Survivor Story: I Grew Up Thinking It Was Normal for a Mother to Be Abused

Written by: BTSADV Survivor

I will be 21 in 2019, a strange age so attached to maturity, but that’s a word I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relate to. 

My earliest memory of childhood in New Zealand as a second-generation Iranian refugee is of my father pushing my mother down the stairs over $5 missing from the till of the joint hairdressing salon. Domestic violence was such a familiar scene in our house that I was raised to think it was normal. I would think every father would beat the mother if she refused to hand over her weekly earnings. Fear was common. Hiding under the bed so he wouldn’t find me was common. 

I was raised on Auckland’s North Shore. I wasn’t so aware of the wider world or any politics, even the world from which my parents were coming: just Belmont, Nesian Mystik, and similar teenage pop culture. But I was raised thinking that seeing your mother with a perpetually bruised body was usual. That small issues such as $5 missing, a side glance at a man passing my mum in the street, or her refusing to fund his gambling addiction meant that he was allowed to beat my mother into unconsciousness several times a week. 

I now know it’s not an Iranian problem or a Kiwi problem, but a problem women all over the world are faced with. Children everywhere are raised traumatized and driven to alcoholism like me because of similar stories. It’s not easy to watch your mother being pushed down the stairs over a missing $5. 

You never know how to heal yourself, or your mother. You’re faced with anger when others tell you that you should forgive your father, that no matter what he’s still your father. It’s a strange feeling to be raised with.

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