Children who witness domestic violence may end up victim to its devastating effects for the rest of their lives.
Corterra Payton of Houston, Texas decided she didn’t want that for her 11-month-old son, Duran.
ABC 13 reports that Payton grabbed her son and fled her apartment, which she shares with her boyfriend, in fear after the couple had a late night argument.
The mother said:
“It’s very hard, especially if you don’t have an income at the moment.”
Initially, Payton contacted her relatives located in Cleveland, Texas, but they were unable to get to her location. Next, she attempted to go to a shelter. However, since it was after midnight, they told her to come back in the morning.
She thought about sleeping in her car with her son, but after some consideration, she decided that was a bad idea too.
“We are going to be sleeping in the car, somebody going to come up with a gun, kill us, rob us. Either that or they will see me sleeping. A woman, guy, somebody will come by the car and say, ‘Oh, she sleeping in the car with her baby, we fixing to call the police.'”
The last option she could think of was to take baby Duran to a local fire station. When she arrived at Fire Station 68, Payton explained her situation to the firefighters. They welcomed the boy with open arms and Payton left him in their care.
She remains extremely appreciative.
“Thank you God! Because I know they have the law with firefighters, the baby can’t be over 60 days and they still took him, so I am thankful for that. As long as he’s safe, that’s what the concern is about.”
According to Unicef, children exposed to domestic violence are 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually assaulted than the national average.
Further, the organization says growing up in a violent home also increases the child’s risk for “becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life.”
As ABC13 reports, Payton said she had no plans to leave her son permanently. In fact, she returned for him an hour later. When she arrived, she was met by police officers.
Police ensured the two were okay before taking them to a CPS facility for the remainder of the night.
The mom says that her son will now stay with her family. Once she receives a check from her new job, Payton hopes to get back on her feet.
ABC 13 contacted a 24-hour women’s shelter, that provided advice for someone in a domestic violence situation like Payton’s. The staff recommends finding a safe place to contact police, who can provide help and addresses of emergency shelters.
If someone is uncomfortable contacting the police, they can go to a hospital. Hospitals reportedly keep social workers staffed 24/7 who can provide help.