AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – October is recognized nationally as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”

This month serves as a time to punctuate the ugliness of domestic violence and highlight resources available to victims while providing a time for reflection on greater weapons to fight the battle to save lives from this vicious, evil and vile crime.

Domestic violence doesn’t disappear after October.

Instead, it’s a daily reality for countless numbers of families worldwide.

The wounds can heal but the emotional and mental impact of domestic violence can linger despite therapy and the passage of time.

I was recently reminded of this reality when my 11-year-old son was taunted by school mates about not having a father.

According to my son, kids have been resorting to retorts of “at least I have a dad” for many years beginning in elementary school and it has now permeated his middle school experience as some of the same kids transitioned into the new environment together.

This came to light after I went through his cell phone and found video of boys saying, “I heard your dad beat your mom” and “I heard your dad was sleeping with another woman.”

My son was more outraged over me searching his cell phone than the taunts from his so-called “friends.”

Apparently, my son has become so accustomed and immuned to the these jabs and dismisses them as part of what the kids call “roasting.”

My son says it has happened so much that he wanted to record them in order to build a case if things got worse.

One thing is for sure, my son is far from perfect.

He gets into trouble.

However, he’s a kind kid and not cruel!

I question why kids would want to go so low as to poke fun of a child being fatherless especially when it is due to such a heinous crime as domestic violence.

Many people tell me this is a reflection of what’s being said in their homes, cars and conversations by parents.

Are parents using our situation as a point of pride and superiority for their child?

In full transparency, this situation sent me into a day of questioning and re-evaluating how I ended up divorced and my son without a father.

Those who know my story remember that I ran away after a vicious attack by my now ex-husband.

At the time, my son was five weeks old.

He was born via emergency cesarean section and my body was still healing when a strong punch was dealt to my stomach despite a recent surgery.

This was part of an attack that lasted for roughly 30 – 45 minutes and only steps from my son who was in his infant swing.

After police arrived, and my ex-husband was escorted out, I realized if this happened in front of my baby there was a strong possibility that he could grow up watching me being demeaned, hit, slapped and spat upon by the man who was supposed to protect and love us.

The next day, with the help of my mother, sister and sorority sisters, I packed as much as possible, bundled my baby, loaded up my dog and headed to safety in my home state of Georgia.

The following days, weeks and months were spent longing to be with the man I still loved while lamenting over the shattered dreams of a beautiful marriage and broken vows made before God, family and friends.

As you have read in my previous posts, during the divorce my ex-husband terminated his parental rights to our/my son as a final blow which has had long term affects financially, mentally and emotionally.

The taunting of school friends serves as a reminder of the emotional ramifications and even embarrassment due to the actions of an abuser.

Despite my son’s insistence that he was fine and doesn’t care about the comments, I reached out to long time friend and Mental Health Specialist Brandy J. Flynn who is a Pre-Licensed Professional for guidance and strategies to help children deal with domestic violence.

“Children should be allowed a safe space to talk about being teased and to be honest with expressing their feelings. As a parent, you should not brush over their feelings as if it is not important or that “kids will be kids”. Tell children that regardless of their father’s actions, and the lack of his presence, the best thing that came out of the situation was them. Reassure them that life is actually better without a violent person in their life, even if it is somebody that is supposed to be in their life,” she explains.

Of course, children are good at hiding their emotions in an effort to avoid reality and uncomfortable conversations.

But, starting when my son was a toddler, I have gone to great lengths to provide full transparency which has resulted in countless uncomfortable conversations, however, we have maintained open lines of communication.

Parents should seek professional help for themselves as well as their kids to assure the child does not shoulder unspoken guilt, self blame, embarrassment or harbor ill feelings toward a parent for breaking up the family.

Brandy says, “whatever conversation is being had, it should be with a mental health professional. Without a professional being present, bias statements could be made which can create more chaotic feelings . With a professional , they will be able to assist the child deal with whatever insecurities that they may have and also help the parent to not make their issues that were created from domestic violence pour into the children.”

Often, I listen to singer Adele’s song “My Little Love” which is filled with the raw emotions over the dissolution of a marriage.

In the chorus Adele sings, “I’m holding on (barely)/Mama’s got a lot to learn (it’s heavy)/I’m holding on (catch me)/Mama’s got a lot to learn (teach me).”

Through a tear stained face I often sing along with Adele and cry for the sad, scared and broken woman I was years ago following the abuse and divorce.

Thankfully, I’ve held on and learned due to the grace and mercy of God, love of my amazing son and an extremely vast support system of family as well as friends who surround us with encouragement.

Domestic violence is a long, hard road to travel but there is light at the end of that dark tunnel.

My son and I are proof!

For help in the the Augusta area, contact SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center at 706-736-2499 or 1-800-799-SAFE.

Nationally, the Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233 (800-799-SAFE).

This week, “The Means Report” delved into the effects of domestic violence on children and how parents can help them cope.

You can check out my colleague Brad Means’ segment under “The Means Report” tab here on wjbf.com.