I was having problems with my camera so I went to ask for help. To my surprise and delight he took the camera to figure out the problem. As he worked on the camera, I stood at a safe distance because his history had taught me that was my safest place. But this time it seemed different. "Maybe this could be a family," I thought as he fumbled and fumbled with my camera.
Then finally he solved the problem. He said, "See, this was all that needed to be done." I moved in closer to see how he had fixed the problem I had been trying to solve all morning. WOW! "This may be ok after all," I thought to myself. A smile came over my face. I stepped in closer and within an instant he had grabbed my breast and started rubbing it. I jerked back in horror, turned and ran straight for the door.
I ran down those three flights of stairs as fast as I could and I didn't stop until I was blocks away from the house. That summer day I stayed in the park with friends until I was sure Mama had made it home from work. I remember walking down my block looking for Mama's car like I was looking for dear life. I was tired and hungry and I wanted to go home.
When I saw her car I knew I was safe. I turned my keys in the door, slipped into our apartment and went straight to my bedroom and closed the door. That's how it was in my house. My bedroom was the safest place for me. It was not a normal family no matter how hard I tried or wished it to be so. It was a family soiled by abuse. At times Mama wasn't even safe. She had already told me when I told her that her husband was grabbing my breast, "I'm not gonna let you fuck up my shit."
The funny thing is, Mama was my safety in his presence. I knew that he would never touch me around her. It was ironic that out of her own selfish need to have a man, she kept me in an environment where there was no protection, but yet at the same time, her presence provided some protection.
Growing up in this chaos and trauma it's a wonder I'm not any more crazy than I already am. No child should have to live under the circumstance in which I lived.
In our families, we need to begin naming the abuse and protecting our children. Hurt children grow up to be hurt people. In the end, we either hurt ourselves, others, or both. Half of this destruction that our young people render on society and themselves, like drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, violence, is rooted in lack of love and protection in our families. Saving our children begins at home! All of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.
When we see violence in our homes we must tell our sister, brother, aunt, cousin, even our friends, that the violence must stop! If we are going to raise a generation of young people who love themselves, we must first love them!
Post Script: We are wearing dark blue again this Friday. Tweet, Facebook or email me a picture of you supporting the cause in your blue.