o, don't hurt my mother!" Gina's* screams pierced throughout the still of the dark night, waking her five-year-old brother, Pedro. She sat up in bed and continued to shriek as her father slapped her mother barely three feet away from them.
Her mother, Patrícia, horrified that her children were watching this
violent display, turned toward eight-year-old Gina and tried to smile
reassuringly. Juan, Patrícia's husband, took the opportunity to
punch the five-foot-tall Patrícia in the nose, sending her sprawling
backwards. As she struggled to maintain her balance, she saw stars and
felt warm, sticky blood dripping down her face.
*All names have been changed to protect the identities of the people in this story.