Domestic Violence awareness month is a time to recognized how problematic abuse is in our society. As domestic violence awareness month comes to an end, we should be enraged daily because this behavior is not going away. Three women are murdered each day due to domestic violence. While it is not gender driven, women are 85% more likely to be victims and 15% of men are victims in the U.S. We feel better if we hide it because there is nothing more shameful than being a wife beater, an abuser or having people ask you, “why did you stay, if it was so bad?” Domestic violence is not a singular incident, it’s a hideous behavior problem deeply rooted in our culture. Violence may grant temporary control, but it ultimately ruins people, families and society. Physical abuse, verbally abuse and everything in between. What happens in our house, stays in our house. Not any more! That’s the good news.
There have been many stories, reports and biopics about domestic violence. The one that sticks with me is the LifeTime Biopic, Surviving Compton, which, highlights R&B Singer and Ruthless Records recording artist, Michel’le Toussaint. The story is about her relationship with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight and how she survived abuse while making her mark as a promising recording star back in the early 1990’s. Her voice was credited for establishing Ruthless Records with a mainstream sound. My first reaction after watching the movie, was shock and gut wrenching intensity. What I saw was abuse on steroids. I will not give a blow by blow analysis, but will comment on a few things. Michel’le’s story evoked a disturbing reality. There was no adult responsibility or direction provided while young people during the 1990’s L.A. NWA environment made decisions about their day-to-day life, but there was structure and guidance with the making of the music and promotion of the new hip hop sound that emerged from this era. So, it was okay to live with a young man at the age of sixteen or have 5 baby momma’s at the age of 18 and fight with no purpose while living with no solid principles as long as you didn’t miss rehearsals or studio time.
The second comment I’d like to share is that the storm inside of us encouraged abused. Men will be men; if he beats you, just try to fix it and do so quickly. These were the comments Michel’le Toussaint heard from the ELDERS while growing up. When I was a teenager I remember my mom and aunt talking about how my aunt ended up in the hospital due to her boyfriends hands in unwanted places. I too, ended up experiencing an abusive relationship. The good news is that I removed myself from that situation and I have had conversations with my daughter about how under any circumstances, abuse is unacceptable! The big elephant in the room is this; Abused people and people who abuse deal with confusion. We must intervene by reporting abuse, being direct in our opinions against abuse and telling our story. God has blessed Michel’le, Dr. Dre and Suge Knight. All are alive and have an opportunity to help others see the repercussions and dysfunction domestic violence causes. Pay attention!!! No matter how difficult it is to raise your head up, you must do so and you must move forward. Click here.
What’s love got to do with it? Self love is the ability to love selflessly. Love the good and bad parts of our God given DNA. It also means loving others the way we would want to be loved. Not sexually or emotionally, but wholeheartedly. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. No one can make us feel happy about ourselves. We have to create the space to do this on our own. The one thing that is clear is based on many recent incidents happening around the Country, is that Agape Love is absent. Do we even know what it means and how to change our mindset so that it’s in the forefront of everything we do?
I struggled in my mind because I was always concerned about what other people thought of me. Was I feminine enough, did I look attractive, was my nose too big, was I tall enough, etc… I experienced feeling ashamed of the agenda God gave me and tried to re-create my own agenda. I also had what I called an explosive reactive attitude. If you messed with me, I’ll get you back! That didn’t work! I have consistently worked on these issues over the years. Confusion persisted! It wasn’t until I took the time to understand Agape Love did I settle down. Of course I dealt with hard core lessons learned and embrassing situations that led me to change. I continue to work on accepting me and life as it comes. Love is more powerful than hate. Making a difference in spite of tragedy takes a strong mindset. It also requires Agape Love.
“It will make you mad, and then you will sing with us…” Living In The Black, the stage play
The stage is a powerful platform. It is the untold truth! A place where live music and real interactions tell a story and create surprise, laughter, sadness, suspense and triumph! It’s so emotional because you will feel the actors pain and rejoice when they triumph. The book, Living In The Black is about the silence of domestic violence. This is a topic no one wants to talk about at the kitchen table. What inspired me to write Living In The Black is the fact that I was a victim and now a survivor, but was embrassed to admit it. As I watched my daughter grow up, I knew I had to be honest. Not admitting it or brushing it under the rug meant acceptance. I didn’t want to create confusion and allow my daughter to think that it was okay. So, my writing experience with Living In The Black was explosive!! Thank you Seraph Books and Alyssa Curry!!! Local actors and muscians will bring the book, Living In The Black to “life” on May 9th at 7pm at the Henderson Fine Arts Center in Henderson, KY. Playwright Stanley Jackson of SJM Productions takes sections of my story and re-creates scenes on stage. He says this play is more dramatic than some of his other stage plays, but that you will go through every emotion! You will think, cry and laugh. Then you will get mad, and sing with us! Can you imagine this on stage? Well, Playwright Stanley Jackson has the magic touch and will allow you to experience his artistry and ministry on May 9 at the Henderson Fine Arts Center!!! Click on this article from the Courier Press to get details!! If you want to read the Book, you can get it here!!!
Don’t fight it. When you have been stripped down and feel like the world is crashing directly toward you, this is when you must not forget to prioritize your prayers. The choices we make put us in our predicaments, thus a strip down may be required to redirect us. The power of prayer is more profound than you think. Prayer is free and the conversation you have is guaranteed to be heard and listened to. I probably say the most unorthodox words when I pray, but I always have something to say. I stopped caring about the words and focus on my connection with Him. Here is a key point…pray with faith. That means don’t expect anything in the moment, but pray as if it has already been made evident. If you are a Leader, I think your guidance should come from prayer first and everything else, second. We are all leading in some form or fashion. Others will follow if you have wisdom.
“Without a focal point to guide you, you can easily lose your way. That’s why it is so important to stay in communication with Me, living in thankful awareness of My Presence”. ~Sarah Young. Matthew 6:33; John 8:29; Colossians 3:23-24
This story is making a difference and is touching the hearts and lives of many! Living In The Black will lead you to make better choices and prevent the devastation of spiraling downward. Read more and be inspired!! This collaboration with Best Selling Author, Alyssa Curry @Seraph_books was a match made in book heaven. Let me know what you think! Thank you!
Male bashing is not my intent. A male should not put his hands on a female in an aggressive manner. If a male wants to control something, it should be his behavior. I understand that these incidents are not planned or anticipated. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today is a great day to commit domestic violence.” These things happen at the spur of the moment and those involved are usually in shock or disbelief when it occurs. The reason we don’t talk about is because it’s shameful to all those involved. Physical assault is also against the law when charges are pressed or when they are not. Hiding domestic violence might make sense at the time it occurs, but what you are in fact doing is allowing the cycle to continue.
1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence towards them. Gabrielle’s story is surprising but typical. She is a beautiful young aspiring model who was kicked out of a moving car after being beaten by her boyfriend. Click here to read about her story.
The image of the 21st century female should be confident, loving, beautiful and successful. When you look around the world, despite progress, better laws, education and income, up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime. Global surveys indicate that about half of women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. There is a solution. It starts by talking about why this is.
I Love my mom! I grew up in a middle class family with both parents. My dad passed away at an early age, he was only 37 years old. He was diagnosed with Cancer. After his death, my mom immediately took control of the household and raised my sister, brother and I. I had a carefree childhood and went to a private high school and College.
It never occurred to me that as a child and teenager, I never said, “I love you” to my Mom. I watched her do everything from attend all of my sporting and band concert events to planting greens in the garden. I was busy being a kid and a teenager! It wasn’t until I became an adult, did I began saying the words,”I love you” to my mom. Maybe it was because I understood the heart felt value of these words after my own life experiences. I now express my appreciation and love for my Mom with the words, “I love you” every time we speak.
My Mom is 73 years old and has suffered multiple Strokes and a heart attack. Her Spirit and pride is the same as it was when she was 30 years old. She has always been a proud strong woman. Never complained and always accepted life with accountability. I love my Mom because she is the best Mom in the world and because she is what I aspire to be.
What is so difficult about the word “support”? There is no fear in it. There is no negativity in it. Support is unyielding and is done out of grace and respect! When we support each other, our foundation for growth, love, prosperity and trust strengthens. Amazing things happen when we support each other. We not only need each other, but without the comfort of knowing that you have a neighbor, friend, family member or colleague to assist you even occassionally, can be devastating.
I lived in the southern Indiana area a few years ago. I was working in the field calling on customer’s with one of my sales representatives. We had a great day calling on key customers. It was a very snowy day and we were in western Kentucky, which was about three hours from my home in Indiana. After our work day was over, the respresentative I was working with, got into her car and I got into mine. She drove off, and I sat in my car and worked on my computer for awhile. The area I was in received about 8 inches of snow the night before. Most of the snow was plowed, but there was black ice underneath the 3 inches of snow that layered through out the parking lot I was parked in. So, when I finished my computer work and began to shift my car into drive, I drove down what I thought was the parking lot driveway and slid into a more snowfilled muddy area. I shifted from Drive to Reverse, Drive to Reverse… and tried to rock the car out of the ditch I found myself in.
I progressively sunk deeper into a mud filled icy snowy hole.
At an instant, I new I was stuck and not going anywhere. I reached for my cell phone and called the sales respresentive who recently drove off. I called three times and there was no answer. The sad part about this incident was that I was stranded and I didn’t have anyone else to call. I had only lived in the southern Indiana area for a year and a half at this time and was in the process of building relationships, but hadn’t solitified any. The lessen learned from the emptiness I felt as I scrolled through my contacts, was that I hadn’t bothered to support anyone or embrace friendships, so without anyone to call I was really stranded. That was my wakeup call. Now I reachout to others and I give support without asking for anything in return. Being able to depend on the friends I have is priceless. They all feel the same way when they think of me. Support each other!!
40 years of friendship is priceless. We met in elementary school where we played together and expressed our curiosity together. We went to high school together where we watched our individual personalities mature and blossom. We became young adults as we experienced College together. Now we talk about what our kids are doing in College and how they are a reflection of us, but with a little extra drive, passion and competitiveness and courage! We don’t talk everyday, but we do have an unspoken camaraderie that results in support and unconditional love. Our friendship is not just something that has survived over time, but is described as that astonishing relationship that gives value to survival.
The US has approximately 5% of the total world population, but owns 42% of the worlds fire arms. The homicide rate by firearms is higher in the US than in countries like Canada, England, France, Australia and Japan. In some cases it’s 200% higher. They say firearms are more tightly controlled in these countries, but not in the US. Why don’t we control it? Are we so pre-occupied with the second amendment that we can’t see when a change can save us? During the 18th century our US delegates recognized that, the way the constitution was originally written, it wouldn’t protect us from foreign aggression or from disintegration, so they redrafted it. The 14th amendment was re-provisioned after the Civil War because it was recognized that Black codes that reinforced the oppression of African Americans was not right. So, with all of the senseless gun violence that has taken place over the past 20 years, why have gun laws remained the same, while our country has increased homicide rates and senseless killings? As human beings, where does the need to have multiple fires arms come from? What drives this need? Is it just because we can, or is there a valid reason? When I look around and observe how we treat each other, I just want to pray. We are all beautiful people and our natural chemistry forces us to be together because it’s our human nature. Choose love, respect, honesty, communication and acknowledgment; not violence.