The 10 year old Ricky was everything perfect. He was the apple of his parents eyes. He was the brightest kid on the block. Deep brown eyes,vivacious smile & talks that would melt your heart was the way Ricky was. Oh and he was a great student and yes,he was Miss Melissa’s pet. Miss Melissa was always in awe of Ricky. She couldn’t have wished for a better student. His homework was always done,his uniform a crisp clean one,he actively participated in class,a first bencher,a friend to all & most importantly a sympathetic soul. Ricky always stayed back after school to help Miss Melissa gather her belongings. Ricky & Miss Melissa were on the same block. It usually happened that after school,Melissa & Ricky would walk back home together.
Melissa had been married for the past 6 years,and still was in the wait for the white storks to drop her bundle thru the chimney. How she wished that she had a son like Ricky.
“Ma’am would you want me to wipe the blackboard clean??” Squealed Ricky. Melissa nodded a yes. ” lucky parents!” Said Melissa under her breath and smiled at Ricky while she tucked her cardigan neatly into her handbag.
It wasn’t until a few months later,that Melissa started sensing and seeing drastic changes in Ricky’s behaviour.
His homework came back with blank pages,his uniform with a stray stain over here & there,he seemed quieter & less interested than usual,he started flocking to the last bench& would be found sleeping on the desk,his beautiful sun kissed complexion had started falling pale & he found excuses to not stay back after school. When Melissa questioned him why he didn’t stay back,he curtly replied “Mum wants me home soon”.
Something was going on & Melissa had to find out. This wasn’t her Ricky. She would’ve to corner him if that is what it would take to have him tell the truth.
As luck would have it,Melissa heard cries of a child near the Boy’s Bathroom. She followed the cry and saw Ricky bawling with his head on his knees.
” Ricky,my child. What happened? Are you ok dear? It’s Miss Melissa,look up to me child. What happened?” Asked Melissa.
Astonished & ashamed,Ricky furiously started wiping his tears. Gasps for air left his mouth. Ricky kept nodding& nodding. ” Nothing ma’am. I just hurt my knee.”
After a walk & some ice cream at the park,Ricky calmed down and broke into a fit of tears,”Ma’am Pop hits Mum everyday. Pop was never this way. I was so happy when he got back from Dubai,I thought Pop would be with us all the while,but I really wish he never came back. He hits Mum with brooms,fists and even shoes. Mum keeps on crying,she says she ought to have been dead. When I shout at the top of my lungs that,POP,LEAVE MUM ALONE PLEASE!! Pop pushes me too & locks me up in my room,but I can hear Mum cry and wail. I, see Mum’s puffy eyes,bruises& torn sleeves. It hurts me Ma’am. If Mum dies, i intend to go with her too. Me,her&grandpa will be happy there. I wish Pop was never back,I hate him.. I hate him.. I hate him so much.”
The world came falling down on Melissa when she heard this. Never in a billion years,did she think Sebastian would do this to Ricky. Sebastian lost his job last summer.Recession had hit Dubai pretty hard,a lot of immigrants were given the pink slips and being packed back home. Sebastian had always been stubborn about acclimatising to Indian environment. He had failed to accept any job that had paid him lesser than his pay in Dubai. Ronald,Melissa’s husband had even given Sebastian some advice,but I guess that had done no good.
Clearly,Ricky had been the victim of domestic violence and depression. The child had been going thru a lot of mental agony. Melissa should have seen it earlier,his falling grades,his eyes,his demeanour had said it all. It’s time Melissa paid Sebastian a visit,this time as Ricky’s teacher.
This isn’t the story of just Ricky and his family. This is the story of every household,where there is some form of domestic violence. Domestic violence isn’t just Inflicted on the spouse but children too are the bearers&receivers of that atrocious brunt.
There isn’t anything wrong in heated arguments,we all face it. Yes,me included. Nobody, read nobody ever has a perfect relationship,where there are just agreements and no disagreements. If you were to tell me that you have such a relationship,then i’d have to exclaim that,”Either you’re dead and in Heaven or alive and in Utopia OR really Sir/Miss,stop that gobbledegook will you,do me a favour and go fool a juvenile,please?”
What is unacceptable is physical,mental&verbal abuse such as pushing,hitting,breaking things,swearing,degrading,shouting,threatening etc. It might seem normal and acceptable to the person inflicting it,but make sure that the person who receives it doesn’t believe this is normal. Everyone has the right to be respected in a relationship. No spouse is inferior than the other. This abuse isn’t just abnormal,it is also highly derailing for the abused. The agony is so great that the ” abused” sees death as a luxury. People & children of domestic violence have “Suicidal tendencies”. An abuser seeks control over atleast something in his/her life,and abusing is the only way he/she finds solace.
Children who are subjected directly& indirectly to domestic abuse usually are:
- Lack Self Confidence& Esteem.
- Scared,frightened& unable to face day to day situations.
- Play with thoughts of suicide.
- Self hatred is instilled in them.
- May become abusers themselves.
- Have trust issues.
- Prefer being alone& disinterested.
- Have communication issues.
- Are susceptible to vices such as drug abuse,just to escape reality.
- Have raging tempers& mood swings.
All of these symptoms that I’ve listed here,are pointers I’ve noticed personally while talking to a few children who were subjected to domestic violence.
Here are a few things that an abused person must do:
- Talk it out with the abuser.
- Get family & friends involved in your ordeal. There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you can make your life better,then you must.
- Go into counselling.
- Give it sometime maybe.
- And if nothing works,finding your own way is the best bet. Trying to save an abusive relationship,will do no one any good. Know your rights. And this maybe the ultimate thing from destroying your child& his character.
P.s. This article in no way emphasises that a woman is always an abused or that the man is always an abuser. This is just some role playing. In real life,an abuser has no gender,what an abuser does have is a mentally imbalanced mind.