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I Was a Domestic Terrorist
November 18, 2014
By Scotty Daum, Recovered Abuser
I was born into a home dominated by domestic violence. I walked on egg shells, kept my mouth shut and even became a bed wetter. Rather than risk the short walk down to the bathroom during one of Dad’s rages, I chose to lay there and wet myself. The spanking and embarrassment was better than being kept up all night and terrorized by my raging father.
As is more often the case, I went from being a domestic violence victim, to being a domestic violence offender, abuser, perpetrator and domestic terrorizer.
The first woman I ever hit was Betsey in fourth grade. The first girlfriend I abused was my first love in seventh grade. Teen dating abuse is a training ground for later abuses behind closed doors. She thought I was just the “bad boy”. She never had a clue about what control, threats, and pushing and shoving were to come later.
Married at 18 and totally unprepared, the stage was set for all the elements of a family abuse situation including shaking my infant son and putting my toddler daughter through boot camp in the name of “teaching her.” As the years progressed, the violence and intimidation towards my family increased. I was out of control, used all the techniques of isolation, intimidation, bullying, and brow beating at my disposal. I created what I later called “The Fear Monster”. It was my own personal Frankenstein. It was a type of totalitarian rule in our home where I was never to be questioned. The slapping, the choking, the insults, the hidden bruises, the excuses my wife learned to make, the secrets the kids learned to keep, all grew with frequency and intensity. Eventually, they would need an escape plan, a secret place to go, yet I still blamed THEM for the problems.
Through what could only be termed as an act of grace and providence, I came face to face with the scariest thing for a domestic violence abuser – a female cop and female judge who understood the seriousness of the situation. The only thing that got my attention was a 5 years suspended sentence that put me squarely between my insane behavior and a jail cell. As the judge said to me “if you hit one more person, you are going to jail for 5 years.”
I was lucky. I found programs and people who were able to get through to me. I did not want to be the monster I had become. Now, many years later, I have regained the love, trust, and respect of my family. I have been very blessed, but this is NOT the norm.
Domestic violence is a sickness. It is a type of mental illness. Sending daddy off to anger management is not the answer. It’s far deeper than that, and calls for far greater influences, involving harsh penalties for first offenses. It is the ONLY thing that will get the attention of the kind of narcissistic, monster most of us have evolved into.
We need education for young females so they can spot the red flags of a budding abuser. And, as much as anything else, we need MEN to begin to teach boys, to instruct them to honor women, to learn alternative options to deal with their rage and frustrations, and to understand that in order to be the leaders of their families requires one to become a LEADER and not a violent dictator.
Like it or not……it does take a village. It is our village. They are our wives, our mothers and our daughters. They are our sons, and the future rests in the responsibility of “our village” to protect the victims and to educate all concerned.
Edmund Burke said “the only thing necessary for triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” It is time for more than a few good men to step forward and change the tide of domestic violence.
Scotty Daum is a domestic violence victim, turned domestic violence abuser, who after many years of seeking change in himself is an advocate for domestic violence awareness and education.