The quote, “Being a strong
black woman,” did not create itself into existence by mere
political or social means. Becoming and being a strong
black woman takes unfortunate experiences and life lessons
depending much upon one’s geographical location, religious
beliefs and policies of law. Being a strong black woman
holds different full- fledged definitions of foundation for
all but one thing in common is that strong black women
fight. They fight for what they believe in, they fight for
what they need/want, and they fight to defend themselves.
Women in general, most
will agree have a lower place in our society. We are the
fairer of the sexes, usually smaller in statue and build and
some agree more emotionally charged. Domestic violence has
taken the lives and livelihood of women for way too long.
Statistical reports of many types show shocking numbers such
as every 9 secs a woman is a victim of domestic violence.
Much worse are the reports that display how many women
remain in relationships where they are a victim of domestic
violence much to a timeframe of fatality.
As a black woman and a
counselor, I have had numerous clients who were victims of
domestic violence and, from my side as a therapist, the
reasoning, the thinking and the justification for remaining
in relationships where they were abused physically,
sexually, emotionally and mentally is alarming and difficult
I wish it were as easy as
to say, “girl, get your kids and go, you can always start
over and even find a relationship in which you are treated
as a queen.” Even if the victim agrees and states that just
what they are going to do, it often does not happen for many
reasons that most of us cannot understand.
So why is this? We shake
our heads and say what’s wrong with them, who stays in a
home where they are being abused? Usually, when someone is
in a relationship as a victim of domestic violence there are
certain characteristics shared within their emotional and
mental health. Many of these women suffer from depression,
low self-esteem, unhealthy attachment styles and much more
and to them it is not as easy to take our most logical
advice and say yes let me leave now because I no longer wish
to be hurt.
If you are a woman in a
relationship as the victim of domestic violence there is
help and there are many women who do successfully leave and
lead happy and healthy lives. I am one of those women.
When I was pregnant with my second son, my partner became
very abusive after learning of my pregnancy. Not that he was
unhappy with the pregnancy, but it was as if he had me
locked in and he was able to treat me as he felt he
One of the worst
experiences was being dragged down the steps at eight months
pregnant because I refused to leave the bedroom, thrown
against the wall and choked. I stayed for several reasons.
One I had a very good OB/GYN doctor and I had a high- risk
pregnancy and gladly so, I ended up needing an emergency
c-section and my doctor saved both me and my baby.
Secondly, I had insurance,
but I had no job and lived in another state away from my
family. I kept my abuse secret because I was embarrassed to
tell my family because I know they would have just said to
leave which was at the time not in my best interest and I
preferred to take my chances to keep my good health care.
One month after the
pregnancy, I packed up our bags and left while my partner,
who was a police officer, was at work. I never reported the
abuse because I knew eventually I would need child support
and I wanted him to keep his job to support our son. That
was nine years ago, a learning experience and a story I have
often shared with my clients.
I was a strong black woman
and I still am, and the lesson left with me to be cautious
with whom I became involved with in relationships.
Sometimes fighting back does not include just physical but
strategic as well. I learned through my abuse what to say
what not to say, what to do what not to do and a plan that
extended through the end how I could eventually leave the
relationship without possibly becoming a fatal statistic.
There is much help about surviving a domestic violent
relationship. If you are in a domestic violent
relationship, do ask for help, have a plan and never give
up. No one deserves to be abused --- no one. The first
step is prevention. If you find yourself with someone who
shows signs of violence and abuse leave as soon as
Here in Toledo, the YWCA has a program dedicated to domestic
violent victims. There are cell phone apps and there is
counseling for during and after the abuse to return to a
healthy emotional and mental state. Take a mental health
moment and assess your needs and how you can find safety and
comfort if you are a victim. You may reach the YWCA
domestic violence shelter at 419.241.3235 (business
hours), Emergency contact is 419.241.7386. The YWCA is
located at 1018 Jefferson Ave, downtown Toledo.
You may also contact the Family House Shelter for
housing and resources at 669 Indiana Ave, 419.242.5505.
Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Counselor,
National Certified Counselor and Certified Grief Recovery
Specialist. She is in private practice and accepting new
clients. www.joyofhealingtherapies.com Call or email to
make an appointment today. 419.277.8205 email@example.com