The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has designated October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The word “awareness” is critical when approaching a crime like domestic violence, because abuse within the home is a rarely a one-time thing. It can continue, unidentified, for years, and down through generations. Physical abuse can be clothed in many disguises, such as legitimate discipline, or excusable bad temper, or some fault of the victim. The consequences, particularly for victimized children, can leave lifelong scars.
While some commentators are appalled when YA lit addresses dark issues like abuse, these books can be the first light of understanding encountered by an abused teen. CORA (Committee Overcoming Relationship Abuse) reports that three to ten million children witness domestic violence/abuse each year in the United States.
Children and teens exposed to an abusive parent are often isolated; called names; humiliated; manipulated into abusing the non-abusive parent; threatened with abandonment, suicide, harm to self or pets; intimidated; denied access to healthcare, proper nutrition, clothing and shelter; sexually and physically abused. The abusive parent will resort to these behaviors in an effort to maintain power and control over their partner and children.