As I read Woman’s Hollering Creek, a short story written by author Sandra Cisneros, I recognized a common issue between the main character Cleofilas and her newly wed Juan Pedro. This issue, is domestic abuse, and is one of the more trending problems in our world today. It is defined as behaviors that harm, preventing a partner from doing what they wish, or forcing them to behave in ways they do not want. Just recently according to CNN, NFL Star Kareem Hunt was seen punching and hitting a woman in the elevator. There was no indication on why, but this would certainly have an impact on Kareem’s future. His team, the Kansas City Chiefs had waived him and NFL had suspended him for 8 games for the 19-20 season. It’s clear and obvious that with domestic abuse comes many consequences.
Furthermore, after having the idea of domestic violence, we will put our focus back to the short story “Woman’s Hollering Creek.” It begins with the marriage of the main character Cleofilas and her love Juan Pedro. As Cleofilas is getting married, her father tells her, “I am your father, I will never abandon you”,(Cisneros 43), which will make sense later in her life. Growing up, Cleofilas was not familiar with entertainment or anything exciting. This would make Cleofilas very curious and eager to learn about how to be a mother. The issue arises, when her husband Juan would constantly beat her and take advantage of her. Cleofilas didn’t act, because she thought there was nothing she could do. In order to gain some awareness, she decided to start watching television shows. In one television show, “Tu O Nadie, “You or No One,” explains about how a wife, Lucia Mendez, has to put up with always loving her husband. As stated, ”The beautiful Lucia Mendez has to put up with all kinds of hardships of the heart, separation and betrayal, and loving, always loving no matter what, because that is the most important thing.”(Cisneros 44). This would strike Cleofilas because Juan shows no interest, yet she still has to put up with his beatings but still loves him. This made Cleofilas realize that these shows were very accurate, and that her life should be identical to these television shows. So, Cleofilas would watch these shows every night, hoping to gain a better perspective. On to a point where these episodes, would start changing her life. Now when Juan would come home drunk and beat her, she would understand that she needed to act.
Cleofilas began to think, how do I continue to live with this man? This man, as stated, “he hates this shitty house and is going out where he won’t be bothered with the baby’s howling.” (Cisneros 49). It was now time for her to act, similar to the television episodes that she had watched, where, she the woman, was in charge of her own life and decisions. So, Cleofilas decided to take her Juan Pedrito and move away from Juan. She was tired of constantly being used and beaten for Juan’s advantage. As Cleofilas is leaving she remembers her father’s line, “I am your father, I will never abandon you.” It makes sense to her now as a father may not abandon his kid, but a kid and mother certainly can.
Thus brings us to the argument whether or not Cleofilas should have left Juan. I think that leaving Juan, was the right thing to do for Cleofilas. It’s very difficult for a mother to raise a kid without any assistance. Juan repeatedly showed that he is self-centered and does not care about Cleofilas or her personal likes. As stated, “In public, he laughs loudly, curses like a man, and demands each course of dinner to be served on a separate plate like at his mother’s as soon as he gets home, on time or late, and who doesn’t care at all about Cleofilas love for music, telenovelas, or romance.” (Cisneros 48). Also, Cleofilas has to put up with constant beatings from Juan, for no particular reason. As stated, “He had thrown a book. Hers. From across the room. A hot welt across the cheek.” (Cisneros 52). Why would someone even want to raise a kid around a person like Juan? For Cleofilas, she stuck with him for a long time because she did not understand what to do. Once she watched television shows she gained knowledge and realized what kind of person he truly was and decided it was best for her to take the Juan Pedrito and go somewhere better.
Another important factor of this domestic abuse situation is the fact that Cleofilas child, Juan Pedrito was also a witness. According to an article from “Women’s Health,” children who experience domestic violence, are also victims of abuse. They can have long-term physical and mental health problems. Also, these children are at a greater risk of showing violence in their future relationships. At a young age, Juan Pedrito was experiencing his father cursing and using violence against Cleofilas. This explains why there are many kids who are struggling in our world. As a parent, it’s our duty to be a role model for our kids. We need to set the path and not let our anger get in the way of their future.
Domestic abuse is something that will never be tolerated in our society. For Cleofilas, she made the correct decision to move away from Juan Pedro. Juan clearly showed that he enjoys taking advantage of Cleofilas, and does not care about her life. In our society today, domestic violence is something that affects many relationships. Many marriages also end up in divorces, which can have a negative effect. This effect can be that these kids will have to grow up not seeing their father or mother. Our society needs to realize that love is something very powerful, and comes with many responsibilities. There are many ways to confront your partner, without using physical action.
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek. Bloomsbury, 2004.
CNN. “NFL suspends Kareem Hunt” https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2019/03/16/nfl-suspends-kareem-hunt-wire-ndwknd-bts-vpx.cnn
Office On Women’s Health. “Effects of domestic violence on children.”