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Family Abuse & DIVORCE

“ We’re half a family Family, Abuse now...” Divorce & “ We’re half a family now...”


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The Rise /



‘‘He came to her house and tortured her. To calm him down, she got back together with him. The day after, she went to school and told it to her friends. They convinced her to tell a superior. They arrested him, but let him out four days later.’’


Johanna Orosco




‘‘Marriages can be turbulent and confusing, but children never want to see their parents separated under any circumstances. Young children especially are traumatized the most.’’




‘‘My parent have been lying to me my whole life. My name is Julia and I’m sixteen years old. I recently discovered something that will change my life forever. It turns out they’re not my real parents, Im adopted...’’

The Rise / / Page 2

•Dating violence among their friends is reported by 54% of high school students. there for you, don’t be scared to find it! •80% of teens believe abusive relationships are a serious issue in their age group. • Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick; • Boys injure girls more severely and frequently; • Between 1993 and 1999, 22% of all homicides against females ages 16-19 were committed by an intimate partner.

The Rise/ Questions to the Reader Q. Do you feel divorce afects other people besides the ones getting the divorce?

Q. Do you feel it’s okay for a woman to hit a man but not a man to hit a woman?

A. Divorce doesn’t only af-

A. It’s never okay for a man

fect the people getting a divorce, it affects those around them as well; children, family, friends and coworkers. My parents went through a divorce, my brother and I were torn between them. My dad moved out of state and my mom stayed in Cleveland. I had to choose between my own parents, so I decided to stay with my mom. My brother decided to leave with my father. They always argued about child support while my mom would be upset about how he never called to check on me. This has been going on since I was seven years old. I’m 16 now and in the last year it has gotten worse. My mom has been depressed, and her attitude affects the way that I act; I try not to be home. I never expected this divorce to have that much of an impact on my life.

to hit a woman no matter what she may have done. But then again, a woman shouldn’t put her hands on a man; it’s a mutual understanding. When a woman hits a man, he’s expected not to hit her back because they’re much stronger and can cause a lot of physical damage to her body. Both men and women shouldn’t put their hands on each other unless in the act of self defense. Abuse can lead to something much worse in a relationship, so those who are getting abused should speak up before it’s too late.

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Interview: Divorce I got the chance to interview Eleanor. After years of abuse her mother finally got the courage to divorce her husband. This is her story. Q. Do you know why your parents got a divorce? A. My father was abusing us. Q. How did you find out? A. My mother told me about the final decision. Q. What were your first thoughts and/or feelings when you found out? A. I was relieved, I felt like I had no more worries. Q. Did you feel partially responsible for the divorce? A. I didn’t feel responsible at all because I knew it wasn’t my fault for the way my father was reacting. Q. How did you feel during the divorce process? A. Upset. I was angry that he was leaving my mother who had no job or family willing to take care of and our family.

Q. Were you ever mad at your mom for putting you through that? A. No. I understood why she did it. I knew she was doing it for the best. Q. How did it affect your family? A. Both of my little brothers became upset and my mother and I became diagnosed with depression. Q. What were you depressed about? A. I was depressed about the divorce because even though he was abusive, he was still leaving us to fend for ourselves. We didn’t know what we were going to do or how we were going to do it. Q. Are you still in contact with him? A. No, because he doesn’t talk to us. Q. Have you tried to talk to him? A. Yes, I have tried to talk to him. I’ve been calling him for the past couple of months but each time we’ve gotten no response so we gave up.

Q. Do you think there was any way that it could’ve been prevented? A. I don’t think so because my father had many problems, possibly problems that were beyond us, but we didn’t know it. Q. Do you think your life is better because of it? A. Yes, I personally do think my life is better because of it. My grades went up, I’m in honors classes now, things at home are less stressful, and I can live a good life without having to worry about being abused. Q. Do you remember the abuse he did? A. Oh yeah, it was traumatizing. Seeing him hitting my mom and choke her in front of me. I slowly started to believe it was okay for a man to do that. Soon I started to be in a relationship where a boy abused me too. I knew it was wrong when my boyfriend would hit me but since my mom wasn’t walking away from her relationship, I didn’t either.

Q. Is your mom happier now? A. Yes. My mom is sober now and she has gotten herself a job. She is definitely independent and takes care of herself. She’s getting remarried to a man that couldn’t be better. He is caring and funny. I have never seen my mom smile as much as she does now. Q. What did you learn from the divorce? A. I’ve learned that if a man is abusing you, leave him. He’s not worth your energy, money, or time. Even though it’s tough in the beginning, things do get better. And that it’s not giving up on marriage. I see it takes a lot of strength to leave the one you wanted to spend forever with especially with kids. I thank my mom every day for that. Q. What advice would you give someone who is going through divorce? A. Umm… I would say to try and not be upset about it. Look at how it will benefit your family instead of tearing it apart. It’ll be okay in the end. Talk to a counselor or someone you trust about your feelings. Don’t keep it bottled up, it’s healthier to let it go. Know that your parents only want the best for you. And remember it is never your fault. Lastly, you’re not alone. People go through this everyday. Just look at the bright side the best you can. The Rise / / Page 6

the rise/ Forum: Abuse, Divorce, family


Divorce: What makes divorce okay? Is it okay to leave someone that has loved you, and gave up their freedom to have children with you? It seems pretty selfish to get a divorce with someone you have a family with. You don’t only divorce your husband or wife, you divorce your children and everything else that you shared with that person. A marriage is suppose to be with someone that you are positive that you are going to spend the rest of your life with; something sacred that’s not meant to be wasted away. Marriages can be turbulent and confusing, but children never want to see their parents separated under any circumstances. Young children especially are traumatized the most. My parents were never married, but they were engaged. I never knew the effects of not having my father around, and having to watch my mother struggle to support me and my brother.

We always had enough, but there was always something missing. My father, who rarely called to see how we were doing, created a whole new life with another woman. He had a whole new family and basically forgot about us. Me and my father were always close even though he left. We really never talked about the situation until this last year that has passed. I didn’t get along with his wife, and me and her had a huge falling out. I felt as if he sided with her on the situation. It really tore mine and my father’s relationship. I don’t feel that two people have to be married to get a divorce. A separation of a long relationship or engagement can have the same effects. And it doesn’t only affect the people in the relationship, it affects everyone around them.

There are many things that make a family. Everyone’s family is different. Some live with both their parents and some live with only one. Some people are adopted, others are raised by grandparents. Whatever the case, you can’t change who your family is so you might as well make the best of them. Your parents aren’t always the people who gave birth to you, but the people who raised you. Many people view family as a blood relation and you can’t go against them; show respect. But others, well they don’t see it that way, including me. people can recognize her as my sibling. I think it’s because we love each other like any two sisters would. I believe family isn’t always the people who share your blood but the people that show you love and compassion. I have known my friend since I was in first grade. She’s more than just a friend to me, she is like a sister. I can go to her for anything and she’ll always be there. We may call each other family but we look nothing alike.


Family: I’m a tan Mexican and Jamaican while she is a pale Irish and Italian girl but I will always consider her family. Another situation is my siblings and I. We are not full brothers and sisters but I was raised with the belief that they were. My eldest sister was born to a different father but we share the same mother. I love her as if we were full blood related siblings but we look nothing like sisters. She is pale, has straight hair, and slim while I’m tan, have curly hair, and curvy. Yet, even though we look nothing like each other, Some people also feel that your family defines where you’re going but that’s not true at all. Just because most of my family members became business owners or work in an office doesn’t mean I have to. I’d rather be something more creative like an author or fashion designer. Blood doesn’t determine where you come from, and it will never determine where you’re going. You may not always be able to change how your family is but you should always accept them. Realize that the family you were given can make you stronger. Learn from their mistakes and make a better life for yourself. Your family will always be your family.

Different Types of Abuse

There are many different types of abuse. There is verbal, physical and mental abuse. Both adults and children are abused and there are many different causes for it. If you are an abuse victim then I suggest you get help right away and speak up.

Child Abuse:

In the past and in the lives of children today, there has been a major recognition of abuse. Abused children go unseen, and it is one of the main causes of death here in the United States. Most children are abused within their living environments, such as at home or in foster care by their parent or guardians. Some abused children don’t know or understand to speak up of ongoing abuse, some see it as a normal way of life, which continues the cycle. Child abuse is not only physical but also verbal. Words hurt and can lead children to take drastic measures such as sleep deprivation, bodily harm, suicide etc. Child abuse needs to end, children are defenseless and have no voice of their own. If you or someone you know is being abused, get help right away.

Relationship Abuse:

Relationship abuse is the most common abuse. It’s more common for a woman to be the victim in this situation than a man. But both men and women can be abused whether it is physically, verbally, or even mentally. Some want to believe that they can change because they love their partner, but in most cases it never does. Abuse in a relationship is unhealthy and can lead to serious injuries that can result in death. Nobody deserves to be abused or treated as if you are below someone else, so if you or someone you know are being abused talk to someone and seek help because your life is far more important than a relationship. No matter what type of abuse it may be, SPEAK UP! Help make a better tomorrow today.

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The Rise/ Overcoming Obstacles Johanna Orosco’s life was not perfect, but it could have been worse. What happened to this confident girl? Johanna had a troubled childhood. Her father was very abusive, and was an alcoholic. Johanna’s parents soon separated, and Johanna and her mother moved to Tennessee. They started a new life and were content. Then, her father changed his ways, and Johanna’s parents got back together. Her mother fell ill, and needed an organ transplant but could not find a donor. Johanna offered to donate her organ, but was too young to donate. Johanna’s mother died when she was just 13 years old. She cried for days and could not really forget about it. Her and her father decided to stay in Tennessee, and he found a new job. Soon after, Johanna lost her father. He died in an accident, things could not get any worse than that. Johanna’s grandmother took her back to Cleveland. She went back to school and was a very good student. Then one of Johanna’s best friends met a boy and started to go out with him. One day, they went to his house and she met a boy named Juan, that would become her first boyfriend a month later. Johanna had many similarities with her boyfriend. They both were born in an abusive family.They basically had a perfect relationship, and everyone envied what they had. Johanna and Juan were together for six months. But things started to get bad. He started to be very jealous and started to control her life.

Juan began to tell her what and what not to wear, who to talk and who not to talk to. She was not allowed to talk to anyone, especially to guys. Johanna had more guy friends than girlfriends. When she had plans to go out with friends, he would schedule something else to make her stay with him. Juan started to put her down, he called her names and beat her. When she would decide to leave him, he would beat her until she would get back with him, or would threaten to hurt someone she really cared about. But one day Johanna decided to leave him for good, she was tired of the kind of relationship she was in. She was ready to do anything that could help her to get out of it. She did not even care about the consequences, she just wanted to be happy and safe. Johanna called Juan and broke up with him.

He came to her house and tortured her. To calm him down, she got back together with him .The day after, she went to school and told it to her friends. They convinced her to tell a superior. They arrested him, but let him out four days later.

She has a happy life after a very bad experience: getting shot by a person that she loved.

Johanna tried her best to get a restraining order against him. But at this time, teenagers couldn’t get a restraining order. Johanna stayed worried for days about the lives of people she cared about .Two weeks later she came back from school and got ready to go out, she kissed her grandmother and got into her car. Johanna felt the presence of someone but thought that it was just an illusion. She was getting ready to leave when she saw him facing her with a gun in his hands. He looked at her in a way he never did before. They looked at each other for a while, she decided to turn on the car and to go when he shot Johanna. Johanna’s grandmother took her to the hospital with a neighbor. Johanna did not remember anything other than telling her grandmother that it was Juan that shot her, and when she told the doctors that she did not want to die. Everything changed at these moments; she would no longer be as she was. She stayed at the hospital for two months. When she got out, she could not go back to school but had tutors who came every day to give her classes. She graduated with a GPA of 3.57 and was chosen to be prom queen. Today Johanna is working to help fight against abusive relationships. Johanna is rebuilding a new life. Juan is still in prison serving a sentence of 27 years.

DEAR SUSIE The Rise / / Page 10


What would you do if your home was turned into a pile of rubble, everything was soaked, and you couldn’t find your loves ones?

With many tragedies happening all around the world, group of teenagers decided it was their time to help. On March 26, 2011, Esperanza a group of teenagers decided to clean the neighborhood and also have a Bake Sale. Under the guidance of David Funk, he and the group of 17 teenagers started their day out. The day before, the Staff and kids that attend Esperanza were helping each other bake desserts for the Saturday. They baked cookies, cake, chocolate covered pretzels, cheese cake, and more. On Saturday, the 17 kids woke up and began selling their baked goods at 10 o’clock at Family Dollar located on 2704 Clark Avenue.

Programs Thethrough Proceeds went to The Cross. Esperanza likeRed SISCO II The Red Cross organization helps people all around the world, currently; Haiti,IIand now Japan still helping The SISCO Program servesand even people throughout thestudents United attending States. The teens stood there for five Hispanic Cleveland hours raising money and cleaning the streets on Clark. high schools. After-school programming helps students perform well in William Colon, said “I enjoyed helping Japan. It was good school, improve scores on proficiency to help other people thatexams, are in need. “ andout college entrance explore career options, and pursue college Together they raised 200.00 dollars. Also, the streets look and job opportunities after completing much cleaner. Together they picked over ten bags of trash. high school. Esperanza has proven that they do a lot to give SISCOInc. II offers students: backACT/SAT to the community.They bring hope to the people they college entrance exam helppreparation,academic everyday. Whether it’sand volunteering at nursing homes homework or helping serve food at thereview food bank, they are always tutoring, proficiency classes, helping the community. In 2011 Esperanza created a projob preparation... gram called the “Summer of Hope.” Youth all around the Cleveland Metropolitan School District signed up. They completed 1,250 hours within the Cleveland Area. They did different activities such as cutting weeds at parks, helping and doing zumba with the elderly, and properly sorting medical supplies that will distributed all around the world at MedWish.


visits and applications assistance, financial aid guidance for students and parents, a Summer Enrichment Program, and scholarship for college. Goals of the SISCO II Program: Activities focus on improving grades and overall academic skills. Program efforts expand students’ knowledge of various career opportunities. College visits expose students to new environments. Financial Aid information helps students and their parents understand their options. Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships. Service activities allow students and opportunity to give back to their community.

ANNUAL APPEAL There aren’t many places in my community I can call a second home. Esperanza has set up a safe environment which I call my second home. Esperanza to me means exactly what it translates into: hope. I have increased my vocabulary, I have learned better study skills, and I have excelled in computer skills. I have made new friendships and bonds between peers and the staff of this organization. One of the most special bonds is with my mentor through Esperanza. Every day after school there are volunteers who can help us with our homework. This is a huge help because there aren’t many people we know and trust to help us with something as important as our grades. Another thing Esperanza stresses is how important it is to graduate high school and go to college. They encourage us to dream big and set goals for ourselves. The staff and volunteers motivate us to become something greater in life. They believe in us. With the help of this organization, I see graduating and college as a possibility for myself. While being just one of the many students that are a part of these programs, I have felt more special and attached to the people here than any other place in my life. There is nothing more that I’d like to do other than give thanks to Esperanza for everything they have done for me.

Esperanza has helped me since I came here. I was not sure about joining but once I started I never wanted to go home. They helped me with my classes and taught me how to be a better person in life and how to help the community. Thanks to Esperanza I passed the O.G.T test with just one year in the United States, was a straight A student at the International Newcomers Academy. Now I am starting college; one more time Esperanza helped with their scholarship. The whole staff have become like a second family for me, because a family helps me reach my goals and teaches me the skills to obtain them and that is what Esperanza has done for me. They helped me to improve my grades, my English and my leadership skills. I hope to give them back what they continuously give me. I hope you join Esperanza and make a difference as I am doing. by Jose

The Rise Rise // // Page Page 12 18 The

Teen View My parents have been lying to me my whole life. My name is Julia and I’m sixteen years old. I recently discovered something that will change my life forever. It turns out they’re not my real parents, I’m adopted. Why didn’t they tell me? Why did they lie to me? Who are my birth parents and why didn’t they want me? These are the questions I keep asking myself. Suddenly I feel like I don’t belong. I’m so disappointed in my parents for not telling me and lately I’ve been distant. They can never understand how I feel after all this and now I feel like I don’t know who I am. I wonder about what else they may be lying to me about?


Parents should tell their kids about them being adopted. I found out the hard way and the hardest part of it is, they don’t know I know about it. My parents had a business dinner and asked me to straighten up the house. While I was cleaning the study I saw a box that I never really noticed before. I don’t know why I never seen it before today. It was on a high shelf that I couldn’t reach, almost like I wasn’t meant to. I grew curious and wanted to see what was inside. When I got it down I noticed a lock on it. I had no idea where the key could be. I began looking for one somewhere in the study. Just when I was about to give up, I found a key taped under the desk. I grabbed it and it worked; the box was unlocked! As I rummaged through the box, I saw some papers from an adoption agency. I began to get more and more curious. At first I thought they were planning to adopt and I was happy, but when I saw the date, my emotions completely changed. The date on the papers was my date of birth. Everything began to piece together. I was heartbroken and infuriated. After about a week of not talking to my parents I finally decided to tell them why and what I found. They were upset about the way I found out and that they didn’t tell me sooner. I want to know more about my birth parents but I don’t want to upset my adoptive parents.

Parent View As parents we’ll do anything to protect our children from getting hurt no matter what the situation is. In Julia’s case, I never shared that she was adopted because I didn’t want her to feel out of place. You hear stories of kids rebelling because they’re aware they were adopted and end up resenting their adoptive parent. It’s been about two weeks since Julia has spoken to us after she learned about the adoption. I was in complete shock! Her father and I never wanted her to find out this way. We may not be her birth parents, but we’ve had her since she was a newborn. We raised her as if she were our own. Julia shouldn’t let the adoption change the way she feels about us, we’re still her parents.


I honestly never wanted her to find out. Now I’m disappointed in myself for making her feel like I lied to her. I know now that she had every right to know the truth and that I should have never kept it from her. I just wish she could see why we did. I see now that parents should be more open with their kids depending on the situation. But let them know that you love them and no matter what they’re still your child. Even though Julia wants to know where she came from, she knows that her father and I will be here for her no matter what.

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Dear Teenage Susie, My boyfriend and I have been together for one year and four months. He is more than definitely the love of my life. I have been keeping a secret from my family and friends, though. My boyfriend has been physically and sexually abusing me for the past 6 months. At first, its was just jealousy and having the passwords to my social networks, but over time it got worse. He became really controlling. I couldn’t go anywhere without him knowing where I was, who I was with, or what I was doing. The first time he ever put his hands on me, I broke up with him. But I soon took him back. I never told anyone about what was going on in our relationship. He would try to force himself on me, but we would always laugh it off, but one day he held me down; he didn’t even use protection. I was so scared, I kept telling him no, and screaming, but no one heard me. He put his hands over my mouth and kept going. When it was over, I didn’t speak to him. He kept telling me that it was good for our relationship, and that it was good for me, and maybe I would stop being so prude now. A few weeks ago, I received a message on Facebook from some girl, saying that he was cheating on me, and has been for the past 3 months. I was heart broken, so I called him up to ask if it was true, and he denied it. He came over on that day, and he was being really sweet to me. I told him that us being together wasn’t the best thing for me right now, and he flipped. He didn’t try to hit me though, he just sped off in his car. I texted him later on that night and told him to never come over again, and that it was over. I wanted him to get rid of my number and never talk to me again. After I sent that text, he called me and told me that he had syphilis. I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe he didn’t say anything. I don’t know how to tell my parents or how to deal with this situation, can you please give me some advice? Sincerely, Fed Up

Dear Fed Up, I want you to know that you are not alone. Nothing that happened during the relationship was your fault, and don’t feel guilty about going back to him the first time he hit you. I understand that you were in love with him and you thought that he would change. There are many girls going through your situation.However, you have to be strong and look forward to the future. You will find the guy of your dreams that will treat you like a princess. You most definitely have to refrain from talking to him again, and need tell your parents about the situation. I think that even though your parents will be angry about what happened, they would be relieved that you have told them about what has been happening to you. In the process of you telling your story and seeking help, many other teenage girls having the same problems as you and these other people will come forward to comfort you. Your family will be there for you, even though you didn’t tell them about the abuse and you should also contact the authorities, and press charges against him. You need get tested for all STDs, because even though he said it, it may or may not be true. Untreated STD’s can cause other permanent health problems.You should also get a pregnancy test, since he didn’t use protection. I hope the best for you and your situation.

Sincerely, -Teenage Susie


Web Sources Abuse Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center Divorce and Teens 216-391-HELP Cuyahoga County Depart- of Children and dex.html Family Services Child Abuse Prevention Hotline Divorce Aid (216)696-KIDS (5437) http://divorce.lifetips. Cleveland Rape Crisis com/cat/12123/teens(216) 619-6192 and-divorce/index.html www.clevelandrapecrisis. RAINN (Rape, Abuse org & Incest National Teen dating violence Network) http://www.loveisrespect. http://www.rainn. org/ org/get-help/nation1-866-331-9474 al-sexual-assaulthotline Witness/Victim Service 1.800.656. Center HOPE(4673) (216) 443-7345

Lesbian/Gay Community Service Center of Greater Cleveland (216) 651-5428 National Runaway Switchboard (800) RUNAWAY (7862929) Job and Family Services www.ohioworkforce. org Westhaven Youth Services (216) 941-0062 Center for Families and Children (216) 423-7230

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The Rise: Issue 3  

The third issue deals with family, abuse & divorce.

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