Having a father present is necessary in a child’s life. 43% of U.S children live without a father present in their lives. 85% of all youths in prisons come from fatherless homes. This statistic is 20 times the average. Children that grow up without a father in their lives are more likely to go to prison and 2x more likely to commit a crime.

Not having a father present in your life really impacts you. When I think of these statistics I think of my older brother. A product of rape. His father wanted no part of his life. My mother later remarried to a man who did illegal work. My brother grew up believing this man was his biological father. Later this man went to prison for several years, taking the only thing he’d known to be his father away.

Years later my mother remarried a second time to my father who is a police officer. When my brother turned 15 my mother told him that the man that he thought was his father was not. My brother’s biological father had raped our mother and he was the product. Being told that you’ve never known your father is life changing. Your identity is skewed, he no longer felt that he knew where he came from. Later my brother began to be physically abused by my father in our home. My mother never did anything to stop the physical abuse.

Besides being physically abused, my brother also abused drugs. His abuse led to an addiction, with a variety of drugs and alcohol. To support his addiction he began to take part in criminal activity. He began to steal anything he could that was worth money, and then sell it to get money to continue his addiction. Our mother had jewelry that she kept in her drawers, he had run out of money and was desperate to feel on top again so he stole the only expensive pieces of jewelry our mother had. She felt betrayed by what he had done.

His final act of crime landed him in Lake County jail, where he spent 4 years without sentence. He was then placed in Cook County jail, where he served a year. After 5 years in jail he was then sentenced. Due to poor representation he was given 5 years without time served in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. My brother will be 31 years old when he gets out of prison. He has spent most of his adult life behind bars.

I have many concerns. For my brother one being how he will live his life after prison. He is now labeled a felon, he can longer obtain a job due to his criminal profile. Concerns I have for my brother as well as me and my mother is how we will come to peace with this situation. I witnessed my father physically abuse my brother. I’m concerned with how I will move on and see my father as a good person again.