Danger Lurking

by Melanie
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

My father tried to kill my mother after she left him



After suffering 18 years of abuse, 13 of which I was a constant witness to, my mother finally worked up the courage to leave my dad for good. Throughout my childhood, my mother and I were constantly moving between home and abuse shelters, where we could get a rest from the constant fear. She however, would always fall for the heartfelt apologies and gifts.

The day my mother made the decision to leave him for good, she had been witness to my father taking his anger out on me. It was in no way the first time I had suffered his abuse, but until that day, it had always been done without my mother's knowledge, usually while she was at work.

My father seemed to have taken the separation fairly well and it looked like it would remain amicable. What we didn't know was that my father only acted in a friendly manner, because he was hoping for a reconciliation in a near future. My mother moved on fairly quickly and even started dating someone casually. That is when things quickly went wrong.

My mother's boyfriend was at our home one night. I called my mother from a friend's house, asking if she could come pick me up, which she did. When we came back, we noticed my father had been at our house for an impromptu visit. Instead of finding my mother and I, he found her boyfriend and was now furious, waiting for my mother to return. Before, my mom even had the time to lock the car door, it had flung open and my father had his hands firmly tightened around my mother's throat. I could here her gasping for air and I saw in my father's eyes there would be no turning back. For reasons I don't understand, my 13 year old self was able to unbuckle my mother's seat belt, the pull her out of the car through the passenger's door. My mother and I ran as fast as we could, yelling for help in the dark streets, until we knew for certain my father was no longer a threat.

I honestly have no idea what happened after this. I have no recollection of the events that unfolded the rest of the night and the days after the event. I will however always remember standing in court against my dad. I remember the judge telling him he should be ashamed to have done this, especially in front of his own daughter. I also remember that in the eyes of the law, his actions were only worth some probation time and some he was excused from for being on social welfare.

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