Domestic violence creates monsters
I grew up getting beaten by my mother. The violence was not frequent, but it was still painful. She would use anything that was available, even her hands. After being beaten for a while in the corner of the room, the violence would be over. I would go to the bathroom to clean up, washing off tears from my face and cleaning the cuts with cold water. My mother would apply Vaseline on me, and then we would eat dinner. Strangely, everything became peaceful, and I felt that I did my part as her daughter.
I knew all along that it was a sort of ritual. My mother was full of anger and frustration, and she couldn’t live with the emotions if she didn’t pour out her feelings on me. I was her pride and hope, and whenever I let her down, she exploded. She used to say she was beating me because she loved me so much and I was her precious daughter. I tried to understand, as I loved her too, but I always knew that something wasn’t quite right. I was especially scared when I had no idea why I was being beaten because I didn’t know what had made her so upset.
But as she grew even more dependent on me, her violence subsided, and I thought I had forgotten about all the abuse. Many people in my generation have experienced similar domestic violence, and I was just one of many.
When I became a parent, I found myself continuing the cycle despite my promises to do otherwise. I began with several light beatings to my son, then I threw books, slapped with my hands and kicked. He was so shocked that he couldn’t even cry. I ran into my room and shut the door. I felt like dying.
Violent tendencies come from parents. In order to understand violent parents, children make themselves feel worthless. Then, they have a hard time controlling such negative emotions and come to believe that they simply deserve the violence for upsetting those with power.
When the children become adults and have the power, they turn violent toward their own offspring. They may even turn into monsters who kill their own children to “correct the bad behavior.”
I firmly believe that parents who harm their children should be punished more severely than murderers are. From this month, police are allowed to enter homes after reports of violence between husbands and wives arise. But this permission should also be expanded to include reports of potential child abuse in order to prevent the creation of even more monsters.
The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Lee Na-ree