Isn’t it our job as parents to teach about domestic violence?

Published 11:06 am Wednesday, October 30, 2019

TRYON—I found myself thinking about my son while watching Reviving Orphelia, a domestic violence film shown Sunday night at the Tryon Theatre as a fundraiser for Steps To HOPE. 

Have I talked to him enough? Does he really know that he can’t control a woman and especially to never hit a woman? 

My son is 14 years old. I have talked to him about all the things. Probably more than most parents would ever think about because of my job. We talk about sex, sexting, domestic violence, what constitutes as child pornography, laws and how badly he can get in trouble for all sorts of things.

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He knows to never ever bring a weapon to school, to not send nude pictures to anyone, to not accept nude pictures from anyone and to never hit anyone, no matter what the circumstance. But does he know how to really treat a woman? Not just physically, but mentally. I think so, but that movie made me wonder if I’ve really done enough to make him excellent at relationships. 

I know about most everything that goes on in this county, whether I write about it or not. And my son also hears all of it. He sometimes tells me to please stop telling him everything. But I just respond that he can either learn from others’ mistakes and be the best adult there ever was, or get in double trouble because I’ve told him and he knows better. 

Reviving Orphelia was a movie about two teenagers who thought they fell in love. The boy’s mother had left him when he was a child and his father was raising him. The story focused on the girl and her mother, aunt and cousin and showed all the signs of what domestic abuse really is. The boy told his girlfriend what to wear, was jealous of her speaking to other boys and eventually started hitting her. So badly the first time he lied and said they were in a car wreck and she ended up in the hospital. The second time he hit her in the nose because she was speaking to another boy, who was only helping her pick up some papers. I knew from the first moment she was in the hospital by the mark on her cheek that there was no car accident and he punched her in the face, but of course, as movies go, the parents believed the car accident bit and the girl protected her boyfriend. 

The movie showed classic abuse and the boy’s father was not capable of seeing it and was portrayed as an angry man himself, only trying to protect his son. 

The girl’s mother and father eventually realized what was going on and forbade her from seeing her boyfriend. She lied and snuck out for a while, but eventually broke up with him and he ended up losing it, bringing a gun to a function and threatened to kill her and himself because he couldn’t live without her. This movie was different in that the girl did not end up murdering her boyfriend/husband as most domestic violence movies go. He was arrested and she walked away alive and stronger for going through what she did. 

It was also interesting to see from a teenager/parent perspective, how young relationships can go and what signs we should pick up on as parents. 

Through much of the relationship, the girl said it was her fault he hit her. She blamed herself, which burned me up watching because it has never happened to me, but it really happens to so many women. Her parents sent her to counseling and she continued to say it was her fault. That’s what abuse is. The abuser somehow blames the abused and makes them feel like if they hadn’t done this, or acted this way, they would not have had to result to physical abuse. 

It was just a movie but it happens in real life every day. It’s our job as parents to raise our children, both boys and girls to not harm each other no matter what. As I tell my son all the time, we were put on this Earth to help people, not hurt people. If I die tomorrow, that should at least be ingrained in his head. 

Talk to your children from early on what domestic violence is and how to treat people. Teach your girls the signs of abuse before they ever get into a relationship. Let them know they need to get out for their own good if a boy ever starts to control them. 

And please, let’s teach our boys how to treat a woman. The only way to end domestic violence is to get a hold of our children early and show them the right way to love someone. 

Talking to your children is the most important thing. Teenagers have more stress these days than we ever thought possible and I think the most important thing is for them to know they can talk to their parents about anything. Or talk to someone. When my son is going through something he’s not able to talk to me about, I encourage him to talk to his dad, or his brother or even coaches. He recently took an issue to a coach because he wasn’t able to talk to me about it and I’m fine with that and heavily encouraged it. 

I’m going to make my son watch Reviving Orphelia and I urge all parents to do the same. I made him watch When They See Us so he could see what real racism is, so I figure this is the same sort of life lesson that he needs to be exposed to. 

Shouldn’t we all be raising our children to love all our neighbors no matter who they are and to help each other, not hurt each other?