In The Midst of the Storm

The climate on any given day could be perfect, but by nightfall a tempest could arise without warning, and my home would be left in shambles—utter disarray. Loud arguing, thunderous bumps, and violent crashes were the first noises I’d hear from my bedroom. Those were the sounds of shelves being knocked down, picture frames being shattered, and spirits being broken. I would try to block out the clamor of dreams being tossed aside. I scrambled to tether my hopes lest they be whisked away in the high winds. At least if I managed to tie them down, some semblance of them would remain in the aftermath. I would have something left to live off until order could be reestablished.

Ironically, those deafening, destructive sounds offered me the most comfort; each thunderous blow meant that both my parents were still alive and well enough to put up a fight. The lightning—the part that did the actual damage—was the realization of what was taking place. That was the part that shocked the very essence of my being. The people that I thought I knew—the ones who claimed to be in love—they were doing everything in their power to hurt each other.

Having grown up in a home with domestic violence, I now work with at-risk youth many of whom are dealing with the burdens associated with living in similar conditions. While it is not always evident that a child is living in this situation, the effects of such an experience on a child are familiar. These traumatic experiences are usually evidenced by children exhibiting extremely low self-esteem, aggression, depression, and/or anxiety.

Many of the youth with whom I have worked have the understanding, whether or not it has been explicitly stated, that speaking to an adult or a person removed from the situation about their struggle is wrong. This quickly alienates the child who is being raised in a home with domestic violence. As a result many of these children live in a seemingly hopeless situation and rarely have a place to turn to. Over time this unstable lifestyle leads to significant emotional and/or psychological trauma.
It is also important to consider that many children might not recognize that this is abnormal behavior, if altercations arise regularly. I was working in my town’s courthouse when I realized the gravity of domestic violence. There, filing cases that included pictures of battered women—the black eyes, the ligature wounds, the bumps and bruises—I realized that this problem was not uniquely mine and that something had to be done to change this situation.
I recognize God as the head of my life and I can clearly see how He reached in and spared me through the trials that I experienced in my childhood home.
Those childhood experiences had not been my undoing. They had not conquered me. I had overcome. I was a stronger woman because of them. I could see God’s hand at work through all those difficult times. Time and time again, God stepped right in and gave me courage to wake up another day and continue.
Through my book I hope to increase the awareness of domestic violence. I also hope that, in becoming more aware, readers recognize the scope of the impact. Domestic violence not only darkens the lives of those directly involved, it can also eclipse the hopes and dreams of those in its wake.

*Words in italics taken from the book Unexpected Places by Dionna Latimer-Hearn

Learn more about the book Unexpected Places at Title available on,, and Contact the author with any questions, comments, or for event planning at

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About uplaces

Dionna Latimer-Hearn is a practicing speech-language pathologist and the co-founder/director of the R.E.A.C.T. Initiative, a nonprofit organization serving inner city youth. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Cedric, and their three sons.

3 responses to “In The Midst of the Storm”

  1. uplaces says :

    Hello. Thanks for taking the time to view my site. I enjoyed yours as well and wish you the best as you continue your blog!
    Dionna Latimer-Hearn

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