All Articles Tagged "domestic violence"

“He Literally Put A Bullet In The Gun And Pointed It At My Face.” Christina Milian Tells The Story Of Her Abusive Relationship

December 18th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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 Christina Milian Tells The Story Of Her Abusive Relationship

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Earlier this week, we reported about Christina Milian and her mother Carmen, discussing a past abusive relationship. Even though many of us recognize the prevalence of domestic violence, it’s always shocking when someone we know or a public figure comes out saying they’ve endured this type of trauma.

In this week’s episode of “Christina Milian Turned Up,” the singer shared more details about what she went through as a teenager.

“So I was 17, going into 18, and I met a boy and he had this sarcasm about him that I just thought was super funny,” she explained to author Tanya Williams on the show. “But that sarcasm turned out to be something a little bit more dark, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

Like she and her mother discussed, Milian told Williams that there were times when she wished she could get away but felt that she couldn’t. In the clip we posted, Milian’s mom, Carmen, said that her boyfriend threatened to injury her family if she left him.

Milian shared one particularly horrific incident.

“He literally put a bullet in the gun and pointed it at my face. Staring down the barrel of a gun is the scariest thing you could ever experience. It’s not funny, it’s not for the movies. There’s a chance of life or death in one click, that’s it.”

After her mother bought her a ticket to New York, she “woke up one day and realized that my family was just trying to help me. And gave myself the courage and the strength to not call him and invite him back into my life.”

“She Just Kept Choosing To Go Back” Christina Milan And Her Mother Recall Her Abusive Relationship

December 15th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Christina Milan And Her Mother Recall Her Abusive Relationship feat

Source: E!

Seems like Christina Milian is revealing something surprising about herself and her family every other week on her reality show “Christina Milian Turned Up.” First she told us that she loved Lil Wayne even more than she loved her husband; and now, on a more serious note, she talked about her plans to promote a new app called “Stop Attack.” 

The app is programmed to alert authorities and close family and friends when a victim is being attacked in the home. Not only that, it also records what’s going on in the house from the time it is activated. This last part is invaluable considering it can be particularly challenging to prove that any type of abuse transpired in a private, home setting.

Christina Milian signed on to be a partner for the app and was discussing it on the reality show.

As the conversation continues, Christina casually mentions that she could have used it when she was in an abusive relationship. And she and her mother remember that horrific time in their lives.

Christina: “And I thought about even when I was in that abusive relationship back in the day…”

Her mom Carmen: “I remember he instilled that fear in you that if you left him, he would hurt us. And because of that, you stayed in it. But like literally to the point where you know you almost lost your life.”

Carmen in confessional: I am so proud of her for doing “Stop Attack.” This is something she can connect with and I’m glad she’s going to help others because honestly, if she would have been able to tape him back in the day, we would have had evidence.

Carmen: You had bruises and you were covering them up all the time. It was the hardest thing to go through… was watching you. It’s been so long since I even thought about it. It was so hard to deal with you being like that and you just kept staying. A mother to sit there and think that any day now I was going to get that phone call that you were gone.

Carmen in confessional: It’s one of the hardest things as a parent is to watch your child go through an abuse and she was a grown adult that just kept choosing to go back.

You can watch their full conversation in the video below.

Bow Wow’s Baby Momma Denies Abuse Allegations

December 10th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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bow wow's baby momma feat

Earlier today, we reported that Erica Mena accused her ex fiancé Bow Wow of beating women and she hoped that type of karma didn’t get passed down to his daughter–his seed as she put it.

TheShadeRoom caught her leaving a more damning comment than the one we initially reported, saying:

“Now he can go back to beating her ass again. I’m good on dealing with his Little man complex.”

Mena was referencing the mother of Bow Wow’s child, Joie Chavis. She also mentioned that she had a photo that would change his life. Hmm…

Well, the abuse claim is a strong one.

So strong in fact, that Chavis had to step forward and refute the claim.

She stepped into The Shade Room to leave a comment.

“Beat? When? Where? I NEVER say anything but this sh*t is just unacceptable, and ridiculous to say the least. Shad has never laid a finger on me, so dead it!”

Source: Instagram/TheShadeRoom

Source: Instagram/TheShadeRoom

She also said that she and Bow Wow are not getting back together. They are simply hanging out as friends.

According to TheShadeRoom

“Y’all gotta chill with these long a** paragraphs. It’s not that deep bruh, and we are not together. We are just friends, and I am single. I know it’s probably weird to some who have f*cked up relationships and can’t co-parent but that’s not the case here.”

Those might be her intentions but we’ll see what Shad has up his sleeve.

Survived And Punished: Is Naomi Freeman The Next Marissa Alexander?

December 8th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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This past summer, in the early morning hours of July 5, 23-year-old Naomi Freeman was pulled from her car by her hair before being punched 25 times by her boyfriend John Perry.

According to the Chicago Tribune, another person had to separate Perry from Freeman. When she got up, she got back into her 1999 Dodge Caravan minivan. She pulled into a parking spot and then made a U-turn.

She drove toward her boyfriend, who was still on the sidewalk. He moved out of the way and Freeman hit a wrought-iron fence.

She reversed the van back onto the street. Perry jumped in front of the van, daring him to try and run him over again.

Freeman drove toward Perry, striking him before continuing to drive on the sidewalk. She eventually drove through a fence and into a yard.

Freeman left the van and fled from the scene on foot. Perry was still stuck under the vehicle.

People tried, unsuccessfully, to remove him from underneath the vehicle. Later, he died at Mount Sinai Hospital from mechanical asphyxiation from being struck and pinned under the van.

And the whole incident was caught on video.

According to Freeman’s attorney, Steve Pick, this was not the first time Perry had hit his girlfriend. He argued that based on Perry’s history of abuse, she didn’t have a choice when she ran over her boyfriend.

He said, “This person didn’t go to that address with the intent to hurt anybody. She was in fear for her life and her safety.”

Prosecutors argue that Freeman simply could have driven away.

Pick also asked that her $500,000 bail be lowered. It was reduced to $350,000 but Freeman didn’t have anyone who could pay the $35,000.

In an attempt to get Freeman released in time to spend Christmas with her one and two-year-old children, has started a fundraiser to raise the $35,000 bond.

They included this letter from Freeman herself.

Someday I will need to explain to my kids why they don’t have their father. I never meant to hurt him that day, I only acted in fear for my life. I have to forgive myself, but not for surviving, and I don’t think I should be punished for defending my life. I have to get home to my kids as soon as I can and be the best mother I can be. I need a second chance at life for them and for myself. 

   — Naomi Freeman, 12/6/2015, Cook County Jail

The ChicagoBond said that not only was Freeman pregnant at the time, she was also suffering from chronic autoimmune disease that affects her joints.

Freeman, who has been in jail for the past 6 months, is also living with Lupus and the stress of pre-trial detention.

$35,000 would mean  she would be reunited with her family and have proper maternal health care.

The ChicagoBond org argues:

Naomi chose to survive an attack by an abusive partner. We know from Naomi and other eyewitnesses that Naomi was pulled from a vehicle by her hair and slammed to the ground. Once on the ground, Naomi was beaten and punched in the face no fewer than 20 times. During this assault, Naomi was in the early stages of pregnancy and suffering a chronic autoimmune disease that affects her joints. Sadly, this was not the first time Naomi had been assaulted by this man. Had Naomi not acted in self-defense, it is likely that she would be dead. Instead, like many other women and girls incarcerated right now, who are disproportionately Black, she survived and was punished for it.”

They are comparing Freeman to women like Marissa Alexander, Cierra Finkley, Eisha Low, and Paris Knox saying that Freeman killed Perry as a way to escape her abuser and survive.

Aside from the fact that both women were involved in abusive relationships and decided to take a stand, there seem to be few similarities. Alexander only fired a warning show and no one was injured during the process. Freeman struck Perry with her car after immediate danger had subsided.

Still, with that being sad, no one knows what the nature of her relationship with Perry was. I highly doubt this was the first time Perry hit Freeman. We can’t be sure but the fact that he felt so comfortable brutalizing her in public leads me to believe it wasn’t the first time. And if this is what he did in public, it’s not hard to believe that her life was threatened.

There’s also the fact that she’s spent a majority of her pregnancy incarcerated when it is likely that she’s not a danger to her children.

Furthermore, it’s time that the justice system stops criminalizing women, particularly Black women who defend themselves against their abusers.

If you’re interested in donating to help her make bail, you can donate here.


Daily Show Staff Upset Over Chris Brown Appearance Due To Abusive Past, But Should They Be 6 Years Later?

December 1st, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Chris Brown


In case you haven’t heard, Chris Brown is set to be a guest on The Daily Show tonight–whether certain staff members like it or not.

According to The Daily Beast, his booking was something staff was split over due to Brown’s violent past. Several Daily Show staff members actually reached out to The Daily Beast to say that they were concerned about giving Brown a platform as an abuser. But they were told by the host, Trevor Noah, whose own mother was a victim of domestic abuse and was even shot in the face by her ex-husband, that a part of the interview would be used to bring light to domestic violence issues. And that’s the part of the article where I rolled my eyes.

I don’t want to hear Chris Brown apologize for his 2009 assault on Rihanna again. My ears can’t take it.

Not only because we’ve heard it time and time again; not only because it still won’t be enough to please people; not only because it will be weird to have such a serious discussion on a news satire comedy show; but because he’s the only famous person out here still apologizing for his past.

(And before you R. Kelly fans try to come at my head asking, “What makes Chris Brown different from R. Kelly?” know that Brown actually has taken responsibility for his actions. He dealt with the punishment for his decisions, both in the courtroom and in the public eye. We saw the evidence, and he admitted to his abuse. We saw the evidence for R. Kelly–the sex tape and the marriage to Aaliyah when she was 15, and he was 28 alone–and he still has nothing to say.)

I’m honestly a little disappointed to know that not only will his episode focus on those past decisions he’s atoned for, but that many of the staff reportedly were opposed to allowing him to sit across from Noah for what, 10 minutes?

Don’t get me wrong. I do know that these are some of the consequences that come with doing terrible things in the public eye. Particularly in the digital age when images of a battered Rihanna were passed around, as well as the stomach-turning police report. I do know that for years, Brown continued to behave poorly, getting in scuffles and Twitter beef with every Tom, Dick and Frank Ocean. And I do know that if you’ve ever been a victim of domestic abuse, or had loved ones who have been, seeing Brown get to continue with his success knowing the pain he inflicted is probably disgusting.

But I do wonder what it is that will make people happy when it comes to Brown.

It can’t be an apology. He’s apologized more than once. In articles, in interviews and more. And each time his apologies have been picked apart and dubbed as insincere.

It can’t be for him to struggle in his career, because for a time there, he did. There were radio stations that refused to play his music at one point, and when he released his album Graffiti in 2009, stores like Walmart weren’t even stocking it.

And it can’t be for him to be genuinely remorseful for his actions, because who is to say that he hasn’t been? And how remorseful is just the right amount of remorse? Do you need to pull a Robin Thicke and make an apologetic album that no one will buy? Do you need to get on stage and make a public decree? Do you need to be seen in public in tears for weeks on end? Well, that doesn’t work either, because when Brown did break down in an ugly cry at the BET Awards while performing “Man in the Mirror” a year after the assault, people claimed he was just putting on a show.

So I have questions. I guess I’m just trying to figure out the endgame here. Is it that we want to see this young man fall under the weight of his past mistakes to the point where he can no longer sing or dance in public? Do we want him to become a hermit? Do we want him not to grow as a person and father and just be a constant pariah? Are we going to keep forcing Rihanna to talk about that man and that situation until she meets and marries someone else? I’m genuinely interested in figuring out what it is people want to see happen to Brown, a man diagnosed with Bipolar II, over a mistake made when he was 19.

Are we all expected to pay for the mistakes we made for the rest of our lives? And not to get too preachy on you, but as long as Brown has repented to the people who matter in this situation, Rihanna, and God, do the rest of us really matter? Do our gripes with him really matter? Does our decision to look at him as the abuser who hurt us, or our friends or our loved ones really matter?

It’s not something he can run from. And here’s to hoping that one day he will be mature enough to say calmly, “Yeah, it’s something I truly regret. However, it’s something I learned and grew from, and as the father of a daughter, I hope to work to help prevent such abuse from happening to other women.” But to say all that on The Daily Show? On Comedy Central? Please. That’s not the place for it. Especially not when the host of the show whose staff is riled up about your appearance deemed your domestic episode comical enough to joke about years ago on Twitter (“I woke up and my face was puffy and swollen- I looked like I was in the car with chris brown.”). Not when that same show allowed Charlie Sheen to be a guest in 2003, despite him already having about three domestic violence incidents under his belt at that time, including shooting former fiancée Kelly Preston. And especially not on a comedy show with a group of people who don’t stand up for abused women, let alone abused Black women, any other time.

Glory Johnson Must Complete 6-Month Domestic Violence Program In Plea Deal

November 27th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Glory Johnson is one step closer to putting her tumultuous relationship with fellow WNBA star Brittney Griner behind her. TMZ reports the estranged wife of Griner has a struck a plea deal in her domestic violence case.

In exchange for pleading guilty to disorderly contact, assault chargers were dropped against Johnson, who, as part of her sentence, has been ordered to complete a six-month domestic violence program. The pro athlete is also forbidden from owning a firearm and has been ordered not to harass Griner, who also struck a plea deal in her domestic violence case.

In April, both Griner and Johnson were arrested after the sister of the latter called 911 because of a domestic disturbance. As we reported at the time, “Cops who responded to the call say that both parties had ‘minor physical injures’ when they arrived. Griner had multiple cuts and a bite wound while Johnson was bleeding from a lip injury. A police report from the incident reveals that Griner and Johnson had been fighting for a few days and had been experiencing serious ‘relationship issues.'”

Despite this ruling, pair still isn’t completely done with one another, at least in the legal sense. A judge denied a request for an annulment 28 days after the couple walked down the aisle, stating “the case shall proceed on the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Minor Children.” Johnson gave birth to twin girls last month and the divorce proceeding is currently ongoing.


Nelson Mandela’s Stepdaughter Loses Vision After Domestic Violence Attack: “No One Helped Me”

November 18th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Andres Otero/WENN

Andres Otero/WENN

It’s likely that the daughter of Nelson Mandela’s third wife Graça Machel will never use her right eye again, and she says that her boyfriend is to blame. In a telling interview with City Press, Josina Machel recalled the October 17 incident that changed her life forever.

The trouble began the night before her mother’s 70th birthday. Graça was in South Africa attending to other commitments. The family had plans to reunite and celebrate the following day. However, Josina desired to feel close to her mother that evening and decided that she would spend the night at her mom’s house. She desired to sleep in her bed.

“I wanted to be with my mother; I wanted to experience my mother. I was missing her. We were going to celebrate her birthday the following day and so I just wanted to feel my mum around me. That is why I was so adamant about going home,” she said.

Josina’s partner, however, couldn’t understand her decision and allegedly berated her because of it.

“There were just insults, just bad words. He expressed his unhappiness about me wanting to go home. I have blocked them out of my mind somehow emotionally. They are just not words that I expected to hear from anyone. They were demeaning of any woman and of me,” she explained.

Josina went on to say that the insults continued, and things eventually took a violent turn when her boyfriend proceeded to pummel her.

“I was so shocked that I did what everybody does when something happens to you. You don’t turn towards your aggressor. You protect yourself, and you try to protect your face, but to my surprise, I actually turned towards him and I asked ‘WHAT?!’ she shared. “That is how I got the second jab that blinded me, which ruptured the eye almost immediately. I felt the third one coming, and that’s when I ran out of the car, ran away from him.”

The couple was passing through a suburban neighborhood at the time. She recalled running through the streets crying for help.

“My eye was leaking so much that I was asking for help while covering the other eye because I thought [it] was actually falling out,” she said. “No one helped me.”

Josina suspects that she tripped on something in the road and blacked out because she recalls waking up in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there. She was later diagnosed with “eruption and displacement of the retina, which meant I could not see light … and, therefore, lost the ability to see.” After four weeks of testing and treatment, doctors informed her that she will probably never regain vision in her right eye.

“I’m still going through myriad feelings. To be honest, I have not been able to grieve, I have not been able to cry, I have not been angry, I have not been able to feel all those emotions that happened because I’ve been concentrating on my eye, and that delayed the pain,” she said.

She hopes that by sharing her story, she will help to spread awareness about violence against women and children.

“I also felt that not standing up in this fight will be an indictment on the legacy of my parents. Papa Madiba has always defended women’s rights, and my mum is the epitome of the significance of fights against injustice against women. So at this point, I have no right to be quiet and not to stand up.”

Josina’s boyfriend—a popular, “politically-connected” businessman—is expected to appear in court soon.

Sincere Or Shady? Ray Rice Wants To Raise Awareness For Domestic Violence

November 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Nobody in the NFL wants to touch Ray Rice. While other athletes like footballer Greg Hardy and soccer player Hope Solo’s abusive pasts have been forgotten, Rice is something like a pariah. Still, the former running back hasn’t given up his dreams of working with the league, in one way or the other.

On Sunday, on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Rice said that if he didn’t get a second chance to play again, he would like to partner with the NFL to raising awareness about domestic violence.

ESPN asked Rice what he thought about other athletes being allowed to continue playing their respective sports. He said that could only speak to his case and he did acknowledge that the video footage of the incident left an indelible impression.

“I totally understand what my visual did and the effect it had on society and the survivors of domestic violence. So, for me, to never be forgiven … I understand those things, and I totally take full responsibility for my actions. The one thing I can say is … I have made a lifelong decision to raising awareness about this.”

Rice also spoke about the shift in his potential legacy.

“I used to have a situation where kids were like, ‘I wanna be like Ray Rice.’ And now I have to think about kids and parents saying, ‘I don’t want you to be like Ray Rice.’ And that haunts me.”

After he completed a pretrial intervention program, the domestic violence charge against Ray Rice was dropped. Still, with this season nearing its halfway point, it’s unlikely that he’ll be returning, particularly since he hasn’t had been offered an official tryout.

Rice continues to train in case he does receive the opportunity and said he would love to speak to younger players about not making the same mistakes he did. He believes working with the NFL would expand his reach.

“I think the NFL has such a huge platform and I’ve seen the platform I had when I was playing, when I would go out and help people. I go out now, and I don’t have an NFL platform, but I’m going out there and helping people out. So if I never played a down again, why not see if I could use their platform to go out there and help make a difference…Young rookies, anybody in college … I want to be able to spread all of my experiences to help other people, to make them understand that domestic violence is not OK, not even one time.”

I’m so conflicted by this story.

I’ve always believed Ray Rice should have the opportunity to play football again after successful completion of one of the intervention programs. Still, a part of me always questions the motivation behind his interviews. And sadly, this one was no different. I can never be sure he says what he does because he wants the NFL to let him back into their good graces or because he’s truly repentant and wants to work to right his wrongs. I’m not sure what work he’s been doing to raise domestic violence awareness, but the announcement that this is now your lifelong mission seems a little self-serving to me. Perhaps, it’s too much to assume Rice would just do the work and allow other people to take notice.

Still, when other athletes with similar infractions are allowed to play again, he certainly should be given the same opportunity. The NFL is hypocritical. Had this video not been leaked to the public, he would have received the two game suspension and would still be playing with the Ravens today. At the end of the day, this is what this is really about. The league believes he’s too much of a liability, not that they stand with and support domestic violence victims and survivors. There are no angels here. The NFL has been turning a blind eye to incidents of violence and even deaths for years. Ray Rice was just happened to be the lone scapegoat.

What do you think about Ray Rice’s comments? Do they seem sincere to you? Do you think he should be allowed to continue playing?

Halle Berry Still Struggles With Domestic Abuse: I’m Tired Of Watching Women In Our Community Suffer

November 6th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet Featuring: Halle Berry Where: Beverly Hills, California, United States When: 13 Aug 2015 Credit: FayesVision/

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet
Featuring: Halle Berry
Where: Beverly Hills, California, United States
When: 13 Aug 2015
Credit: FayesVision/

While it’s been several years since Halle Berry found herself in a physically violent relationship, the pain of the experience still lives on for the actress.

Speaking at the “Imagine” VIP cocktail party benefit for the Jenesse Center, a national domestic violence prevention and intervention organization, Berry confessed “It seems like I’ve overcome it, but I really haven’t. In the quiet of my mind, I still struggle. So while I’m helping these women, I’m helping myself through it, too. And that’s largely why I’m here.”

Recounting the helplessness she felt seeing her mother “battered and beaten many years” of her life, Berry explained many domestic abuse victims feel the same way, particularly due to the lack of sympathy towards this issue.

“For some reason, I’ve found after 15 years of working with the Jenesse Center that when it comes to domestic violence people just say, ‘I don’t get it. Why don’t they just leave? This is ridiculous!’ I call [these women] addicts. They’re love addicts … they’re addicted to the pain. And they’re largely addicted to the pain because they’ve been taught nothing else. They haven’t been taught that they have self-worth or value. They often weren’t loved the way they should’ve been as children from their mothers or their fathers. People didn’t say the things they should have said.

“They go into the world feeling knee-high to a bullfrog … and they’re not equipped to deal with that that is coming at them at rapid speed. They quickly become victims of predators who just prey on their insecurity and lack of knowing who they are and I am just tired of watching the women in our community suffer. I’m tired of watching them overlooked and made wrong and to be villainized for just trying to survive.”

Berry, of course, can speak to that villainization quite well. Just this week two of her exes accused her of turning them into the “worst guys in history” for leaving their marriages for one reason or another. And in the arsenal of “crazy” accusations hurled at the actress for her doomed relationships, no one seems to take into account that fleeing a violent situation is actually something to be applauded, not criticized. Already, in other reports on her speech, commenters are accusing her of being disingenuous and speaking out on domestic violence victimization as a PR move. In spite of the gossip and pending divorce, Berry recently told Extra “I’m doing okay. I really am.”

How A Mother Allowed Her Physically Abusive Ex To Have A Clean Slate With Their Daughter

October 29th, 2015 - By Kimberly Jacobs
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Bridgette* found the attentiveness she loved about her abuser would be the very thing to set him off when she wanted to do her own thing. Her ex played on her self-esteem and used physical abuse to control her, but once her daughter was born she found the strength to leave and never look back. Bridgette also didn’t let the abuse the father of her child put her through come between his relationship with his daughter, and she wants other women to know they shouldn’t either.

How did you first meet?

I was born and raised in Brooklyn and my ex’s family moved there when we were in junior high school. It wasn’t until we both graduated high school that we met over a summer day just hanging outside or whatever. He happened to come by with someone that knew some of the people I was standing with. We all were just standing around talking and that’s how we met.

I gave him my number and within two weeks we went out. We walked around just talking. Then a few times after that we went to the movies, just regular stuff. He was cute and ambitious. The other side of him — being angry — came out when he wasn’t getting his way in whatever we would be doing or talking about. Other than that, he was really nice and always wanted to spend time together. That other side was like, who are you? What is this?

Tell me about the first time the abuse happened

I was with him from 18-25 years old. The first episode happened sometime in the first year. It was the sign where I should’ve said “I can’t do this,” but of course, young and in love, I was thought, “Okay, he said ‘Sorry it won’t happen again,'” but it ended up happening again.

We had gone to do laundry together — something really simple. We were coming home with the bag and the lid on the bleach wasn’t tightened, and some of it leaked onto the clothes. A few of his items got messed up and he went off — shoving me, yelling at me, just all kinds of craziness — and apologized for it after. That was my first idea that I probably should’ve left, but of course in hindsight…

From there we had disagreements like any couple would and not all of them came to blows, but there were some that did. He’d push me or grab me really tight and be up in my face. I think it was more verbal like putting me down saying, “nobody is going to want you; I know you don’t think you’re all that.” Or he’d be controlling, asking “Where you going? Who you going with? If I tried to make plans with friends he’d say, “No, I don’t want you to do that; come do this instead.”

He had friends, but he didn’t really hang out with them so when I wanted to branch off by myself with other people that was a problem. He would also tell me, “You can’t wear that,” or ask, “What are you wearing that for?” All of those things in hindsight were him wanting to control things; at 18 and 19 years old I didn’t see any of that.

If we did have physical altercations he was always apologetic. I believed him and really wanted it not to be that way, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Although it didn’t happen a lot, one time for me is too much. Thankfully, I didn’t have broken bones, emergency room visits, or blackened eyes, but psychologically it was taking a toll.

Did friends and family have an idea of what was going on?

Probably a few of my close friends knew. They would say little things like “why is he always trying to stop you from going out with us?” or “you shouldn’t take that. Was he just yelling at you? That ain’t right.” Of course I made excuses for him. If my family knew they never said it to me directly.

What was your life like during that time?

I’d actually just gotten my diploma and went to business school for about a year and some change. Then I immediately started working. We got married four years into the relationship and moved to Queens, NY. It wasn’t a big change when we moved, but he was still controlling and domineering. The times I did decide to go over a friend’s place I came home and it was an argument. Sometimes it was shoving. He never really hauled off and punched me, but one time he reared back like he was going to punch me and I started yelling at him because I was about six or seven months pregnant. In my mind I was like, it’s bad enough this is happening, but I’m pregnant with your child, and you’re rearing back like you’re going to punch me. I was screaming “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” That was a point when I was like this can’t keep going on.

Why did you still decide to marry him?

When we both still lived at home I think the attentiveness when he was kind was really good. I didn’t really have a lot of dating experience prior. He was the second person I dated. Did I realize this probably shouldn’t be going on? Yeah. But I wasn’t thinking it was going to escalate to that kind of stuff. It was just the pushing or being controlling verbally in the pre-marriage time setting. As time went on he was shoving more.

What’s the worst memory of a fight you guys got into?

One time, which was the last time, we had a verbal argument after my daughter was born. He came home and I was in the process of getting her dressed to go out. Whatever he said, it escalated and he started pushing me. My daughter was in the car seat by the door and we were in the bedroom towards the back. He was pushing me and when he pushed me I grabbed his shirt so I wouldn’t fall back and then we started tussling on the bed. In the middle of that, we rolled off the bed and onto the floor. He pulled me by my ankles out towards the front of the house where the baby was. She was yelling because of the commotion and I was yelling at him, “Get off me, get off me, don’t you hear the baby!” In the middle of me screaming he was still hitting me. Finally he got off of me, and that was when I was finished. It was time to leave.

He had done this enough times to me but there would never be a day where I let him hit her. My daughter’s birth is the thing that forced me to make the decision to leave. She saved mommy because I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to get out of it and keep going without looking back or second guessing it.

Did he give you a hard time when you decided to leave him?

Actually, I found out that he was having an affair. One night when my daughter was six months old he was having a phone conversation with this other woman and I picked up the phone. At the end of the call he was saying to this person “yeah, I’m going to come over there and we’re going to resolve this,” and I said “good and while you’re there find where you’re going to sleep because you can’t get back in here.” He put the phone down and came running to the front where I was and yelling “I can’t believe you were on the phone.” I said, “Whatever you said, you said you were going so go wherever you were going.”

As soon as he left I called my friend who lived in Queens and told her “I’ve got to get out of here.” She said “Alright I’m putting my shoes on and coming.” She came to get me and I left. That was the last time I lived there. I realized when I was pregnant that he was having an affair and I knew I needed to start making some moves or whatever to get away from it.  You aren’t going to be cheating and getting crazy with your hands when you feel like it. That’s just a little too much.

How did you get to a place of healing?

After I left him I started going to church and realized that despite everything we go through there’s one individual that loves you no matter what. I started reading the word and understanding God’s plan for my life and stuff like that. It made a shift in me to know that I’m not the things he said I was. He would say “You’re stupid. You ain’t that cute. Ain’t nobody going to want you. If someone does want you they just want to sleep with you. What do you think you have to offer somebody?” All types of derogatory things.

Because of that I was always in my head thinking maybe he’s right. I didn’t really have any previous relationships and I didn’t grow up with my father. I had a disconnect on how a man is supposed to treat me to begin with, and this was the first experience. I knew everyone wasn’t going through this physical thing, but again I didn’t know how it’s supposed to be. Afterward I realized people do like me, but it was still a process.

Has he changed?

I know his anger doesn’t really flare up as much. After we split we had to deal with each other because of my daughter. We would both be very argumentative with each other but I think, for him, when he realized I’m wasn’t coming back and he moved on in another relationship things changed. I don’t know if the relationship shifted him or if he just grew up some more, but the anger part is gone and even in different conversations we’ve had since then I can see he talks different now. It’s not aggressive with him trying to tell me what to do.

What was it like when you first realized he wasn’t that man anymore?

I was glad for him because the descent side of him was always really a good thing. I wanted him to have a relationship with his daughter so the better the person he is will ultimately make her life better as a result.

Does your daughter know about this angry side of him?

I waited a really long time to share with her what really happened. She was about 16 when I shared it with her. Prior to that I would just say, “Things just didn’t work out and we decided to live separately, but we obviously love you.”

It bothers me when parents tell so much of what happened in the relationship to children. Not that the child shouldn’t know anything, but you are hurting the child in the end because, though that parent did you wrong, the child still loves that parent and needs them. Now you’re putting your junk in the child’s mind and it shifts their thoughts about the parent. I didn’t want to be that parent.

I let her see for herself because her relationship with him is different than mine. I don’t want to dump my stuff on her and he’s trying to be a good parent and she’s looking at him sideways because mommy said you knocked her in the head. No child is going to be like “Dad I think you’re great and I know you shoved my mother.” No, that’s a problem so I didn’t want to do that.

How did she take it when you told her?

She was like, “Wow that’s a lot mommy; you should’ve let me know before. Why did you stay? You know that’s crazy right?”

What about dating afterwards, do you notice red flags sooner?

Heck yeah, you start saying something crazy to me I’ll be like “check please! We are going nowhere with this.” Sometimes I can observe couples and their interactions. He may not be physical, but I can see in their eyes, in her reaction, and how he’s speaking that something is going on behind closed doors.

What advice would you give other women to prevent it from happening to them?

Know that you are absolutely worth it, regardless of what anybody has told you. You do not deserve to be shoved, pushed, talked down to, talked about, or anything. If he’s not uplifting you, leave it alone. Period. I don’t care who you are or how old you are, leave it alone. You can go on and be okay without him. It’s going to hurt, but you can get over it. Low self-esteem is so horrible it really messes you up.