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Unlike many survivors of domestic violence, I did not witness violence in my home growing up. In fact in my home, as a child I was exposed to lots of love, two hardworking loving parents, and an abundance of “things”. Even with all that, I still was unhappy with who I was. I hated my body, hated that I never quite found something that I was really good at. I think because of my unhappiness I started being a fighter, one might have even called me a bully. When all my friends were good at sports, very smart or beautiful, I never was able to find my niche. I was the awkward girl too tall, too big, over developed. So some boys thought I was too old and others thought not old enough. Finally in high school once I slimmed down and grew into my busty curvy figure, the only thing I had going on was… boys. The older ones loved me and the younger ones wished they could get with me. So I used what I had to work for me. I had all the popular guys, or even guys that were already out of school or in college.
Eventually I met my first husband, I was 17 and he was 19 and he had a job and a nice car which was always a prerequisite for even a short term relationship. We began dating and not too long after I was pregnant. Right away he showed signs of being controlling and jealousy. The jealousy was so bad he excused me of having sex with an ex and swore our baby was his. Of course his jealousy soon led to knock down drag out fights. I became very passive and soon I no longer fought back. I couldn’t, I had to protect my babies.
Once out of that relationship, after 8 long years we divorced and I had a moment to enjoy the single life and learning to love myself. He (my ex) had no contact at all with his children, except for Christmas and even then he would interrogate them with questions about me and what I was doing. After about 2 years of being single I met a very handsome man. Very fit, very tall (6’8) and very religous with green and hazel eyes. He was Muslim, I knew very little about the religion but I loved that he prayed 5 times a day and I felt he would be a perfect example to my children. Boy was I wrong… We dated and he was the ultimate gentlemen, opened doors, never let me lift a finger, called me his Queen. He purchased me nice gifts all the time and took me to fancy restaurants much like my Daddy did always trying to expose his daughter to the finer things in life. He told me one day “I love how you dress so sexy, but this is my stuff you’re trying to share with the world…you are my Queen aren’t you?” Just they sensual, mesmerizing way he said at that moment I think he hypnotized me and never thought logically from that point.
With gradual manipulation I began studying Islam and attending masjid which is like church for Muslims. I was on a strick fitness regimen which included me weighing in and running daily. In the beginning it just seemed as if he was concerned about my health and later I realized he was a control freak and ironically a meth addict. He began hallucinating and having a crazy obsession with guns. He buried them in the back yard and hid them on the roof. He made crazy accusation and took me in the middle of the desert and left me in my pajamas and bare footed. He punched , socked, raped, bit, cut my hair out and last but not least stabbed me over 18 time puncturing both my lungs severing my cerotic artery, severed my tendons in my hand. Stabbed me multiple times in my head and up and down my back all in front of my children. Thank God for my daughter who acted so brave and took measures to save my life.
Today I advocate for women whenever and wherever I can. I am thankful to God for putting LaToyia Conway-Hampton in my life. She helped me realize that I had a story that would help women everywhere. So this is what brought me to Two-Lifestyles Women Empowerment. I have been empowered to take my scary, crazy, embarrassing story to help other know that there is life after abuse. Desperately I share, I facilitate and teach them the red flags, I instill self-esteem and self-worth to help them make better decisions for themselves and their children. I love what I do, I love Two-Lifestyles and every women who has come through those doors.
I have to give thanks to God and my supportive family who always loved me when I didn’t even love myself. To God be the glory.