mother, he had a knife. The police were called every time he would explode in violence. When they’d arrive, he would cry and say how much he loved us and the police would let him go. That was almost 40 years ago. Back then, they were just called family arguments.
We finally escaped in a midnight move, never to return.
He followed my school bus for weeks and weeks after trying to follow me to our new home. I used to have to walk to a neighbour’s house and call the police. He was charged and I had to go to court on my 13th birthday to testify against him. On my 13th birthday. And after reliving everything on the stand, he got off on all the charges.
He remarried and had children and I am sure they suffered the same as we did.
There were no shelters back then. I think about that often. If there had been a safe place for us to go, I believe we would have gotten away from him sooner.