“For girls who grew up in an abusive environment who didn’t have education about domestic violence, they will think that’s how Daddy shows love to Mom,” Batista explains.
“So when they grow up and find someone in the same situation, they will think, ‘Oh, this is normal.’ She won’t see anything wrong with it.” A 2009 paper by the Family Violence Prevention Fund illustrated the absence of recognition of violence from the boy’s side: “Adolescent boys may identify with their abusive father or father figure, tell themselves that their mother provoked or deserved the violence, and therefore display aggression in their relationships.” Luis’ experience was not far from that description.
He was born to an unmarried couple in El Salvador and was a frequent witness to his father beating his mother.
During one of the fights, Luis tried to intervene and broke his arm in the scuffle.
Michelle Batista, MS, remembers her last meeting with her clients vividly: She walked across the wood floors of the small conference room promptly at 5 pm on an October evening.