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Yash Tiwari
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Witnessing domestic violence in the home is considered to be one of the most traumatic and severe traumas that any child can experience. A family experiencing domestic violence faces numerous complications, and children who witness domestic violence in the home often believe that they are to blame, live in a constant state of fear, and are 15 times more likely to be victims of child abuse. Children exposed to domestic violence are found to be at much greater risk of stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, as well as of suicide, and substance abuse. The effects that witnessing domestic violence in the home has on children tend to vary but often result in one or more strong feelings of mistrust, a feeling of a constant need to seek safety, high levels of aggression, and delinquency.

Domestic violence is most often used to maintain and increase the power and control of one family member over another. The violent act instills fear in the child that they could become a victim, leading them to remain silent about what happens in the home. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, children who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to experience physical abuse themselves. While this information alone is enough to prove that children also suffer emotional and psychological consequences in addition to the fact that they live in an abusive and violent environment, witnessing something so unsettling can have a significant effect on their development.

Children of different ages are affected in very different ways due to domestic violence.
• The most vulnerable times in the child’s life are in the womb and during the first several years of life. The potential for serious mental problems seems to be greatest when a child’s father perpetrates violence against the mother.
• Early childhood abuse is a serious and widespread problem. The effects of violence on children develop over time as children develop. These effects can appear in various ways, such as eating disorders or sleeping problems and can even be evident when children begin to talk and attend school.
• The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 58% of the people who first used an illicit drug did so before they were 18 years old. Adolescents who are exposed to violence may be at a higher risk of substance misuse or of either perpetrating or becoming victims of dating violence.

Being a victim of domestic violence is terrifying. It goes beyond fear and terror, wiping away all sanity. Fear that I would not survive my experience as a victim of domestic violence was always present. Being violently attacked evolved into terrifying experiences when the violence was aimed at my children. Children are reliant upon their parents or guardians for their safety and well-being; they did not choose to be born, nor can they provide for themselves. They rely on their parents or legal guardians for survival. And yet somehow we fail to take care of them.