♪♪ (young person speaking Spanish) (translated) I would like to have peace between the two countries. ♪♪ (girl speaking Spanish) I would tell the kids of the United States that Cuba is a good country. (girl 2 speaking Spanish) I feel really happy because I feel it's going to get better between the two countries. ♪♪ (boy speaking Spanish) I think there will be good changes in Cuba. ♪♪ We are so close. We should be having a better relationship. ♪♪ (music changes) (announcer) This is "Nick News" with Linda Ellerbee. ♪♪ Now here is Linda Ellerbee. The island country of Cuba is just 90 miles off the coast of the state of Florida. That is close. Which is tricky. Because officially, the U.S. is a capitalist society and officially, Cuba is a communist society, and so the two countries have been enemies for more than 50 years. But the world changes, and recently, President Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro have begun to work to find ways to bring the two countries closer together. What will it be like to be a kid in Cuba tomorrow? Begin with this. What's it like to be a kid in Cuba today? We went to Cuba to find out. ♪♪ (boy 3 speaking Spanish) I'm proud of being Cuban. (speaking Spanish) For me, Cuba is happiness, joy. It's everything. (speaking Spanish) The first thing that comes to my mind is patriotism and how Cuba helps other countries. (boy 4 speaking Spanish) What I like about being Cuban is that we could have any kind of problem and we come out of it with joy and music. Instead of staying home and being sad, we come out into the streets. (young person 2) Cuban people are always joyful people. They're always happy. (young person 3) Cuba is an underdeveloped country, but it's a free country. (girl 1) Here in Cuba, the schools, everything is free and all the kids have the same rights for everything. (boy 1) I like that I can have medicine above all and medical attention without having to pay for any costs. The best part about growing up here in Cuba is the sports. When I grow up, I want to be a great baseball player. (young person 4 speaking Spanish) What I like about Cuba is Cuban music. That is what makes me feel Cuban. (speaking Spanish) What I like the most about Cuba is its landscapes and its beaches. (young person 5 speaking Spanish) The most beautiful thing about Cuba is the dance. (young person 6) For me, the most beautiful part of Cuba is the people. ♪♪ (Ellerbee) But what are some of the things Cuban kids would change about their country if they could? ♪♪ (girl 3) Havana is a beautiful place. What I would change about Cuba, about Havana, its dirty places. I would like to have more clean places. Like my neighborhood. In every corner, I find a lot of garbage on the street and a lot of people don't understand that that's a bad thing. And that's why we have so many diseases in Havana. (speaking Spanish) The streets. They're in really bad shape. (engine revving) And there are some buildings that are in bad shape and need to be restored. (continues in Spanish) Above all, I would like for us to be able to travel to many more places and to travel to other countries that aren't my own as well. (girl 2 speaking Spanish) I would like to have the chance to go easily to the United States. (speaking Spanish) I think people living in the United States, their lives might be a little bit different, but I think I would like to stay here in Cuba. ♪♪ (Ellerbee) How did Cuba and the U.S. become enemies in the first place? Cuba was run by a dictator supported by the United States until 1959, when Cuban rebels led by Fidel Castro overthrew that dictator, promising freedom and equality for all. The rebels also took over all businesses in Cuba owned by companies in the U.S. Castro then had a choice between negotiating a new alliance with the United States or joining with the communist-run Soviet Union, America's most powerful enemy. Castro chose the Soviet Union and communism, a system that aims to replace private property with public ownership. The U.S. retaliated by shutting off diplomatic relations with a communist Cuba and enacting an embargo, which meant it was illegal for U.S. companies to do business with Cuba or for individual Americans to spend money in Cuba or even to visit there. From that point, a wall existed between the two countries, a wall much bigger than the 90 miles of water that separates them. Until now. ♪♪ (girl 1 speaking Spanish) My reaction now that Cuba can have a relationship with the United States, it was something like, "Yay, finally." (girl 3 speaking Spanish) The embargo has been affecting us a lot. The embargo makes it hard to buy food or medicine, the necessities we need. (girl 4 speaking Spanish) We don't live in the same way. We don't have the same things. (speaking Spanish) Maybe they get to live in big houses, beautiful houses, and we don't get to live in these kind of houses. (continues in Spanish) I think if the people in the United States change their opinion about Cuba and they change the embargo, maybe the relationship can get better. (young person 7 speaking Spanish) I think things are going to change pretty soon. I think tourists are coming to Cuba now. I think we are going to improve our economy. (boy 5 speaking Spanish) I would like for the relationship to get better because both countries would benefit, not only economically, but also culturally. ♪♪ (class speaking Spanish) (boy 8 speaking Spanish) I like to study and study. I want to study to be a lawyer to defend others' human rights for a fair cause. Last year, I got hundreds on every subject in school. (class singing) I really like school and participate in the different tournaments and contests we have in school and I'm always getting awards. (teacher speaking Spanish, boy 8 continues in Spanish) I used to play baseball at school, then I changed to play handball, which is what I'm doing right now. I like this sport more. (boys chant, clap) It is important for every school to have sports because it forces you to always be active and not gain too much weight. ♪♪ (continues in Spanish) My favorite part of the day is when I come home and see my brother and my mom waiting there for me. (continues in Spanish) My house is big, with three floors. It has a patio and a terrace. And what I like most about it is my room. It is the cleanest one of all the rooms. I have two rats. One is named Sabrina and the other is Stewart. I have a turtle. I have two dogs. My brother, he's good with me, always helping me with classes, and if not , he lets me play anything with him. ♪♪ One of the most beautiful things about Cuba is the Museum of the Revolution. The Revolution is what occurred on January 1, 1959, called the Triumphant Revolution, where we gained freedom thanks to Fidel and Raul Castro with Che and others. They created history and will remain in the hearts of the Cuban people. (continues in Spanish) Socialism is something where you help others the way Cuba does with other countries. For instance, we're sending Cuban doctors to fight Ebola, a global sickness. It is an epidemic and we have to destroy it. (continues in Spanish) When I think of Cuba, I think of liberty, peace and tranquility in the world and hope that Cuba and the United States keep a friendly relationship. The relationship can get better with time. The relationship depends on if they compromise. (singing in Spanish) (speaking Spanish) When I sing, I feel happy and content. (continues singing) (speaking Spanish) I like music very much. What I like to listen to the most is opera. Music lets me express my feelings because with it, I can make a person fall in love with me. My girlfriend is named Dalia and we have been together four months. We live in the same neighborhood. (Dalia speaking Spanish) Marcos is a really joyful person. He's always happy. He's always taking care of his friends. I wouldn't change a thing about Marcos. (speaking Spanish) What I like about my neighborhood is that I get along with all of my neighbors. I have lived there since I was born and every time I rehearse, they tell me how well I sing. They motivate me to move forward and they support me always. ♪♪ I am proud of living in a united country, a place where everyone helps each other. (continues in Spanish) In my opinion, socialism is a community where we share however we can, where we all have the same rights, the same responsibilities and where we take on the same tasks regardless of our rankings. ♪♪ I am part of the Communist Youth Union. Being part of the Communist Youth Union means that when we reach adulthood, we can become part of the government. I feel like a student who is recognized, because you have to be a student who fulfills all of his responsibilities and that knows and recognizes when something is wrong and who fights against what is wrong. ♪♪ (continues in Spanish) Of Cuba's future, I think we have to better ourselves more, but we are doing so a little bit at a time, by all that our government is doing to help. (continues in Spanish) I would like to have a little bit more access to the Internet, because I would like to have access to information, like information about jobs or music. I could look up history. Also to be informed about everything that's happening in the world. But I think that to be in front of a computer the entire day could be damaging. (continues in Spanish) It's also a good idea to practice sports, to sing, to listen to music, to go to a museum, because those things make you open up your mind to society and to the world you live in. (continues in Spanish) In the future, first I would like to go to college. I would like to focus on communication or journalism and also music. I don't have to be too famous. I just want people to know me and know what it is I do. I would like to do it here in Cuba because of Cuba's roots in the music that I love. (ends song on a high note) (Ellerbee) Cuba's art is everywhere and, it seems, by everyone, including the art of creating new ways of helping one another and new concepts, like the art of recycling. ♪♪ I think art is part of the Cuban people and part of how we live in Cuba. I think that when people paint the murals on the walls, it is because they like to express themselves. They like to make the city beautiful. I am in the community project Granma. It is a community project for kids. We come here to make figures out of papier-mâché and to paint as well. I come here because I like to express what I'm thinking. ♪♪ (speaking Spanish) One day, I took a table, placed it outside my house on the street, and suddenly, three kids came to me asking for some help for some homework for school. Then three more came. Then, after three months, I had 13 to 15 kids here. ♪♪ (continues in Spanish) My name is Lazaro. I live in central Havana. This is my house and this is recycling with art and news. (continues in Spanish) The project has been going on for four years. The kids, they come here, they interact with other kids and they get educated, and they learn how to recycle, which is my work, and what my efforts are all about. (continues in Spanish) They feel like this is their home, like they're in a garden for kids in a park. This is not about telling them what's right or wrong. This is all about freedom. It's all about creation. Art. (Ellerbee) Cuban kids seem happy in general. They have a good school system, a vibrant culture and a strong family structure at the center of their lives. (speaking Spanish) The first thing that comes to mind when I hear people talk of Cuba is a mother that saw me born and saw me grow. It is where I learned it all, where I grew up as a person. ♪♪ (girl 5 speaking Spanish) The Cuban family plays an important role. They like to help each other and they love socializing. I love my family. They always want what's best for me. (speaking Spanish) In the future, it's what they're going to remember. (continues in Spanish) I feel really proud when I see my kids and my family together on the weekends, and I get to cook breakfast for them. This is one of the things that make me forget about the limitations we have. (boy 4 speaking Spanish) We are not a very developed country, and this limits us. Some problems that I see in Cuba that I wish could be changed would be the salary of some jobs. Also, there are some living spaces in Havana that are in bad shape and could be fixed. (man) One of the things that should be changed in Cuba would be the possibility to trade with countries that are closer to the island. Right now, most of the products get imported from Europe and China and that makes the products have higher prices. It would be easier for us to have access to different products and lower prices if Cuba had the possibility to trade with the United States. ♪♪ (boy 4) I would love for this problem to be resolved. I would like to think of that country as a friend. (man speaking Spanish) The announcement was surprising when Barack Obama and Raul Castro told us the news. It wasn't just the news of the year, but maybe the whole lifetime for the Cuban people, so I would like to recognize the bravery of Barack Obama and Raul Castro for bringing these two nations together. ♪♪ (boy 4) When I hear people talk about the United States, I think of big buildings and technology. (girl 5) I would like to visit New York City because I've heard it's a beautiful place. (boy 4) I think it would be difficult to get visas to go to the United States. The relationship with the United States still has not been fixed. (girl 5 speaking Spanish) I think I wouldn't change a thing about the Cuban government's role, because they've always been teaching us how to keep our minds to Cuban history and how to be faithful to the Cuban roots. (all chanting) (boy 4 speaking Spanish) To me, socialism is defined as, to all and for the good of all. It is everyone being happy with what they have. It means to find a way where we are all equal, or something like that. (speaking Spanish) I think the life of an American kid my age would be different because maybe they have different possibilities. I'm talking about the economy, so I think that would be a little different from the life we have. I think that if the relationship between the two countries gets better, I think we'll have different possibilities in the future here. (man) I would like to see all these new changes in Cuba, but I wouldn't like to see the achievements of the revolution thrown away. Because of education for free, a healthcare system for free, the way the Cuban family lives all together, those are achievements that we must preserve. ♪♪ (girl 2 speaking Spanish) I would like American kids to come to Cuba so that way I can meet them and learn about their lives. (girl 4) I would like to ask an American girl how they live, how are the schools over there? What do they do? What would they like to do when they get older? (speaking Spanish) What would he like to change about this country and what makes him happy there? (girl 1 speaking Spanish) They can see our culture, the way we live, and they can see that a lot of the things that they are told about our country aren't true. (speaking Spanish) When he's about to leave, I would see his face to see how he liked his time in Cuba. (speaking Spanish) Then I would like him to take me to his country and see if it's the same. (boy 3 speaking Spanish) I think all kids are the same. It doesn't matter where you come from or who you are. What's only important is friendship and the values that you have. ♪♪ (speaking Spanish) I want for us to be friends. In this show, we have had glimpses into the lives of some of Cuba's kids, but that is all. Glimpses. We do not know them. We do not know what choices they will make tomorrow. But their world, their lives, are going to change. And the thing to remember is that whatever happens between our two countries is not going to happen overnight. I'm Linda Ellerbee. Good-bye for Nick News. ♪♪ (men singing in Spanish) ♪♪ (men singing in Spanish) ♪♪ >> male announcer: THIS IS NICK NEWS WITH LINDA ELLERBEE. NOW FROM NEW YORK, HERE IS LINDA ELLERBEE. >> DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS ABUSE, PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL, USED BY ONE MEMBER OF A FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD ON ANOTHER. RIGHT NOW, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT PARENTS ABUSING KIDS, ALTHOUGH, AS WE ALL KNOW, IT HAPPENS. AT THE MOMENT, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PARENTS ABUSING EACH OTHER, A SUBJECT OFTEN HIDDEN WITHIN FAMILIES BUT WHICH GOES ON IN ALL RACES, ECONOMIC SITUATIONS, AND FAMILY CONFIGURATIONS. WHAT FOLLOWS ARE STORIES FROM KIDS WHO'VE BEEN CAUGHT IN THIS KIND OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. THESE KIDS ARE NOW SAFE, AND THEY WANT TO BREAK THEIR SILENCE. THEY WANT THEIR STORIES TO BE HEARD. WE WANT TO HEAR THEM. >> THIS IS THE HOUSE I GREW UP IN. WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, MY PARENTS USED TO ARGUE ALL THE TIME. IT WOULD START OVER THE LITTLEST THING, AND THEN IT WOULD ESCALATE INTO YELLING AND FIGHTING AND THEN HITTING. >> I WOULD BE SCARED. LIKE, I WOULD HEAR BANGING ON THE WALLS. I WOULD HIDE UP UNDER MY COVER. >> WE HID BACK IN THE ROOM. YOU WOULD HEAR MY MOM SAYING, "NO, DON'T DO THAT. DON'T--DON'T--" AND THEN YOU COULD HEAR, LIKE, HIM PUNCHING MY MOM IN THE FACE AND STUFF. >> IT WAS VERY UNPREDICTABLE. WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. WE ARE CHELSEA, ELIJAH, AND EMILY, AND WE ARE FROM TENNESSEE. >> THERE WAS ALWAYS A SILENCE AFTER AN ARGUMENT OR AFTER SOMEBODY GOT HIT, AND IT WOULD JUST HAPPEN AGAIN AND AGAIN. MY NAME IS ZACH, AND I LIVE IN NEW YORK STATE. MY MOM'S BOYFRIEND MOVED IN WITH US WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX, AND THERE WAS ARGUMENTS THAT THEY'D START OFF PRETTY IMMEDIATELY. I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING NORMAL, BUT WHEN IT ESCALATED INTO ALL THE HITTING AND ALL THE PUSHING AROUND AND IT WAS ARGUING EVERY SINGLE DAY, CONSTANTLY, I KNEW IT WASN'T SOMETHING NORMAL. >> WHEN MY MOTHER AND I WERE LIVING WITH HER BOYFRIEND, THE WAY HE WAS ACTING WASN'T HURTING ME EMOTIONALLY, BUT MY MOTHER BEING HURT WAS HURTING ME EMOTIONALLY BECAUSE SHE WAS ALL THAT I HAD. MY NAME IS VARIAN. I LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. HE THREW MY MOTHER AROUND A LOT, AND I SAW HIM PUNCHING HER AND PUSHING HER AND THROWING HER DOWN THE STEPS. I WAS SCARED THAT EVENTUALLY HE WAS GONNA KILL HER, BECAUSE IT WAS GETTING REALLY EXTREME. >> WHEN MY DAD WAS LIVING WITH US, HE WOULD ALWAYS WANT CONTROL OF US. HE NEVER WANTED MY MOM TO GO ANYWHERE. HE ALWAYS WANTED MY MOM TO COOK, CLEAN, AND JUST STAY IN THE HOUSE. MY NAME IS ZOJA, AND I LIVE IN NEW YORK STATE. WHEN MY MOM DID MAKE HURT, HE SAYS, "IT'S, LIKE-- THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTED." AND THEN HE-- HE STARTED BEATING HER. I WOULD TAKE MY SISTER INTO HER ROOM TO NOT HEAR THEM, LIKE, FIGHTING AND STUFF, AND I WOULD TELL HER, "IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT. NOTHING'S HAPPENING." IT WAS SCARY. >> I'M AN ONLY CHILD, SO I WAS BASICALLY HIDING BY MYSELF, AND I FELT SO ALONE. MY NAME IS SOPHIA, AND I LIVE IN IOWA. MY DAD WAS A REALLY GOOD GUY. IT WAS JUST THE ALCOHOL PROBLEMS THAT HE HAD THAT KIND OF TOOK CONTROL OF HIS MIND. MY MOM WOULD THROW THINGS AND SCREAM, AND MY DAD WOULD PUSH HER, PIN HER DOWN, SOMETIMES CHOKE HER. >> WE GET VIOLENT, LIKE, TRYING TO PUNCH EACH OTHER, BECAUSE I FEEL ANGRY THROUGH HIM, AND I DON'T CARE IF HE PUNCH ME. "OKAY, I PUNCH YOU TOO." YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? MY NAME IS ANAYI. I AM SOPHIA'S MOM. >> THEY'D YELL, "I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. I REGRET MEETING YOU," WHICH MADE ME FEEL EVEN WORSE, BECAUSE IF THEY NEVER MET, THEY WOULD'VE NEVER HAD ME. >> WE LIVED IN A SMALL APARTMENT, SO WHEN HE WAS ABUSING HER, I TRIED TO DISTRACT MYSELF BY WATCHING TELEVISION OR READING, BUT I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE THE ROOM BECAUSE I WAS ALWAYS AFRAID THAT HE WOULD TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL AND HARM HER MORE. >> YOU COULDN'T GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING WITHOUT HIS SAY-SO. LIKE, MY MOM, IF SHE WAS, LIKE, FIVE MINUTES LATE, HE'D HIT HER WITH 100 QUESTIONS, AND THEN HE WOULD TURN IT INTO A FIGHT. >> I BELIEVE THAT EACH ONE OF US IN THIS HOUSE WERE TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO MAKE HIM HAPPY. PERSONALLY, I WOULD CLEAN. I FELT LIKE IF I DID MORE, THEY WOULD ARGUE LESS, BUT HE WAS UNPLEASABLE. >> WHEN MY MOTHER'S BOYFRIEND WAS ABUSING HER, I WOULD TRY DEFENDING HER AND TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO GET HIM OFF OF HER, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE BEST WAY THAT A CHILD SHOULD DEAL WITH THE SITUATION, BECAUSE THE ABUSER DOESN'T HAVE SELF-CONTROL OVER THEIR ANGER, AND THE CHILD COULD GET HURT AS WELL. >> I FELT VERY UNSAFE. SOMETIMES I WOULD SLEEP IN THE CLOSET. THE CLOSET WAS MY HIDING PLACE. >> I HATE MYSELF ALL THE TIME. I REALLY DO, 'CAUSE I NEVER TRIED TO DO SOMETHING. I WAS AFRAID TO BE ALONE. >> I WANTED TO HELP MY MOM. I WANTED TO TELL SOMEBODY THAT SHE NEEDS HELP. SHE NEEDS TO GET OUT-- GET OUT OF THIS. BUT I HAD NOBODY TO TELL-- ANYBODY. I FELT LIKE I WAS JUST DONE. LIKE, I HAD NOBODY. IT FELT LIKE I WAS IN PRISON AND I WAS IN A CAGE. I COULDN'T TELL NOBODY. I FELT ALONE. I FELT LIKE I WAS THE ONLY PERSON, LIKE, IN THIS OR WHO HAD THIS, SO I HAD NOBODY TO TELL MY FEELINGS ABOUT-- ABOUT MY FEELINGS. >> I REALLY WANTED TO LEAVE, BUT I NEVER TALKED TO MY MOM ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. I DIDN'T KNOW HOW SHE FELT, AND I DIDN'T KNOW IF SHE WANTED TO LEAVE LIKE I DID. >> I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO GET OUT OR WHAT TO DO, AND IT WAS JUST, LIKE, "LET ME JUST TRY TO MAKE PEACE IN THE HOUSE." MY NAME IS MARGARET, AND I'M ZACH'S MOTHER. THERE WOULD BE TIMES THAT HE WOULD SAY, IF WE LEFT, HE'D FIND US. HE'D HURT US. HE'D THREATEN US. >> I BELIEVE MY MOM STAYED BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO MAKE IT WORK. >> I DIDN'T WANT TO BE ALONE. I WANTED THAT SECURITY OF HAVING THE FATHER AND MY HUSBAND. MY NAME IS PENNY, AND I'M EMILY, ELIJAH, AND CHELSEA'S MOM. I WANTED TO HAVE SOMEONE THERE JUST TO LOVE ME, EVEN THOUGH IT MAY HAVE BEEN THE WRONG SITUATION AND NOT THE RIGHT TYPE OF LOVE, BUT YET, IT WAS STILL, TO ME, A LOVE. >> I WANTED HIM TO LEAVE, BUT I HAD ENOUGH SENSE TO KNOW THAT WE NEEDED HIM FINANCIALLY. >> WHEN MY PARENTS WOULD FIGHT, TO ME, THAT WAS NORMAL, 'CAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT A NORMAL PARENT WAS AT THE TIME. >> AS SOON AS I WENT TO MY FRIEND'S HOUSE, YOU KNOW, SEEING HOW HIS FAMILY WORKED AND STUFF, I WAS LIKE, "MY FAMILY'S REALLY STRANGE." LIKE, I JUST DIDN'T UNDERSTAND. >> I FELT LIKE WE HAD TO KEEP IT HIDDEN. WE KNEW IT WAS WRONG. WE KNEW THAT THE VIOLENCE WAS SOMETHING THAT MY DAD COULD GET IN TROUBLE FOR, SO WE JUST CHOSE NOT TO TELL, BECAUSE WE LOVED HIM. I MEAN, IT WAS OUR-- IT WAS OUR DAD. >> I JUST THOUGHT MAYBE IT WAS A FAMILY THING THAT I NEEDED TO KEEP A SECRET. IT GOT SO BAD ONE TIME, I WENT TO A SCHOOL COUNSELOR, BUT THEY DIDN'T REALLY HELP, BECAUSE I DIDN'T REALLY TELL HER WHAT WAS GOING ON, BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IF I SAID THEY WERE GETTING PHYSICAL-- AND THEY'D TAKE ME AWAY. >> WHILE MY HUSBAND AND I WERE FIGHTING, I WASN'T THINKING ABOUT WHAT MY CHILDREN MIGHT BE HEARING. I COME TO REALIZE THAT THEY DO HEAR EVERY LITTLE THING THAT GOES ON AND THAT THEY ARE VERY HIGHLY AFFECTED BY IT. >> I KNOW SOPHIA WAS AFFECTED. I MEAN, AND I KNEW IT. IT MADE ME FEEL HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, KNOWING... KNOWING SHE WAS AWARE IN THAT AND SEE THAT. >> AND I THOUGHT, "DO THEY LOVE ME? OR DO THEY NOT LOVE ME THAT MUCH TO STOP, TO KNOW THAT I WAS HURTING?" AND AS PARENTS, THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT I WAS HURTING. >> AS A KID, YOU FEEL HOPELESS, BECAUSE THE TWO PEOPLE YOU LOVE ARE ARGUING AND FIGHTING, AND YOU'RE JUST CONFUSED. IT'S JUST CRAZY. >> I WAS DEFINITELY ROBBED OF MY CHILDHOOD, LIKE, COMING HOME TO THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY. >> THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I JUST WANTED TO BE NORMAL. I JUST WANTED TO HAVE THAT CHILDHOOD THAT EVERYBODY ELSE HAD WHERE I COULD GO OUT AND TOSS A BALL WITH MY MOM'S BOYFRIEND AND HAVE THAT CONNECTION, BUT THERE WAS NEVER THAT CONNECTION AT ALL. >> I WOULD ALWAYS WANT A DAD THAT CARES, NOT JUST, LIKE, TO LEAVE LIKE I DON'T-- LIKE I'M NOT EVEN ALIVE-- I'M NOT EVEN THERE. I WOULD ALWAYS WANT ANOTHER DAD. >> THINGS CHANGED FOR ME WHEN I STARTED TO TALK ABOUT IT TO A FRIEND. SHE WAS MY NEIGHBOR, SO WHENEVER THEY STARTED FIGHTING, I'D JUST GO TO HER HOUSE. AND I TALKED ABOUT MY SITUATION TO HER. >> SOPHIA'S FRIEND TALKED TO HER MOM. HER MOM COME TO ME AND SAID, "DON'T BE AFRAID TO TALK. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN HERE." THAT GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO GET OUT FROM THIS SITUATION. FINALLY, I MADE MY DECISION TO DIVORCE HIM, TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE AND BE PEACEFUL. >> THE WAY WE GOT OUT OF THIS-- THE SITUATION WAS WHEN MY MOM CALLED A RELATIVE FOR HELP. WE WENT TO THE HOSPITAL, AND THE POLICE CAME AND TOOK PHOTOS OF HER BRUISES AND HANDS OF CHOKINGS HERE. I ASKED THE POLICE, "ARE WE GONNA GO BACK TO OUR DAD?" AND THEN HE SAID, "NO." WE GOT OUR STUFF, AND WE WENT TO A SHELTER. >> THE VIOLENCE ENDED WHEN MY MOM DECIDED TO MOVE OUT OF THE HOUSE AND TAKE US TO A SHELTER. >> WE WENT TO THE SHELTER BECAUSE IT'S A PLACE THAT PROTECTS AND OFFERS SERVICES TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN. WE HAD NO PLACE ELSE TO GO, NO FAMILY. WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY MONEY BECAUSE I HAD LOST MY JOB. >> AFTER THE FIRST WEEK BEING AT THAT SHELTER, I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT IT DID END, THAT HE WASN'T THERE ANYMORE AND THERE WAS NO MORE HITTING. >> AT SOME POINT, MY MOM GOT SICK OF BEING HURT CONSTANTLY, AND SHE REALIZED THAT THAT ISN'T HOW A RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE. THAT'S WHEN SHE DECIDED TO LEAVE, AND ONE DAY, WE JUST LEFT AND JUST NEVER TURNED BACK. >> THE VIOLENCE STOPPED WHEN MY DAD WENT TO PRISON. HE WENT TO PRISON BECAUSE HE MURDERED MY MOTHER'S BEST FRIEND AND ALMOST MURDERED MY MOTHER. >> I WAS ANGRY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED. LIKE, I WAS WONDERING, "WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN ABOUT--LIKE, TO MY FAMILY?" >> I FELT LIKE I HAD FAILED WHEN MY DAD WENT TO JAIL. I FELT LIKE IF I WOULD'VE DONE MORE, MAYBE THEY WOULDN'T HAVE ARGUED AS MUCH. MAYBE IT WOULDN'T HAVE ESCALATED TO THAT. >> WE ALL FELT SAFER SINCE HE'S GONE, BUT, LIKE, LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE, IT STILL BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES. >> YOU CAN CHANGE FROM A HOUSE WITH VIOLENCE INTO A SHELTER WHERE IT'S SAFE, BUT YOU CAN'T CHANGE ALL THE FEELINGS THAT YOU STILL HAD FROM THAT WHILE THE VIOLENCE WAS DONE. BUT I COULDN'T GET THE THOUGHTS OUT OF MY HEAD. >> WHEN ME AND MY MOTHER AND MY BROTHER MOVED INTO OUR OWN APARTMENT, I BEGAN TO WORRY THAT HE WOULD FIND US THERE, AND THAT WAS A BIG WORRY OF MINE FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. I WOULD SEE SOMETHING THAT-- OR SOMEONE WHO SORT OF LOOKED LIKE HIM OR REMINDED ME OF HIM, AND THEN I REMEMBER ALL THE THINGS THAT HE DID. >> I STILL WANT TO KNOW ANSWERS, AND I STILL WANT TO KNOW WHY. A PART OF ME WANTS TO BLAME HIM, AND ANOTHER PART OF ME WANTS TO FORGIVE HIM, BUT IT'S SO HARD. [soft piano music playing] ♪ >> TODAY, MY FAMILY LIVES IN AN APARTMENT ASSOCIATED WITH A SHELTER. I KNOW I'M SAFE, BUT THE PAST IS STILL HAUNTING ME. >> AND THEY'RE EACH GOING TO REPRESENT A DIFFERENT FEELING. ONCE A CHILD LEAVES A VIOLENT SITUATION WITH THEIR FAMILY, THERE'S A PROCESS OF RECOVERY THAT THEY ALL GO THROUGH. I'M MONICA IDEMA. I'M A YOUTH ADVOCATE AND COUNSELOR. I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH ZOJA FOR TWO YEARS. >> I NEVER BEEN LOVED FROM HIM. >> YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN LOVED BY HIM. WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO WITH ZOJA AND KIDS LIKE ZOJA IS PROVIDE THEM WITH A SAFE ENVIRONMENT THAT THEY CAN COME-- THEY CAN EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS. YOU CALLED 911. NOW, YOU MUST HAVE BEEN REALLY SCARED. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A SCARY SITUATION THAT YOU FELT THAT YOU NEEDED TO CALL 911. YES? BUT YOU WERE BRAVE ENOUGH TO DO IT. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? >> WHEN I SAW MY MOM BEING HURT... >> MM-HMM. >> I FELT THAT I SHOULD DO THE RIGHT THING AND TO HELP MY MOM. >> OKAY. >> I SAID, "PLEASE HELP," AND I TOLD THE ADDRESS. THEN THE POLICE CAME AND KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. AND MY DAD SAID, "OH, NOTHING HAPPENED. IT WAS JUST MY-- IT WAS JUST MY DAUGHTER WHO-- WHO TRIED TO PLAY WITH MY PHONE." >> IN ZOJA'S CASE, IT DIDN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM RIGHT THEN. HOWEVER, IT DID STOP THE ABUSE FOR THAT EVENING. SHE MAY HAVE SAVED HER MOTHER'S LIFE. AND IT WASN'T LONG AFTER THAT THAT THE MOTHER DID DECIDE TO SEEK HELP AND TOOK HER FAMILY TO SHELTER. KNOWING HOW STRONG AND BRAVE YOU HAD TO BE IN THAT MOMENT, MAYBE THAT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN USE NOW TO HELP YOU HEAL. >> TALKING ABOUT IT KIND OF FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT I KNOW IT'S THE RIGHT DECISION TO HELP MOVE ON. >> [together] 19, 20, 21, 22... >> MY LIFE NOW, I JUST GO TO SCHOOL, COME BACK HOME AND WATCH TV, READ BOOKS, PLAY WITH MY SISTER. I AM HAPPY. >> NOW MY FAMILY IS LIVING ON OUR OWN, AND WE HAVE OUR OWN HOUSE. IT'S LIKE I'M STARTING MY CHILDHOOD NOW. >> WE'RE LIVING EXAMPLES THAT THERE IS HELP AND HOPE. >> WHEN WE LEFT, MY MOTHER REALIZED THAT SHE HAD TO BECOME MORE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT, AND EVENTUALLY, SHE WENT BACK TO SCHOOL TO GET A DEGREE. I WATCHED HER FROM HER LOWEST UNTIL HER HIGHEST, AND TO BE AT A PLACE WHERE SHE IS NOW FROM WHERE SHE WAS WHEN SHE WAS BEING ABUSED IS AMAZING. >> AND NOW ME AND MY MOM AND MY GRANDMA LIVE HERE, AND MY DAD, WE DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS. TODAY, I HAVE A GREAT COMMUNICATION WITH MY MOM, WHICH I LOVE. >> WE ARE VERY CONNECTED. I ALWAYS TOLD HER, "BESIDES YOUR MOM, I'M YOUR BEST FRIEND." >> NOW MY FAMILY LIFE IS LIKE A NORMAL FAMILY, I GUESS. I DO CHORES. I HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS. I PLAY VIDEO GAMES. LIKE, WE'RE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE SORT OF. YEAH. >> I THINK YOURS IS-- >> I THINK MINE'S FINE. >> I'VE HEARD THAT WHEN SOMEBODY GOES THROUGH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE HOME THAT THEY'RE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE VIOLENCE WHEN THEY'RE OLDER IN THEIR HOME, AND I DIDN'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN, SO I STARTED TO TRY TO GO THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. >> MINE SAYS, "PUT YOUR HAND IN THE AIR IF YOU HATE VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND." >> I'M PART OF A GROUP CALLED P.E.A.C.E., AND IT STANDS FOR PEER ENCOURAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION. AND WE GO AROUND AT DIFFERENT EVENTS AND TELL PEOPLE ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WHAT THEY CAN LOOK OUT FOR. ALL OF US, WE'VE GONE THROUGH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, AND... WHEN I GO OUT IN THE COMMUNITY AND I TELL PEOPLE ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, I'M TELLING THEM ABOUT MY STORY, AND I KNOW IT'S A GOOD THING. LIKE, GOING THROUGH IT, THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT YOU FEEL AND THAT-- YOUR EMOTIONS AND STUFF... THEY WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT, AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT REALLY KEEPS ME GOING. >> I BELIEVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS SOLVABLE WITH THE RIGHT EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE. IT'S A CYCLE. YOU HAVE TO BREAK IT. YOU HAVE TO WANT TO BREAK IT. >> OKAY. I EXPERIENCED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS A CHILD GROWING UP, ALMOST THE SAME PATTERN. I REMEMBER THINKING TO MYSELF, "I WILL NEVER BE IN THAT SITUATION," AND THEN IT'S LIKE, "WOW, I'M IN THIS SITUATION, AND I'VE GOT CHILDREN THAT ARE IN THIS SITUATION." >> ME AND MY FAMILY MADE A DECISION THAT WE'RE GONNA GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, BECAUSE THERE'S STILL KIDS IN AMERICA THAT ARE, LIKE, LIVING IN THE SHADOWS, LIKE, BEHIND DOORS. LIKE, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S BEHIND DOORS. >> MY MOM STARTED SPEAKING OUT, AND SHE COORDINATED A WALKATHON FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. AT THE WALKATHON, I MET A BUNCH OF WOMEN THAT HAD GONE THROUGH THE EXACT SAME THING THAT MY MOTHER WENT THROUGH, AND THEY ALSO HAD CHILDREN. AND AS WE GOT TO TALKING, WE REALIZED, SPEAKING OUT ABOUT YOUR SITUATION NOT ONLY HELPS OTHERS, BUT IT HELPS YOURSELF. >> NOW THAT I'VE TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE ABOUT IT, IT'S HELPED ME ACCEPT IT A LOT. WHEN I'M TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, I DON'T WANT THEM TO SEE ME AS A VICTIM, BECAUSE I SURVIVED FROM IT. I WANT THEM TO SEE THAT I'M A SURVIVOR. >> SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT IT, AND I JUST FELT LIKE, "HOW--HOW DID--WHY DID-- HOW DID I LIVE LIKE THIS? HOW DID MY MOM EVEN LIVE?" BUT I'VE LEARNED TO BE BRAVE AND TO BE STRONG AND TO NOT BE AFRAID OF ANYBODY. >> I WAS A WITNESS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, BUT AFTER THAT, I WITNESSED MY MOTHER GROW AND BECOME STRONGER. AND SO NOW I KNOW THAT IF I'M PUT IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION, THAT I CAN GROW AND BECOME STRONGER AS WELL. >> BECAUSE OF WHAT I WENT THROUGH, THERE'S NOTHING I CAN'T DO NOW. I'VE ALREADY FACED SO MUCH FEAR IN MY LIFE. I MEAN, EVERYTHING ELSE SEEMS SO SMALL IN COMPARISON. >> I KNOW I CAN NEVER HAVE THAT PERFECT FAMILY THAT I'VE WANTED, BUT I CAN TRY TO MAKE MY OWN HAPPY FAMILY. >> I CAN'T CHANGE MY PAST. I CAN'T CHANGE HOW MY PARENTS CHOSE TO LIVE, BUT I CAN CHANGE HOW I DECIDE TO LIVE AND HOW MY LIFE IS GOING TO BE. >> MANY OF THE KIDS WE MET IN THIS PROGRAM FEEL THE GREATEST CHANCE FOR BREAKING THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE LIES WITH OTHER KIDS JUST LIKE THEM. WE HOPE ANY KID CAUGHT IN THE TRAP OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT THESE KIDS ALREADY KNOW: THAT IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT, THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE, AND THAT IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE KIDS, THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF. NO MATTER HOW DARK THE MOMENT, THERE IS HOPE AND A WAY OUT. I'M LINDA ELLERBEE.