“Domestic violence is in my DNA,” says Jahméne Douglas, whose Titanium music video depicts the impact of violence against women. His story highlights the amazing strength of which child survivors of domestic violence are capable.
If you’re not British, you may not have heard about Jahméne Douglas. But there’s a great reason to find out more about this X Factor runner-up.
“Nightmares upon nightmares build up from nights of those screams.”
The pop star has talked candidly about his childhood, during which he, his siblings and his mother were violently and horrifically abused by his father. Jahméne witnessed his mother being tortured with a blowtorch, and was himself beaten, strangled, and had a knife stuck under his nails to ‘encourage’ him to stop biting them.
“The one thing that will stick with me until the day I die is my mother’s screams,” he said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “Hearing her scream for her life but being paralysed with fear, unable to move one muscle.
“We were under such an evil lock down of control that you wouldn’t dare move in case one action resulted in something much worse. Nightmares upon nightmares build up from nights of those screams.
“It’s one of those things that can’t be fully described to the extremity of what it exactly is… you have to feel it to know it and to know what needs to be changed to help others. Domestic violence is in my DNA, it’s in who I am. I’d rather be beaten myself than ever hear those screams again.”
Jahméne tried to take his own life at 15, and several years later suffered the tragic loss of his elder brother to suicide.
Love is stronger than abuse
Despite his suffering, Jahméne remains very close to his mother, whom he describes as “a saint.” His success and his love for her is a shining light for survivors tormented by anxiety or guilt about the legacy of abuse.
“She would go to hell and back to watch over her children to know that they are okay. I honestly believe I would not have survived to be here today if it was not for my mother. A lot of the things I sing are in dedication to my mother… she’s an absolute source of unconditional love and never ending strength.”
A voice that deserves to be heard
As domestic abuse survivors, we get used to hearing that we are useless, weak, and bad mothers. We hear it not just from our abusers, but sometimes also from a legal system that fails to understand the dynamics of abuse – and also from people who intend to help us.
We are bashed around the head by a music industry that glamourises and sanctions violence against women. Our music stars talk about slapping b**ches and abusive Chris Brown-types reap wealth and fame rather than condemnation and shame.
Today, Jahméne is an ambassador for UK charity Women’s Aid, and campaigns against domestic abuse in all of its forms. He is living proof that there is always hope, and a bright future is possible after abuse. We need more young ambassadors like Jahméne Douglas.
What do you think? Have your children demonstrated wisdom, understanding, and strength? Do we need more young ambassadors raising awareness of domestic abuse?
ALSO SEE: How abusers use children to extend their control over us, in Mothers: Two big reasons to leave.
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