I am called a child witness because I witnessed intimate partner violence in my home as a child. But, I call myself a survivor. You see, I saw the abuse, felt the emotional turmoil and will never forget it. So, how am I a witness? I survived it too! I saw the physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. I saw my mother beaten and her pain as I felt mine. I felt it too!
As an organizer who works to decentralize power within policy reform, it is important that I strike labels and words that do not properly identify me. I strike the name child witness from my personal identity and embrace survivor. My pain is healing and is now becoming my power to advocate for justice.
So, when I am called a child witness to intimate partner violence. I simply say “yes, I saw the abuse, and felt it too.” I am a survivor not a child witness! I give you back that name.