Friday, August 30, 2013

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month...One Woman's Journey


Often, through my social media channels, my column, and Living Your Best Life Radio, many connect with me to share stories that impact others in inspiring life changing ways. Most of the stories I hear are positive and uplifting. And then, there are some that break my heart.

In a series on domestic violence scheduled to run in October in several publications, I felt the power and strength of several women, their families, supporters, and advocates who will show us the frailty of the human condition and how we are innately equipped to be triumphant over evil with their stories. I also believe in learning through sharing. Many lessons can be learned through the wisdom of others telling their painful trials. Hopefully, many will connect with others who may be going through something similar.  Domestic violence can affect anyone, it does not discriminate. Domestic violence does not care about class, race, age, or gender.

The story of MBJ* was one that was extremely violent and affected me personally. She lives near me and is close to a family friend. MJB was kidnapped in 2011 and nearly killed by her then husband in front of her two small children. Shocked at the violence of her story that made national headlines, I asked her to share her story on Living Your Best Life and in print. She agreed. Here is an excerpt of an in dept story that shows the impact of domestic violence on the victim, the devastating aftermath on family members, and the domestic violence history behind the story.


GSH: What happened to you physically?

MBJ: I was stabbed in my thigh area slicing a nerve and muscle. I have permanent nerve damage and loss of muscle. I still suffer a lot of leg and muscle pain. I’m unable to stand for any length of time. I have problems walking any distance. I can not walk uphill at all. 

GSH: What was the emotional impact this attack has had on  you and your family? 

MBJ: I have many nightmares and flash backs of the event to the point of being put on medication. After two years, my 4 year old son still talks about the incident that happened. He tells everyone at day care what happened to his mom or whoever else will listen. My son has also asked me, if the knife was sharp, dull, and did it hurt me? My six year old daughter still talks about the day of the attack, and repeats the story to her teachers at school. Often, other children will tease her about her father being in prison. My 15 year old niece who was at home at the time, witnessed the incident has nightmares about the day of the attack. If she had not been there at the time, I would have been killed. My niece is the one who called 911! My ex-husband's sister and brother-in-law walked passed us and ignored my pleas for help.

GSH: Have your injuries prevented you from working?

MBJ: I have been in the customer service industry most of my life. Since the 2011, I have not been able to do a lot of standing or excess amount of walking in order to take care of customers. I have also worked in the telecommunication field. I have not been unable to climb ladders to perform my job duties in the career I chose. I decided to go back to school to be able to have more options since I was limited after the attack.

GSH: How else has this effected your lifestyle and socialization with your children?

MBJ: I have been limited to the amount of extra activities I can participate in with my children that are 4 and 6. For example, this summer, I bought a water park season pass but even that causes too much pain for my limited abilities to take my children swimming. I did not realize I needed to climb the stairs for the slides.  

 GSH: What are some other situations you have encountered since your attack? 


MBJ: I have been told by his step brother that he wanted to kill me when he get out and would beat me until my eyes popped out of my head. He is up for parole because he only had to serve thirty percent of his twelve years. He also told his brother that he would finish me off and spend the rest of his life in prison. He also told me that his cell mate was a murder and he liked it. I took it to mean he was learning from him. I am in fear for my life when he is returned to society as well as in fear of him kidnapping my children. He also told me about a year ago that he would commit suicide at some point so that he wouldn’t have to do all this time. The way he said he would commit suicide was try running and let the guards kill him.

The abuser in this story has served time before for the exact crime against another woman. He served six years for the previous attack. 
  
(I was overwhelmed by the helplessness of victims, their families, and friends that I have interviewed and extremely grateful for their openness. Look for partnerships announcements soon for October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)


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