Roberta’s story as told by Lynne Hellman
You know that at age 15, 16 or 17, you really don’t want to listen to your parents. My daughter kept it on the down low, but the first time that I saw her black eye the morning after she spent time with him, I was devastated. I shifted from kind of mad to really angry!
I wanted her to press charges, but she backed out, because an abusive person offers you things you like to keep you entrapped. He bought her things to keep her quiet. The next day or two after the abuse she had nice, cute earrings on. I saw her with the earrings, but I still saw the black eye!
I showed her a short metal pole and told her, “If you’d take this pole and hit him one time with it, he won’t hit you again.” But she wouldn’t take it, and I became disappointed. Whenever we’d go to file charges, she would never file. So I began to think in my head and in my heart that it was time for me to be quiet.
He was sneaky. In front of me, he was kind and respectful, but behind my back, he was beating my child! There was a time when I was mad at his mom. I would see her at the store, and she’d tell me how much she loved my daughter. I would think, “You don’t love her, because your son is beating on her!” She knew what kind of son she had!
After high school graduation, my daughter and her abuser moved in together. They lived together in an apartment. Then they split up, and my daughter moved back home. She began dating another man. This man confronted her abuser. And the abuse stopped; the abuser no longer had a hold on her, and my heart was peaceful. I learned how to be quiet, and the Lord sent the man who became her husband.
This story originally appeared in Facing Teen Dating Violence, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by A Better Way in Muncie, Indiana.