“I wanted to be part of this film because I wanted to make visible, help and change the situation for children and young people who have witnessed violence in their homes. It felt natural to participate but at the same time scary. What I personally want to change is how the authorities treats and communicates with a child who has witnessed violence. I have been treated very badly and not shown any respect from the authorities that I have been in contact with. As me and my younger siblings not only grew up with violence but also alcohol and drugs that has too been traumatic and complicated, and I have also always connected drugs and alcohol with violence. And when me and my siblings for the first time was taken into emergency custody by social services they showed no consideration for what we had been through and lied to our faces and told us that we would be away for a week because our mum needed ”rest”. That was not the case. What instead followed was move upon move, family after family, and we lived both with alcoholics, a pedophile and families with their own severe problems. So during these four years I can’t even, using my ten fingers, count the many places I have stayed at where I have never been shown respect and consideration for having been exposed to violence. And since we never got a safe home environment I kept developing my mental illness. What I wanted to show is that this is the reality for many, many children and young people, me and my siblings are sadly not a unique case. What I also hope to make clear with this film is that it is never the child’s fault or the young person’s fault, what has happened or is happening, and one is not alone even though most people think so. I also think that schools and other authorities should be more observant on children’s behaviour and even though they don’t show any signs still keep a better communication with children in day care and schools. Cause if someone perhaps would have asked me as a little five-year-old if maybe I had seen my mum getting beaten up, as I by then thought as normal then maybe my situation would have been different today. Maybe my mum would have gotten the help she needed to be able to break free from her destructive relationship much earlier. When she did, it was almost too late.
From the filming I will always remember how Åsa showed me and my family, and others who were part of the film, great respect, Åsa was aware of my mental illness and we established pretty early how to communicate and so on. A lot of emotions have aroused throughout filming but what I carry with me and will remember the most is the respect and encouragement from Åsa, something I had never been shown before when it comes to personal things like in this case the fact that I had witnessed violence and was feeling very ill.
The people I hope will see this film is first and foremost children and young people whom have been or are in the same situation as myself so they’ll realise that they’re not alone, and that they should never feel shame or guilt. Of course I also hope it reaches authorities, schools, day care staff and all types of people. I never got the right help and it has affected my entire life.
What I hope the audience think when they’ve watched the film – I hope they never forget it. My everyday life I wouldn’t want to wish upon my worst enemy. I’m currently battling the self-harming which I developed when I was 12-years-old. My panic attacks control my entire life. I suffer, and then I mean really suffer, from quite a few diagnoses and I am just about to get investigated for psychosis disorder. The toughest part is my mood swings that shift so fast and my intensely negative self-image, as well as my obsessions. I’m currently staying in an apartment ”given” to me by social services but I need to move out by mid-December (2014) to another ”social service-apartment” and this results in severe stress and panic that I find almost impossible to handle, and it is often stress that has led to my previous suicide attempts. If I were to see myself from another person’s point of view I would see someone who lives quite destructively as I drink alcohol several times a week. But I don’t see it destructive that I self medicate every day by taking anxiolytics (not to not feeling anything but simply to be able to breath at a normal pace and not just lay shaking of anxiety). I hope to soon get anxiolytics prescribed by a doctor, and therapy, so I can start living a worthily life as I believe all people should be entitled to. I write letters to my dad as he is in prison. I have the best mum in the world who has been the biggest support in my life. I sadly argue a lot with my siblings. I also spend a lot of time with my best friend who is also by all of us considered a member of the family. I’m talking about Cherifa who is in the film, and who is my soul mate :).
- FeliciaCheck out Felicia's Instagram pictures