I will never forget that moment.
That moment…it was painful.
Blood was flowing from that woman’s mouth. Punch after punch was being thrown.
“Do something, boy”, I said to myself.
But I couldn’t at that age. I looked into her eyes. I saw her pain. She screams at me “get back in the room JJ”….I vowed this would never happen again when I got older. I shut the door, inhale more second hand smoke that engulfed the bedroom. Brought my little brother in close, held him tight, drop several tears, and went to sleep.
That image stuck for ever.
That woman was my mother. The scene was a house for cocaine addicts in the heart of 5th Ward in Houston. That night my mother was wrongfully accused of stealing something from another female addict and the dope man along with some other strange man was beating my mother in the face. At the time I was in maybe the 3rd grade, frail as tissue paper, yet angry that I could not rip their heart out for putting their hands on my mother.
See, this was during a time when my mother was in what you might call the apex of her addiction wherein we bounced from shelter to shelter and crack house to crack house because she was a serious fiend.
I fiend for her to stop being “sick” and be normal. Didn’t know how to say it, because I didn’t understand at that time what she was truly dealing with. I didn’t know what all of the those glass pipes were lying next me in bed and couldn’t figure out why these men would put their hands on my mother….but I could care less why, I just wanted to see them hurt one day.
Year after year I witnessed my mother go through abusive relationships with men who said “I love you”, but real love doesn’t get you poked in the eye with hangers, beat across the head, hit my a car, pulled by your hair or dislocated teeth.
But it wasn’t just my mother I saw going through this. Every project housing complex we stayed in when I was young I saw teenage girls beat up by their fathers, lost girls beat down by their boyfriends….this was considered normal every day life and it never got on CNN, FOX or C-Span.
Who cares, right? Well there are many of us as men who do.
So since seeing all of the media frenzy surrounding Chris Brown and Rihanna, I reflected on the millions of woman who go through this every day without one story being published on them or most importantly any assistance. This has been going on for decades but who will stand against it?
Start today by first declaring that you as a man will not put your hands on a woman from this day forward and you as a woman please declare that you will not accept that behavior from any man.
And the next time this domestic violence takes place in your area and you know about, don’t wait for the media—take a stand against it by offering the parties involved some help.
Responsibility is a Lifestyle. Be the Change.