Today would have been the 16th birthday of my oldest niece. On February
4th 2010, her and her mother were killed in a case of domestic violence
by the man her mother had been married to for almost 10 years. Because
of this man's actions, my brother is without his daughter, children are
without their mother, I am without my niece, and on and on and on.
Tragedies like this one are so far reaching, I'm not sure we can ever
know the full impact of what happened on that horrible night.
So why am I writing about this on "thankful thursday"? There's not much
to be thankful for in this situation. Nothing redeeming in what
happened. It was 100% senseless and unnecessary. I tossed and turned
last night thinking about how I would write this. Why I felt like I HAD
to write this.
My niece's mom was in an abusive relationship. She tried to get out and
it ended in tragedy. There are many other women like her today. Still
living, still with a chance to get out and escape the hell they deal
with on a day to day basis.
So today I am thankful for this platform. This blog, where I can tell
their story, and shine some light on domestic violence. It's something
we don't like to think about. It's something we like to push under a rug
and pretend it's not happening. It's something that is hidden behind
sunglasses and baggy shirts and flimsy excuses.
It is NEVER okay for a man to hit a woman. It is NEVER okay for a family
to live in fear. There are ways to get out before the unthinkable
happens. If you are in an abusive relationship, don't assume it won't
get worse. Don't believe that they are doing it out of love, or because
you just make them so mad. THEY have a problem. And you need to get
away. If you see a friend or family member being abused, don't stay
quiet. Stand up and speak out. Sometimes people need the mirror shone in
their faces to realize the reality of their lives.
In honor of my niece's 16th birthday today, consider making a donation
to one of these fantastic organizations. Spare even one family the
tragedy that mine has gone through. Help even one woman seek refuge from
an abusive relationship. Simple abuse can turn deadly in an instant.
Please help support these organizations.
My brother has set up a scholarship fund for my niece. I don't have a
way to link for donations, but if you feel compelled to give, I can
connect you with the fund coordinator.