I have lived in the USA for 15 years and only 4 years ago, I shifted to India, along with my family members which include me, my mother and my brother. I also have a father but I don’t think if he should be considered a family member anymore.
It started when I was 4 - I remember waking up one night and seeing my parents fight and my father throw things around. This was the first time when the police showed up at our apartment but my mother hid the entire fiasco and saved my father. I was too young to understand if it was normal for parents to fight so aggressively.
Slowly aggressiveness turned into violence. I was in 1st grade when he attempted to choke my mother. I remember how I screamed at him to stop. He finally let go of her after a long, dreadful minute. I was in 3rd grade when he turned violent towards me. He had slapped my mother and I couldn’t take it anymore. So I clung to him trying to push him off my mother. That’s when he decided to take me down with a punch that had me blacked out.
When I was in 5th grade, another fight made me call the cops. But my mom made up a story that she fell in the bathroom. He did get one night in jail but was bailed the next morning due to a lack of witness. He acted contritely after this incident and we thought he had actually realized his mistakes, only to be proven wrong.
He made sure we couldn’t go to anyone for help. Sometimes to escape his tantrums, my mom would drive us around in our car all night so that we could just sleep in our car. It kept getting worse over the years, by 11th grade I had been pushed down the wooden stairs of our house, dragged across the floor by my hair, punched at my head while my mom was being beaten up or slapped hard. I’d always try to protect her but in the end, it always ended up her trying to save me. So many times, I would go to school with bruises and scars on my body, but I always managed to cover them.
September 17, 2014, turned out to be life-changing for us. My brother and I were sleeping at our neighbor’s that day when we heard yelling from our house. We went over and saw him hurling things at mom following a binge-drinking session. He hit her with a baby coconut tree and she got a huge bruise on her cheek. I immediately rushed to help and he choked me down by the neck. My brother called the neighbors for help. They took me to my school and I reported the incident to my principal who called the authorities. Father was taken away and we were questioned for the next 3 days. Mom got a restraining order against him, but she still didn’t want much damage. My father was sent to rehab and we came back to India.
My mom and I decided to move to India because had we stayed, it would have gotten worse for my father. We didn’t want to hurt him even though he’d done us the worst, but we definitely wanted to leave him. We also thought, staying away from him would make him change. Another reason for leaving was that my mom wouldn't be able to get a job in the USA, whereas in India she had the support of her family.
I didn’t want her to stress anymore so I willingly decided we should move to India, even though it meant I had to leave everything behind me. We concentrated on selling the house. Dad was forced to take anger management and rehab by the state court.
I was in 11th standard when we moved back to India, and by the time I was in the 12th standard, my father was already living with us. Until the first year of college here, everything felt okay. He had been to rehab and we thought finally things would change. But we didn’t realise that he had already begun drinking and going back to his old habits in some time.
On January 17, 2019, another fight made him attempt to stab me in the heart when mom saved me by putting her right hand in front of me. She suffered a wound from the tip of the knife, 2.5 inches deep. That was the very moment we decided we were done with him.
His brothers had bailed him and saved him that day. But, even otherwise there isn’t much that we can do as he is the sole earner of the house, and he knows that we are financially dependent on him, which is why he still threatens us. He and his side of the family still think what he has done is very normal. Honestly, we’re so done and frustrated with them.
Everyone from my mom’s side is just waiting for the time I get a job so that I can financially support my family and help my mother. I really hope that I can live up to the Jhansi ki Rani (Queen of Jhansi) tag that my mother has given me so that I can support my family, get rid of my father, and maybe live a more peaceful life without violence.