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  1. I am proud to say I'm a survivor. Years before I use to get beat by a former boyfriend who I have three children by because he was on drugs. God took him out my life. He murdered a man when he was high on drugs even though I'm sorry that this man lost his life I'm grateful it wasn't me. Now he is serving life in prison. He has been out my life for eight years. I met my other kids father in which I thought he was a blessing in the making he was never violent in the beginning always sweet said nice things to pick me up when I was feeling bad until out of nowhere a few years down the line. In 2007, I met my kid’s father, someone I thought to be my knight and shining Armor. He was sweet kind and caring. He spent time with my four kids. My Oldest son’s father was absent and my other three kid’s father is serving life in prison. He was abusive also. So, all along I was just searching for Someone to love me and my kids. I don't have any family in Georgia so it Got very lonely. In the beginning everything was perfect. He was loving And affectionate with me took time out for my kids something, their father Never did. Basically, he was the only father my kids ever had. He once told me in the beginning that he was a very jealous person and looking back I should have taken that as a red flag. But I know now I was just looking for love in all the wrong places. I was wanting love and Attention where I didn't care about him cheating the drug use and Alcohol. I turned to drugs for his attention. It was a habit or anything but drug use is drug use right. I done it so he could stay home and do it instead of going out with other people. I am drug and alcohol free now. After a while he use to start accusing me of cheating calling me out my name calling me fat ugly telling at me all I was good for was laying on my back and having kids. All the good people I had in My life he turned them against me. I had been isolated Anything I had on my own that would benefit me was destroyed. Cars, Clothes. He brought things for us then took them back. I lost jobs he Would take keys at last minute, while I was getting ready for work it got to where I had spare car keys made. He would unhook something under the hood of the car. Then sugar in my tank there goes my motor. I have four children with him he got done test because he used to say I sleep around. It’s really been a lot and thinking About all of this is really making me feel some type of way. I'm starting to have flash backs. However. I really want to share my Story in detail I can't. I have a newborn and I think I have Postpartum depression I'm really feeling bad. With this being said I Would love to finish I can't. I really. Appreciates you all taking the Time out to want to help me. I don't want to recall any of those Memories. Once out of nowhere he came into the house and snatched me off the bed and beat me my two-month-old fell at first, I didn't see her because I was in fetal position and I looked up and saw her all I could do is yell “the baby the baby don't step on the baby”. That led me to have two black eyes. I have been urinated on cigarettes put out on me things from me. I packed up my kids last year and left Georgia and went to North Carolina. I had land lord go to the house after I left and said she was changing locks so he left and I waited months in North Carolina then I came back no contact no nothing so this is how I survived. My kids are angry all the time becoming violent themselves. I was given something I can't get rid of and that's what also made me stay with him. at one point I wanted to take my life but I chose to live for my kids. I left and now I'm back I just gained employment through a staffing agency but it’s a start. I feel a lot better about life now it’s just me and my kids standing by not settling for less I was with him in 2007 where my youngest child was about six months. So, at first everything was or seem perfect. He took the responsibilities of my other four kids being a father figure being that one father was absent and the other three father was in prison for murder serving a life sentence. He provided for my kids and me. He stepped up when no one else did. In the beginning he told me he was a very jealous person. Me being naive I didn't take that as a red flag. I see the jealousy here and there but didn't pay attention. So, I had a friend he didn't like because she did whatever she wanted and saw different men me and her use to work together. So, one day she was at my house and we were talking not knowing he was standing outside my window. Trying to listen he was drunk he jumped my gate and that's when he attacked me my kids were right there watching when it happened. They were crying wanting to fight him but she pulled them out of the room. It was crazy and I still stayed with him. For a long time if we argued I was afraid to sleep because I use to wake up to him standing over me. He has never hurt the kids physically. But I know what they saw changed them. The cars that I have brought he tore up. Then he brought me one so he could take the keys so I could not go anywhere. I then had a job. He would take the keys so I couldn't go to work. I eventually lost the job. I wanted to go to school he was like no, go online work from home. I was being controlled. You can't do this you can't do that. I was mentally destroyed. I was called every name in the book
  2. I am a survivor of domestic violence. Back in 1996-1997 I was dating this guy, JS. we had an awesome relationship at first. He seemed to love me very much, but I started to notice that he was a little bit on the jealous side, this was a big problem, considering I am a BIG personality and never met a stranger, things continued on a great course with our relationship, so much so that we decided to get married. JS proposed and not soon after, I found myself pregnant. During the pregnancy, I started to notice irrational behavior on his part and quickly found out that he was a drug addict. He was addicted to cocaine. Being that I was in love with him, I decided to stick it out and try to help him through it. We started going to group meetings and he did therapy on his own as well, but every time he got paid, he would become a madman. I decided I couldn't take it anymore and broke things off. We got into a huge argument which ended in me throwing my engagement rings out of my front door and on to my front lawn. He didn't like that at all (who would?) and he forced his way into the house and proceeded to choke me. While choking me, I felt movement and flutters in my stomach from the baby, but I was way too early in my pregnancy to have those feelings and as I started to pass out from lack of oxygen, all I heard him say was "I'm going to kill all of us today, me, you, your daughter and niece and this baby inside." I don't know where I found the strength, but just before I passed out my neck slipped out of his hand and I hit him in the head with something off the floor. He ran and I called the police. Needless to say, I pressed charges and he served time in jail in Fulton County. _ #storyofsurvivor
  3. I am the adoptive mother of my 4 great nieces and nephews. 2 girls, 2 boys. The children were rescued from horrible living conditions. They were hungry, dirty, neglected to the extreme while my niece battled her demons of alcohol, drugs and self worth. She constantly shared her bed with what ever male would provide her what she desired until she ran out and then she was explosive and raging, verbally abusive, and physically abusive to these babies until DFCS removed them almost 3 years ago and I took them in to keep them together. The drugs took her life 1 1/2 years ago. Unfortunately my niece did drugs while pregnant with all of these beautiful children and could be why they are all are special needs and are on the Autism spectrum. They struggle with speech and have other developmental delays. I am on a fixed income but I use my income for resources such as music therapy, swim lesson(they are not afraid of water and many autistic children drown because of this) and other social events. After all the household bills are paid it leaves little wiggle room for much. I buy them clothes and toys used from good will, yard sales and salvation army. It would be nice for them to wake up Christmas with a few new items. My girls ages 3 and 4 loves anything to do with "Frozen" the 3 year old wears size 4 cloths and 10 shoes, my 4 year old is wearing size 5 and wearing 11 shoes. My 4 year old also like Doc Macstuffin things. My 3 year old likes to explore so any age appropriate toy would be great. My boys are 6 and 21 months. 6 year old wears 8 husky pants and 8-10 shirts and size 1 boys youth shoes my 21 month old wears size 2T-3T shirts 2T pants, size 4 diapers and size 7 shoes My 5 year old has only been talking for 6 months and all he says daily is he wants a Polar Express RC train. He is obsessed with trains and can tell you about each kind. Car and trucks are also a big thing for him. He likes transformers too. My 21 month old is great with most any toy that makes noise and lights up.
  4. Good afternoon. My name is LT. I’m 42, from Panama City Ft. I’m the parent of two daughters: age 14, and age 15. I’m most importantly a survivor of domestic violence trying to break the vicious cycle that has run in my family for years, both for my sake and for my babies to want and expect more for themselves. I came across your number as a resource for possible assistance with Christmas help, I’m a former RN who is on disability due to a diagnosis of epilepsy in 2013. When I spoke with, your volunteer, she asked me how did I qualify for possible assistance, and in the midst of our conversation I mentioned that I was somewhat embarrassed to state that I was a victim of domestic abuse and she quickly corrected me and reminded me that I was a survivor, both myself and my girls. She also told me to write you all and tell y’all a little about me and my situation. And after I ended my conversation, I just cried like a baby. Some memories came back to the surface, and some of those memories hurt badly. But when it’s all said and done, Gail is right. I am a survivor, and I will stand tall. Above all, I’m still my babies hero as well and they are who I live for. So how did I come to where I am at in this world­ Clayton County GA, and where do I go from here? The only answer that I know is that it will be in God’s hands. Actually, I’ve seen violence from childhood. My parents had an unhappy marriage; my father was an alcoholic and was often violent as well as unfaithful. I still remember flashes of memories: hiding mama under toys, seeing him slap her down the stairs, going to the mistresses houses to bring my dad home ( and beat up whoever the woman was at the time), tears, busted lips, black eyes, beer cans and bibles no matter what mama had us in church. By the time I turned about 7 or 8 though the violence, at least the physical , stopped. But my mom was very unhappy and although most parents assume that they can fake it ‘til you make it, you can’t, and they didn't until my father passed when I was 14 of cancer. Growing up, I promised myself that I would never get into all of that dram hell, I’d just be alone! And I guess in the game of love I both played and got played. Unfortunately, I did what many of us do in life chose a man like dear old dad, save the unfaithful part. I didn't want my child to see how unhappy I was with her dad, and I didn't want to watch him take his last breath like I did my father, so I left him when, my oldest, was 3. I attended nursing school, and worked my way up from a nurse’s aide to become an RN. In 2008, however, I began having seizures out of the blue, and without warning. I had to leave the medical field for years while I tried to get my life back on track. I was angry and depressed, as well as broke shoot, I worked my way out of the projects, only to have to return! my mind state was not at its best, to stay the least. As I approached my 40th year in 2013, two health crises really made me vulnerable to what I now know as "game “the smooth talk of a man who sounds good but is in reality the devil in disguise. First, I had what a total of 5­6 seizures back-to-back in a single day. This is what is called "status epilepticus," and is a health crisis in fact that day my heart stopped twice. I woke up 4 days later in the ICU. But God was so gracious in giving me strength to make it through, and I was released by day 7 from the hospital entirely. A few months later, right after my 40th birthday, I had a hysterectomy, and suffered some complications from the procedure ended up being hospitalized and had to have abdominal surgery to remove blood clots. I felt lonely and less attractive as a woman, and when a younger guy whom I had known for years began expressing his desire to want to be more than friends I was flattered. No, I wasn't in love with him, I just wanted to have fun, feel like I was 25 again. And although I had not allowed a man to live withme since my daughter’s father and I separated 8 years prior, I thought all was going to be ok. Bad move: my guy friend was used to the streets, and used to treating women like crap, and he started showing his true colors: at first, we would have arguments and he would just say cruel abusive things, but I guess that wasn't enough. I asked him to leave, and he refused. We continued in this deadlock for a few weeks, and he began to choke me as well as slap me. Now, I’m a big girl, and I wasn't just backing down, but this guy was 6'3, at least 250. The final straw was when my then 13-year-old daughter told me that she would wake up to him trying to put his hand between her legs while he was supposed to be waking her up for school. That was the last straw: I pressed charges. The fallout was bad, and the sheriff’s office told me about their relocation program. I came here because my uncle lives here, and also for the opportunity to possibly return to school. We moved here august 2014, and here we are. It hasn't been all bad: my uncle has been very supportive, and my girls love him like a father figure. However, the scars lie just below the surface. The three of us are in counseling weekly, and we try to remain loving and close. But both girls suffer from self-destructive behaviors that I pray will resolve and become their strength. My 15-year-old, is a 9th grader at north Clayton High. She enjoys reading as well as writing. She is an ESE student due to hearing problems in the past. Recently I discovered that she has lost her virginity in response to a breakup with her very first boyfriend. We have also found out that she has been self-cutting, and her school is aware as well. Her grades are the lowest that I have ever known them to be, and that not only breaks my heart, it twists the dagger of guilt for our circumstances in viciously. I feel that her pain is my fault, and that affects my health: I had three seizures last month after an 18-month hiatus due to my heightened emotions. My 14, year old, is actually my second cousin: I am now her legal guardian. She is also a victim of seeing domestic violence in her home as well as drug and sexual abuse. I started raising her almost two years ago after she was kicked out of public school for bringing weapons. her mother is my first cousin; she was convicted of drug possession with intent to distribute. Her attitude was so angry towards her immediate family that they were trying to place her in a foster care home two hours away when I stepped in and said that I would raise her. She is in the 8th grade at north Clayton middle school and has become one of their model students. I think all that she wanted was a little love, time, and attention and the chance to act 13 and not 33, with a household to look after, and she has been fine. In fact, both of my babies are well mannered girlish blessed. So that's me in a nutshell. I hope that y’all know me a little better now. I feel better writing this­ not too many people know about my business in GA..Thanks Gail- (WADT volunteer) for reminding me that I have, and will keep on surviving though. My babies need me, and I need to help someone not go through what I did. Often those of us with book sense believe that domestic issues wont happen to us, but this issue is universal. Any assistance for the holiday would be so helpful­ a fixed income only goes so far! Thank you for listening..
  5. Every October we remember all the lives who have suffered dv issues in our community but most importantly our Alums who have passed on: 1.The creator of True Sound, we shall forever remember your gentle soul 2. James Mayo- you were one of us, a gentle and kind soul, always willing to help a fellow human being. An awesome web designer, tv content producer, we miss you terribly 3. Regina Nobawefe - The life of the party, you are missed 4. Edna Stewart, the lady with the killer smile, a loving sister, a dear daughter with a child like innocence. We miss you terribly but remember you fondly
  6. “He kept me prisoner in a room with a bathroom for over a month. Every day he would tell me all day long that if I had him arrested again that he would kill me or have his family kill me or some of his friends he met in prison kill me” He kept pacing and walking to the closet that had his gun and knives. I was so scared at this point that I got out of bed and tried to run upstairs. I was begging for my life, promising to be good, and saying any and everything I could think of to not die that night, He told me that night that if I called the cops that he would have a shoot-out with them and then kill me and then kill himself. “ “I am a domestic violence survivor.” My name is C, M and I have 4 children by my husband. We have 2 sons named: W, age 13 and R age 11 and 2 daughters ages 26 and 20. I am a domestic violence survivor. This is my story. I hadn’t lived with him since 2006 and he asked if I would give him another chance and in 2013, I let him move in. My husband and I went over to a friend’s house on July 4, 2014. We watched fireworks, ate good food, and had a few drinks. My friend and her boyfriend got into a nasty argument and we left. My husband kept saying how I could never talk to him that way and that the only reason I haven’t been beaten up yet is because he won’t give his sisters the go ahead to jump me like they want to do. The more I said I haven’t done anything wrong, the madder he got. He kept talking about how he wouldn’t be disrespected like that by me and how he would handle me if I talked to him like that over and over again. He kept me in the car yelling like that for almost an hour. I was so scared finally I just had to get out and he got even madder because he said I turned my back on him. I went in the house and downstairs to my bedroom. I went into the bathroom to get ready for bed and he followed me in there. He trapped me at the sink by putting his hand on the wall behind me and behind me on the sink where I was standing. He continued to yell at me and talk about what he wasn’t going to allow from me. At this point, I just didn’t say anything because he just kept getting angrier and angrier. I have a back injury and I am on disability. I had to beg him to let me go to bed because I was hurting so bad from being forced to stand for so long. He was all in my face, but he finally let me go to bed. It didn’t stop there. He continued to talk and curse. He kept pacing and walking to the closet that had his gun and knives. I was so scared at this point that I got out of bed and tried to run upstairs. He grabbed me by my hair and pulled me back down and on the floor. I started to scream because he was hurting me and our kids were upstairs and I wanted them to get help. He told me that if I didn’t shut up that he would hurt them if they came down and saw what he was doing to me. He picked me up off the floor and threw me up against the wall and broke my glasses and pounded my head against the wall. Then he threw me back on the floor and put his knee in my chest with all of his almost 300 pounds. He put his arm to my throat and was choking me. When I would almost pass out, he would raise his forearm off of my neck. I was begging for my life, promising to be good, and saying any and everything I could think of to not die that night. He then put both of his hands around my neck choking me until I almost passed out over and over. He told me that night that if I called the cops that he would have a shoot-out with them and then kill me and then kill himself. When I caught my breath again, I went back to begging. He worked me over so bad that night I couldn’t eat or drink for weeks. It took me 2 whole days to eat a cup of yogurt and all I could do was sip water. I couldn’t talk for weeks and my chest hurt so bad from where he had his knee that I couldn’t stand to wear clothes that came anywhere near my chest. I couldn’t even hug my kids. He kept me prisoner in a room with a bathroom for over a month. Every day he would tell me all day long that if I had him arrested again that he would kill me or have his family kill me or some of his friends he met in prison kill me. He would make me sleep in bed with him at night because he said the voices in his head were telling him that I was plotting on him. I was scared every day and every night. He wouldn’t let me near a phone because he didn’t want me getting help and he said he didn’t want me recording the threats. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. He wouldn’t let me leave the house and I was scared he would hurt my mother like he threatened if I called the police. He told me that if I took his kids again that he would kill me. He has told me over and over again during our marriage about the people that he has killed and gotten away with it and his family has told that he has too. So I believed him when he said that he is a killer and would kill me and my family. I asked him to leave and he said he would not leave without taking my boys with him. When I got my cellphone back, I called the domestic violence hotline. They didn’t have any beds anywhere for me and my children. My church couldn’t even help find us shelter. Finally on August 8, 2014, a shelter had a bed. I snuck our things out in the middle of the night and I picked my kids up that day from school. I was working so hard to get somewhere safe for me that I forgot that August 8th is my son’s birthday. Now he hates his birthday. It was the first day we had to live in a shelter. Now we live in a house and they have lots of friends again. We don’t have a lot of things, but we are alive and healthy. I am a domestic violence survivor.
  7. To whom it may concern, My name is B and I want to thank you for a platform for survivors. My story is, My Husband molested my 5 year old Son. My son told me on 6/9/15 and I immediately took him to the children's hospital, and filed a report. I left my Husband on that day, and boy has it been rough. Cps was called of course, my son was interviewed by the Special Victim Detective. My husband ran and locked me out of our home took my name off of the lease and we had to stay in hotels and I stayed in a friend house for 3 nights until he was finally arrested. He was arrested on 6/15/15, at the time of the arrest I was granted a TPO and was able to get back in our apt. He was later release on bail on 6/23/15, when he was released. He started the harassment and stalking. I have Moved 3 times since 6/24/15 and have change my telephone number 5 times. My son is in therapy and so am I. I am homeschooling him, which he loves and he just made the Basketball team :). He is finally smiling again, he hasn't wet the bed or had any nightmares, his road of recovery is going really well. My son is the real Survivor.
  8. My name is CA… today I am 35 years old… and I am most definitely a survivor! Abuse first entered my life when I was 9 years old courtesy of my stepfather in the home I shared with my mother in Los Angeles, CA. Up until that point my childhood had been a joy and my mothers the best mommy any girl could ask for. She was absolutely the most beautiful woman ever to me; with the brightest smile. . My mother taught me how to love unconditionally and with her I always felt safe. However, once she allowed my stepfather into our lives; she changed into a person I did not recognize. She became weak and controlled by this man; characteristics I had never seen her display. After only a few months of living in our home, he began to isolate us from our family and friends; and started to control every aspect of our lives down to every cent of my mother’s finances. My stepfather began to physically abuse my mother; and the love I had for her would not allow me to stand by and watch the woman I loved more than anything be mistreated. My mother had always taught me to fear nothing; as God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. Therefore, I began to take up for my mother when my stepfather would beat her; causing him to turn his hands to me and begin physically abusing me as well. As if beating us awfully weren’t enough; he was also verbally and emotionally abusive to no avail. It was pure torture as we weren’t just punched or slapped around; he beat the crap out of us, often until we were bleeding profusely or even vomiting. My stepfather would use billet clubs, sticks, and extension cords to beat us for hours at a time. Often there were times when my mother would need medical attention but she could not call an ambulance or go to an ER; she had to go lay in her bed and deal with it. It was like living in hell with a real life monster. My childhood abruptly ended and I was forced to be an adult fending for myself. He no longer allowed my mother to care for me. So, simple things like combing my hair, cooking my meals, providing me with clothes and shoes for school were no longer available for me. I had to cook and clean for them both, was tortured with mice, placed in the dumpster in my alley, and not allowed to watch television – go outside to play – or engage in any other social activities with other children. Then as if taking the joy of my having a strong loving mother and a healthy childhood weren’t enough; my stepfather began molesting me while my mother was at work. He stole my innocence and literally tried to break me because he knew that although my mother feared him; I didn’t fear him at all. Just about every night I thought about ways to kill him to save my mother and me from his terror. But I never acted on it simply because I did not want my mother to be mad with me. I even got the courage to tell my mother he had been molesting me; and when I did she took me right in the room to him and told him what I had said. He laughed and told her, “If she says I did it, then I did it”. She did absolutely nothing! That was the moment I began to resent her and anger started to grow within me towards her. I was a model student in school, extremely smart, and placed into a gifted program, top of my glass; but I was going to school daily keeping this heavy secret about my home life. It was like having to be an actress and it became unbearable. So after being physically, sexually, & verbally abused from the ages of 9-12 years old, I finally built up the courage to confide in a friend and run away from home to her house after school. But, her mother brought me back to my school and told them what was going on. My principal informed me that ever since my stepfather had isolated me they had been keep a close eye on me because my aunt and father in New Orleans had mailed her a letter saying they suspected abuse, but that they had been shut out of my life. My principal said she never had any proof and called the police in that evening. The police booked me as a runaway and took me to the hospital to be examined. I was then placed in a foster home while I awaited court proceedings for my custody to gain custody of me. After a few months in foster care, my father was given custody and I moved back to our hometown of New Orleans. However, my father was sickly, being on kidney dialysis and couldn’t really care for me; so I lived with my aunt. She tried her best to fill the void I had of being without my mom; but no one can replace your mother. I didn’t understand how my mother could choose a man over me. So, I used to refuse to talk to her and would tell people she was dead when they asked where she was or why I lived with my aunt. On New Years of 1993, just 2 months before I turned 13 years old, I finally had a conversation with my mother. She apologized, asked for my forgiveness, expressed how much she loved me, and told me she needed me; begging me to come home. I told her that I would never come back to her home because she could not protect me from her monster. She then told me, that she was coming to me then; that she would leave him. We arranged for her to sneak from work and pick up my twin baby brothers whom my stepfather had fathered from their daycare and catch a flight to New Orleans with plane tickets that my grandmother would buy for her. BUT 2 days later, January 3, 1993, my aunt returned home from work to inform me that my stepfather had learned of her plans to leave him; and he murdered my mother. He stole the most precious thing I’d ever known from me! I died inside that day. This man had beaten my mother so badly that her ribs, hand, and nose were broken; and she laid in her bed broken like that, then he stood over her and shot her in her face. He called his mom and sister as my mother laid there dying…. cleaned the scene… and his gun…. all while my toddler brothers looked on. He was arrested then released because he told the police that my baby brother accidently killed my mother playing with his gun while he had it out for cleaning. AND LAPD went for that, not because it made sense, but because they were a black couple in South Central Los Angeles; and my mother’s life just didn’t mean much to them. I refused to let my stepfather get off scott free and told my family I had to do something. So, my aunt contacted to DA on my behalf and told them they needed to talk to me because most definitely this man had murdered my mother in cold blooded rage. I flew back to L.A. and after speaking to me, the DA picked him back up and began a thorough investigation. Forensics ended up proving that there was blood under the cleaning kit; meaning my stepmother tried to clean up his mess. Ballistics showed that my mother was shot from someone standing over her; something a toddler could not do. I ended up testifying against him at trial and the monster looked me in my eyes and laughed as I looked at pictures of my mother lying in her own blood, dead. He was convicted and sentenced to California Life. When he became eligible for parole I gave my testimony as to why he shouldn’t be released but the coward wouldn’t even appear at his hearings and face me. He stole my innocence, my childhood, & my mother from me; but he never broke me or stole my inner strength. I have however lived with a pain and a void that has never healed and never been filled. But as time has passed, I’ve learned to live with it better. My father passed when I was 15 years old; and because I had still never processed my abusive childhood nor my mother’s murder, I began to act out. I left my family and started living on my own. I looked for love in all the wrong places, especially the streets of New Orleans. I cursed and blamed God. I was angry and hurt! BUT God never left my side and I didn’t even know it! At 15 years old I had my first child for a man 6 years older than me. Not realizing all of the things I was doing to myself was because of the abuse I had endured and that I was actually abusing myself. My daughter was born premature and ended up being disabled. I always provided good care of her and myself. Always had my own. Prided myself on being “strong”. But in actuality I was weak inside crying out for help. I went from one unhealthy relationship to the next but would never let anyone abuse me. I had my 2nd child when I was 20 years old. Then when I was 22 years old I left a man who I loved and who I thought loved me; who also was very wealthy and resourceful, which made him think I would never leave him.. He had never so much as raised his voice to me or disrespected me. BUT he could not handle me leaving him and had me & my 2 year old son kidnapped. My ex-lover tortured me for 7 hours, setting me on fire and pouring boiling water on me; telling me I had hurt him, so now he was going to hurt me. That was the first time since I was in my mother’s home did I feel I was in danger and that I wasn’t in control. At that moment I called out to God. I repented and prayed. I promised to God that if he got me and my son out of that house I would turn away from the streets and live my life right. My son and I were in my ex lover’s house for 3 days before I was able to escape. I was naked and burned horribly but I grabbed my son and ran to his neighbor’s house and called for help. We ended up in protective custody hiding in a domestic violence shelter never able to return to our home or retrieve any of our belongings. I had to start my life all over again from nothing. It was like being in a Lifetime Movie. A truly humbling experience. We relocated from New Orleans to Seattle for our safety and I began to rebuild our lives. In February 2005 I returned to New Orleans to care for my aunt who took me in when my mother was murdered and my father was too ill to care for me. She was dying of bone cancer and leukemia. In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina came and devastated my life again, causing me to relocate to Atlanta GA and have to start all over from nothing AGAIN. In 2012 I had my 3rd child and had pretty much established my family here in Atlanta. Everything seemed to be on track for me. I was taking my trials and turning them into testimonies and focusing on creating a legacy that could be proud of and that would set them up for success. Then in November of 2014, I met a man from my hometown of New Orleans who is much younger than me but who I feel deeply in love for. Things moved very fast between us and I ended up pregnant by March 2015. Not long after he started displaying characteristics that I saw in my abusive childhood with my stepfather. Instead of running for the hills, I tried to fix him. My finances declined, and I found myself in the same cycle my mother was once in… being isolated and controlled… blamed for his disrespectful behavior… and it even turned into physical violence. He never abused my children but for the first time in their lives they witnessed me being mistreated. I kept telling myself, “I know better… Why am I allowing this...? If I don’t get out I will end up like my mother.” I had to call the police on him 3 times to remove him from my home. A little time would pass, he would apologize saying he was going to change, and I would let him back in. Until I woke up and had enough! I snapped out of it and realized that I was not about to let him steal me from my kids like my stepfather stole my mother from me. I had to remind myself that love doesn’t hurt and that if he was hurting me he didn’t care about me or our unborn child. I got a restraining order against him and by the grace of God I am standing strong; and trying to rebuild my life. Now that I am a woman; I realize that even the strongest women can become victims of abuse. That my mother didn’t turn her back on me. She has gotten herself into a situation where she was brainwashed and manipulated. I’ve forgiven her and I’ve forgiven myself. I used to blame myself for leaving her with my stepfather; thinking had I not ran away, I would’ve saved her life. When in reality my stepfather probably would have murdered me too. Now that I have an intimate relationship with God; I realize that He allows everything to happen for a reason and that although I may not always understand why, and some of it hurts intensely, He is working it all out for my good. I believe God allowed me to go through all I went through so that my life could be a living testimony to help masses of people. I believe that it was to make me into the woman that He intends for me to be; so that when my purpose is fulfilled I will be able to relate to, reach, and heal those who need me. A few years ago I formed a non-profit agency in honor of my mother and named it after her, The Cheryl Ann Corporation. Its mission is to shape the lives of troubled, abused, and homeless teenage girls from the ages of 9 to 18 years old. To help them find refuge and resources to set them up for success in life and help them heal through their pain. I feel that I can help them because I’ve already been through just about anything they could have experienced; so they will feel the genuine desire to help them and open up to me. I know God made me a strong woman so that I can change the course of the lives of multitudes of young females. I had the vision but I let my annual registrations fall behind and owe filing fees and need to pay my 501(c)3 filing fee as well in order to get the ball rolling with my nonprofit. So in this upcoming year, it is my biggest aspiration to get my nonprofit where it needs to be as far as in good standing with the Secretary of State AND thriving as a functioning organization serving the metro Atlanta area. I see a building that provides housing, community outreach, counseling, and legal services all in a “one stop shop” environment where these young women know they are safe. I want to be able to provide scholarships and business startup investments to these young women. I want them to not have any barriers to pursuing their dreams. I believe that God will definitely make a way if I stay focused and remain faithful. At this time I am struggling financially; but now that I have gotten the negative energy of my abuser who was holding me back removed from my life, I am doing what it takes to get back on solid ground. I ask that your organization strongly consider choosing my family as a recipient for your Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets and Holiday Angel Gathering Of hope programs. Every little bit helps and would be greatly appreciated.
  9. December 2005, I broke up with the older man as he was verbally abusive to me in front of my then 5 year old. I removed my things from his home in Decatur, GA, when the words "If I cannot have you, then no one will." I fought, screamed, cried.... I was not strong enough. He took what he wanted and left me to pick up the pieces while my 5 year old was in the living room. Devastated, confused, hurt, violated, was just a few of the emotions I felt after being raped. I felt alone with my emotions. I kept reminding myself "I have to be strong for Jonathan." The night sweats, inability to sleep, fear, and anger plagued me every day. The jolt of reality arose when I found out I was pregnant. The horror of the news hit me as I fell to the floor in the stall of the bathroom looking at the test result. I muffled my scream as I hit the floor over and over...looking above asking "God WHY..... WHY ME..... This life growing within me, transplanted due to the violent act of a man who claimed he cared. Random thoughts flowed through my mind, body and soul. "How can I be a parent to a child whose father took my life, my womanhood, my soul, my strength, my trust, the touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight of what love is truly has to bring. I felt broken. The thought of an abortion did come to mind. I reached out for help, but that help left me alone to fend for myself; to deal with the evil thoughts and emotions ALONE. Jay is now 10 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. He is my second love of my life. I was diagnosed with PTSD. I began my journey to healing by attending a group and individual counseling at my local rape crisis center. I had to learn it was ok to be loved, hugged, and touched, by my own children. I had to learn how to love my children and me. When I look at him I smile inside. I can finally wrap my arms around my young man without feeling bitter or ashamed. As Jay sits here watching me complete my homework, I can hear him say over and over... "I can't wait until mom is a nurse." This is my beginning for us. Going to school part-time and working full-time to help pay for a better life for my family, will be one of my ultimate long term goal. I have the strength and the courage to move on....and I shall. Written By KCL
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