Domestic violence survivor: Please create safe community

MALYSSA Castro, mother of three and domestic violence survivor, urged the community to help raise awareness about domestic violence in the CNMI.

“We all deserve to live in safe and loving homes, but it takes all of us to create a safe and loving community,” Castro said during the Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation signing at Saipan World Resort on Tuesday.

Castro broke her silence in 2014, speaking to an audience at the multi-purpose center where she recounted her harrowing experience with an abusive boyfriend.

“I spoke in front of my family, my friends and everyone at the multi-purpose center in hopes that I could help others who were going through what I had gone through. I was nervous and scared and I didn’t want to be judged because of the decision that I made to stay. So I told my story.”

What she remembered the most on that day was her encounter with a woman.

“After the ceremony, as I was walking out with my family, a woman came up to me and asked if she could give me a hug. I said yes. She said: ‘I lost my daughter to domestic violence. Thank you so much for sharing your story.’”

Castro said she was speechless. “I didn’t know how to respond. I just said, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ I walked out of that building with many things running through my head. What if that was my mom? What if I didn’t leave my abuser? What if that was my daughter? What if one of my sons would have to explain that they lost their mother to this crime?”

She later found out that the woman was Alice Igitol, who is now a member of the House of Representatives.

Castro said because of Igitol, her mother and other mothers, she chose to continue to share her story so no parents and family members would suffer the same thing.

Castro said she has also shared her story with middle and high school students, women, children, husbands, wives and parents.

“I speak to a lot of women who have reached out to me since I told my story. There’s no quick-fix that could solve a relationship like that, but if we all work together it will help them,” she added.

Castro also volunteers at Karidat where she said she sees the effect on children who grew up in an environment of domestic violence. “One of the hardest things to see is the children repeating what has happened to them. I was lucky enough to leave an abusive relationship when my children were really young.”

She appealed to the community to “unify our voices, so we can send the message to our abusers and offenders — violence is not welcome in the CNMI. Let us work together to break the cycle and heal generations.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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