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Losing Your Teen: A Family Violence Story

"Smart mouth bitch," her momma screamed at her. "You've backed talked me for the last time."

She unclasped her belt and stripped it effortlessly free from the loops. She doubled it up in the tight grasp of her fist. The first blow caught the girl across the back of her head. The second across the side of her neck. The girl raised her arms in defense. The next two blows sliced through the air striking her defending forearms. Her mother re-aimed to hit a better target. The next blows struck across her back, around her side and down her legs.

The girl crumpled to the floor in a tight ball, weeping. Her mother stopped.
"Go to your room. You're grounded."

The girl slowly collected herself and rose from the floor. She stumbled down the hall into her bedroom and quietly closed the door. She fell onto her bed and sobbed uncontrollably. She eventually cried herself to sleep.

The next morning was Saturday. She woke to the sun streaming through her window. She got dressed quickly and quietly and waited in her room. At 8:00, she heard a knock on the front door. She bolted out of her bedroom to answer the door. Her mother beat her to it.

"I told you she wasn't coming with you today," her mother said. She's grounded.

"She's still coming with me. I'll keep her grounded." From over his ex-girlfriend's shoulder, he saw his daughter. "Come on, honey. You're going with me."

Almost before her mother could turn to face her she had ducked under her mother's arm and out the door. Her mother followed in hot pursuit but she made it into her father's car and closed the car door.

"Where's her cell phone?" her father inquired.

"I took it from her. I told you, she is grounded."

"I'll have her back by Sunday at 6:00," he said. "I'll keep her grounded."

He took her home . They sat down together on the sofa in the living room.

"Why are you grounded?" he asked his daughter.

As she began to formulate the words to answer him, he saw her arms. Angry welts crossed both of her arms. "What happened to you?"

"Momma beat me with a belt."

Her dad examined his daughter more closely, taking note of the red belt stripes which covered much of her, under her clothes, across her neck and even visible beneath her hair.

"Why did she ground you?" her daddy asked.

"Because I told her I wanted to live with you," she answered.

After police, DFCS and the Superior Court's involvement, the girl got her way. She never went back to live with her momma again.

-Michael Manely 

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