In order to make a difference you must do the work! One of my passions is advocating for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. My organization The Next Chapter is a member of the Maryland Network of Domestic Violence. #MNADV Today the Governor’s Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition joined together to have a dialogue on how we can end Domestic Violence and better help victims and survivors. It takes a community effort. Faith-Based Leaders are a crucial part of the process as most victims reach out to their pastors or clergy for help. The work never stops. As #DVAM comes to an end we must continue the conversation and raise awareness.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month I want to share my story with the world. 🌎 Being completely transparent, about 5 years ago I was in an abusive relationship with a man that I thought was “the man of my dreams.” He turned out to be a nightmare. I worked in an unhealthy work environment and I was transitioning from the Air Force which was a major life change.
My boyfriend at the time was a tall, handsome, professional law enforcement agent, military warrant officer, and former college basketball player. He had a superficial perception of himself, women, and an unhealthy relationship with his mother and ex-wife (also the mother of his two children.) He was stuck reliving his college basketball dreams of making it into the NBA. The dream never came to pass. He told me he felt that his life was a failure. He was angry at the world. Depressed. He was a military combat veteran that served in Iraq. He disclosed to me that he had PTSD but was not compliant with treatment not taking his prescribed medication. He snapped often usually after drinking heavily. He would berate and curse at both his mother and ex-wife calling them Bs and other derogatory words. I mistakenly thought I could love him through the anger. I played mediator often and tried to get him to show more respect for the women in his life. These were red flags that I foolishly ignored: If he treats his mother and daughter’s mother bad…eventually he’ll channel that energy towards you.
The relationship progressed and he moved from his place into my condo. That’s when the verbal abuse turned towards me. He called me fat daily (I was a size 6 at the time 😔 and in the best shape of my life.) He talked negatively about my appearance. Nothing I wore or did was good enough. He constantly made reference of how I should change my hair or attire to look like other women. He wanted me to dress more scantily clad to show off my assets and make him look good. He talked negatively about my decision to separate from the Air Force and said I would never find a “good” job post military. (Special note: I landed my first job after my first interview and doubled my Air Force salary!) Then he started to call me out of my name using derogatory terms. He drunk heavily daily and became more angry and verbally abusive.
I remember vividly, the night before I left him. I was tired. I expressed to him that I did everything: “I cooked. Cleaned after his mess. Took care of his daughters. Dealt with his emotional outbursts. Played the mediator between him and his ex-wife during his ongoing custody battles.” I was constantly walking on egg shells as to not upset him. He repeatedly lied and I discovered he cheated with other women. Once while I was in the hospital getting surgery. He failed to come pick me up after surgery and I was left in the hospital for hours. I had to call a friend to come get me. I discovered once he finally came home that he was with another woman.
The final breaking point came when he threatened my life. I was so tired and done with the relationship. I was sick of him. I remember I asked him to take out the trash. He flipped out as usual. This time he punched me. He choked me. Threw me to the floor. He punched a hole in the wall. He destroyed the furniture in our apartment. At this point I knew I had to end the relationship.
I went to work in the morning with a plan to pack all of his things and get him out of the house. He repeatedly called my job and threatened to kill me. I called the police. 🚨 They went to our residence and asked him to leave but did not arrest him. They left. I went back to the home 🏡 and discovered he was still at the residence. I called the police a second time. They said: “Ms. Johnson there is nothing we can do. He is a law enforcement agent. If you want him removed you will need to file a protective order.” I left and went to the courthouse to file a protective order.
While I was at the courthouse he called my phone no less than 100 times. I kept the phone records. I showed the Sheriff at the courthouse the phone logs. The last message that he left said, “he was sorry and he said he left the residence.” I returned to the house to get my belongings with the police and the protective order. After leaving the message twice that he left the residence, he was still at the residence. The police said: “Ms. Johnson we are not going to arrest him. He is a law enforcement agent. We are going to show him the protective order and ask him to leave.” Less than five minutes later they came down the steps with him in handcuffs and escorted him to jail. He was not cooperative and threatened the police so they finally decided to take action after the third time of being called to the residence.
The police officers 👮 👮🏽 witnessed his actions. They saw the disarray in the house. Heard him make threats. Forcefully removed him from the home. Responded to the repeated violations of the protective order to include him stalking me by showing up to my job and former residence. I resigned my job and fled my residence for my safety. The officers showed up to court to testify. It took two years in court for repeated protective order violations and substantially assault charges filed against him by the commissioners office. Nothing happened. 💔💔💔
The Prince George’s County States Attorneys office said there was not enough evidence to proceed and subsequently stet-docketed the case. The mounting evidence and his confession that he committed the acts did not matter. My voice didn’t matter. My witnesses and the police officer’s testimony did not matter. The stet-docket meant he was exonerated from all charges and would keep his job with the law enforcement agency and his Top Secret Security Clearance. He would also keep his access to handle a firearm. He was required to attend batterers counseling/anger management, all charges were set aside and eventually dropped by the States Attorneys office. The message I received was that my voice does not matter. Repeatedly throughout the process I was asked to not hold him accountable and to protect him versus doing what was necessary to protect myself.
The turning point to healing came when I let it all go and gave it to God. When I reached my breaking point, my family, friends and pastor prayed over me. I understood that my trials were temporary and everything would be okay. God had the final say!
Fast forward five years later. I am the CEO of two companies The Next Chapter, Corporation and Success Creators! I reclaimed my joy and found love within myself. I am now a vocal advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I am a survivor!
I share my story to empower others. You have the freedom to walk away! You have the choice to change your situation! Yes, agencies designed to help us sometimes let us down. Do what is necessary to fight for yourself and be safe. Choose YOU! You deserve to be happy! You deserve to be loved! You deserve to be safe. You deserve a life of success doing what you love! You are perfect in God’s eyes! Adjust your crown and walk with authority and purpose!
~Love, Simply Ebony
#DVAM #DVAM18 #LadyofInspiration #DomesticViolence #Survivor #MeToo #SurvivorSpeaks
#1Thing we use in our advocacy is the Power & Control Wheel. #DomesticViolence is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another in an intimate #relationship. To find out more click here: bit.ly/2ofjUK7 #DVAM2018 #endDV