Joe Torre’s Story

I grew up in Marine Park, Brook­lyn. I am the youngest of five chil­dren. My father, Joseph, was a New York City police offi­cer. When I was grow­ing up, my father was a bully. My mother faced ver­bal and phys­i­cal abuse from my father. If he didn’t like the food mom made, he would throw it against the wall. He used to make her get up in the mid­dle of the night to cook for friends he brought home.

Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, “We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.” And he left.

Grow­ing up in a home where there was domes­tic vio­lence was very dif­fi­cult and left last­ing scars. Although I didn’t real­ize it then, I used to feel like the abuse was my fault. I felt help­less and alone. For many years, I felt ashamed and worthless.

In those days, no one in my neigh­bor­hood knew what was hap­pen­ing in my home, or if they did, nobody talked about it. I did not talk about it because I was afraid. I didn’t know who to turn to for help.

But today, things are dif­fer­ent and there is help for you. The way we can con­quer and stop domes­tic vio­lence is to form a team. If we grow up respect­ing one another, we will even­tu­ally end domes­tic vio­lence. The more we talk about it, the more we’ll be likely to pick up a phone and tell a rel­a­tive, a teacher or a counselor.

It is okay to talk about it and there is help for you and your family.

 

Next: What Is Domes­tic Violence?

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