You may have seen me at Parents Evening or in the supermarket and noted the long sleeve tops in the middle of summer, your gaze has lingered questioningly on the heavy make-up on the suspiciously puffy eyes, you may have even thought about quietly slipping me the business card to a support group for victims of domestic violence.
The litany of injuries to date includes several broken toes, a broken finger, a broken nose, constant fresh bite marks and bruises to both arms, bald patches where he has torn my hair out, black eye, gouges to the face, constant fresh bruising to both legs and back and several teeth either loose or knocked out. Add to this 3 pairs of broken spectacles, several plates and mugs smashed, a smashed phone, holes in internal doors and several larger items of furniture damaged beyond repair.
BUT here’s the secret – I’d confide in you if it was my partner inflicting these injuries on me, it’s no longer taboo to speak up about that, no my secret is much worse, my secret is still taboo. In a way I am the victim of domestic violence but the difference is that I can’t just walk away ……… The perpetrator is my own son. My son has just turned 8 and was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder when he was 6.
You see, behaviourally, my son is trapped in the Terrible Twos. At two it’s easy to put them for a time out, at 8 you can’t get near them without risking severe injury. The professionals are aware of these incidents, it was the violent behaviours that led my GP (after several years of my asking for help, it was only when she witnessed a meltdown for herself) to refer him for assessment. In his paperwork I have a letter from Clinical Psychology and the very first line reads “…I hope you made it home ok” following an appointment that was cut short after 10 minutes due to a meltdown, he is currently excluded from school as a health and safety risk and yet nobody wants to help. There are no services in the UK (and probably the rest of the world) for parents who are at risk from their children, even social services will only look at whether you are likely to snap under the pressure and harm your child – if they think you might your child is then classed as ‘at risk’ from you when, in fact, the opposite is true.
Don’t for one second think this is rare, at one time people believed domestic violence didn’t exist but it was just that it was taboo to talk about, victims suffered in silence. It’s time we break THIS taboo. It’s time to start shouting. It’s time for society to stop turning a blind eye. It’s time for proper advice and support it’s time for those of us living this to stand up and admit I AM A VICTIM OF CHILD-ON-PARENT ABUSE AND I AM NOT TO BLAME