Domestic Violence

Witnessing violence at home harms children, and children often enter foster care because of violence at home. Rise stories explore the controlling patterns of batterers, the fights that flare up under stress, and the aggression driven by mental illness or substance abuse. Parents describe the steps they have taken to break free of violence and help themselves and their children recover.

From Enemy to Ally: Because my caseworker accepted me, I was able to believe in myself.

From ages 8 through 18, I was a foster child. I was in so many homes that I can’t remember them all. Some of my foster parents abused their authority. I didn’t know if my real parents loved me. I felt like everyone was against me.

I was 17 and at the hospital for a suicide attempt (my last) when I found out I was pregnant. I felt overwhelmed and so ashamed. … Read More

Separate But Happy – I confused loneliness with love, but I recognized abuse.

Illustration by Asiah Ajibabi

When I met Rene, I don’t know what I saw in him because physically he wasn’t too handsome. I think it was his character, his aggressiveness, which later on was what made me leave.

I met Rene at work and got close to him by asking him to help me. He started saying to me, “You owe me a lot.” “I’ll pay you back,” I told him. “But not with money,” he … Read More

‘Mommy’s Going Away for a While’ – I couldn’t change fast enough to bring my children home.

Illustration by Freddy Bruce

My son was 4 and my daughter was 2 when I decided to place them in foster care. At the time, I was living with an abusive man who terrified me. I had nowhere to live and no way to support them if I left my boyfriend, but I knew I needed to leave this man.

I was afraid that my children would have the same bad experiences as I’d had as … Read More

‘There Is Another Way’ – Men in Colorado speak up to stop abuse.

art by Rudá Tillet

Six years ago, I got into an argument with my wife when she was pregnant. I wanted her to quit smoking, she wanted me to quit drinking. She told me, “My smoking doesn’t affect our relationship as much as your drinking.”

Things got out of hand and she called 911. I was mandated to go to a domestic violence batterers class, drug and alcohol abuse groups, and parenting classes. I was … Read More

The Company of Women – Support groups and art therapy help me heal.

In the village of my childhood in Transylvania, Romania, we had sezatori, gatherings of young women who would work together on their trousseaux during white snow winters. Girls gathered in candle-lit rooms and worked together, crocheting fine lace, spinning wool. They would embroider white blouses with white silk thread. Can you imagine? White on white in candlelight.

It was a world of women. In my remembrance it was a warm, safe, cocoon … Read More