My Reflection

It’s hard to look at myself in the mirror these days.
I don’t look like the old me.
My days seem darker than usual.
And I can’t seem to focus on the things that used to be important to me.
Nothing matters anymore.
It’s like the things that I thought I couldn’t live without, now I don’t need.
Why is that?
I’m supposed to be getting dressed.
The funny thing is, I don’t know what for.
There’s a dress laid out for me, a blue one.
Anyone who knows me, knows I hate blue.
I don’t understand what’s going on.
I haven’t seen Terrance since yesterday.
I tried to call his cell, but I couldn’t get a dial tone.
I can’t believe he didn’t pay the phone bill!
But, somehow that doesn’t seem important either.
Matter of fact, everything seems to be a little off today.
My things aren’t were they usually are and my clothes are missing.
If he’s given them to another woman…
No, that doesn’t make any sense.
After everything that he’s done to me, I don’t see what giving my things away would benefit.
Besides, Terrance is more of a hands on type of guy.
Meaning he’s been torturing me for the last ten years.
I know torture seems a bit extreme, but it fits.
He’s gone as far as pushing me out of a moving car once.
I was in the hospital for two weeks after that.
He told me once that the only reason I’m still alive is because he hasn’t figured out where to put my body.
I know I seem nonchalant about this.
But when you hear it on a regular basis, it starts to sound like “good morning”.
What happened to me? Why can’t I just leave him?
There’s nothing here that I need nor want.
I can leave with the clothes on my back and never return.
No. He’ll only find me like last time.
And the punishment for that was almost unbearable.
It’s now ten and I feel like there’s an urgency for me to get ready now.
Getting up from the vanity table, I pick up my dress.
Wait, it’s not blue. It’s black. That’s better.
Black seems to be the right color for me. It’s slimming.
Shoes. Where are my shoes?
What the hell am I going to do for shoes?
There’s that feeling again. Shoes aren’t needed.
I look around my bedroom and it feels like this will be the last time I see it.
Suddenly the it begins to fade away.
WHAT THE HELL?
Am I losing it? Oh God, he’s finally ran me crazy.
I hear crying. But it’s not me.
Another room comes into focus and it’s full of people.
More crying. It’s a funeral.
How embarrassing. I’m at a funeral with no shoes on.
Who died?
The pastor says, “we are here to celebrate the home going of Laura Johnson”.
“What?” I yell. “I’m not dead!”
I rush to the front of the room and find my mother sitting there staring into space.
I’ve never seen her like that.
“Mama,” I say, kneeling in front of her.
But she doesn’t hear or see me.
I look to my brother.
“Chris.”
He can’t hear me.
All of this must be some mistake.
I turn to head up front and notice there’s no coffin.
In its place is a photo of me.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
I want to panic, but I can’t. I want to scream that I’m alive.
There’s no need.
Suddenly a peacefulness comes over me.
I turn back to my family, lean down and kiss my mother and then my brother on the cheek.
“I love you,” I whisper to each of them.
I walk back down the middle aisle into one of the most beautiful white light I have ever seen.
No coffin.
I guess he did find somewhere to put me.

My Journal

June 13, 2005, 6:35p.m.      I am beginning to think that he isn’t what he seems. He’s changing and I don’t understand why or what’s causing it. I barely noticed it until today. His attitude seems to be ever changing, his mood swings are fast. One minute he’s the man I met, who could make me smile. Then he turns into this person I don’t even know. He says he’s just stressed out. He apologized for raising his voice, but it didn’t seem sincere. I told him he can’t talk to me any way he wants and expect me to take it. Hell he must not know who he dealing with. I’ll leave his ass where he stands. Being single don’t mean a damn thing to me. I accepted his apology, but I made sure to let him know that under no circumstances will I tolerate or accept any mistreatment from him. I deserve better than that!

August 22, 2005, 2:30a.m.     It’s getting worse. Oh hell, it is worse! No need in lying to myself when I will be the only one reading this. I truly don’t know what to do. In the few months we’ve been together, I’ve fallen in love with this man. But I’m beginning to think that love won’t be enough. He tells me every day that he loves me. The problem is he doesn’t show it. I don’t know what to do. I know he can be a good man, I see that in him. I just wish he could see it in himself. I know that if he just sees how much I care for him and that I would never leave him no matter what, he wouldn’t second guess everything we go through.

I’ve never dated an older man, so I don’t know if our age difference is the reason why he’s acting so possessive. It’s almost like I can’t move without him moving. He’s here all the time. I can barely breathe when he’s in the room. I went to the library yesterday without him. Just to get some alone time. I’d been on the computer for a while, when I looked up and saw him sitting across the room, staring at me. I didn’t even see him come in. I don’t know what to think of that.

I’m sure that as time passes he will see that I am here for the long haul. I’m here until the day this earth stops spinning. He needs me. I love him. I pray for this man more than I pray for myself.

 

September 22, 2005, 6:58p.m.      I tried to leave him. I really did. Of course that didn’t last long. He hit me for the first time. I knew that this is not how it should be, so I broke up with him. He gave me a couple of days and showed up at my door. And I let him. I thought after that first time he would see that I was not going for the hitting. I wasn’t going to have it. As of yesterday, it got terribly worse. And to be honest I don’t know how to react. I feel like a part of me has died. A couple’s first time should be something special and romantic…this was not. I know what rape is, but I didn’t think a man would do something like that to someone he was in a relationship with. Why would he? There is really no need to do something so awful. It shouldn’t happen to anyone for that matter.

And now I am sitting here not sure what to do. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. I feel like something in me has died and I will never get it back. After all of this, I still accepted his apology. How stupid can I be?

I try to hide the fact that I cry all the time. Blaming it on my allergies. The first few months of a relationship is not supposed to be like this. It’s supposed to be new and exciting. I’m supposed to feel beautiful and sexy. Not…damaged.

October 31, 2005, 3:00a.m.      I don’t think I have ever been this scared in my life. It’s Halloween and I’m more terrified than I have ever been. For some reason he thinks I’m cheating on him. Really?! Who the hell would want me? No one pays attention to me anyway. It started over something as simple as seeing me talking to a friend. Even though he didn’t say anything in front of my friend I could tell he was angry. When we got back to his house all hell broke loose. Literally. He started on me from the time we walked into the front door all the way to the bedroom. I knew this was the night I would die. But I didn’t. I left quietly while he slept. I don’t know when he will realize that I’m gone, but I couldn’t lay there next to him after what happened tonight. I know I can’t go back, but I feel like I can’t stay away from him. In spite of everything, he needs me. I truly believe that he will change and be a good man, if he would just realize how much I love him. He was the man for me. He told me that he was my husband and I trusted and believed him. Now I am stuck in a relationship that I don’t think I will make it out of. At this very moment, I want to die. Help me Lord!

November 4, 2005, 12:00a.m.      It is officially my 26th birthday. I can’t say that I am exactly happy about my birthday this year. I remember being excited about my birthday, but not this one. I have to admit that I had no plans of even seeing this one. He says that he has a surprise for me. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, fear was my first reaction…not excitement. That’s a horrible realization. I have asked this question so many times: how did I get here? How did I end up with a man that evokes pure fear in me? Not love, lust, longing, and don’t even think of happiness. He only brings fear into my life and he knows it. In fact, that’s what he wants. The last fight we had, he actually said, “I been waiting for this!” Really? This is what you have been waiting on? You have been waiting to whip my ass? Wow! We have been together for six months now. SIX MONTHS!! How can this happen in such a short period of time. How did I let it happen? Why do I continue to let it happen? Confession: I am deathly afraid of him.

November 6, 2005, 10:30p.m.      I sit alone in the dark in my bedroom as I type this. The only thing that lights me is the light from my computer screen. First and foremost, I will never celebrate another birthday. He has ruined that little bit of happiness. To think that he couldn’t just let me have this, shows what type of person he really is. But it’s too late for me now. I have let him completely take over my life in such a short time and now I don’t know how to get out. I’ve let him dictate what makes me happy, which is nothing now. He has control over everything in my life and now I have nothing left. This birthday will dwell in my nightmares for a lifetime. For him to do this vile thing to me and think it’s okay…I don’t know what to think or say about it. I feel so hollow inside. Is this what death is?

November 22, 2005, 12:00a.m.      It’s been little while since my last post. What am I going to do? My mother has told me to stay away from him. But I can’t. She doesn’t understand how much he needs me. He will soon understand how much I love him and see that the way he’s treating me is wrong and will stop. My mother doesn’t understand that he really does love me. He just gets upset sometimes. And I mean what is she mad about, she has no proof of what is going on. Why would she even try to keep us apart? If we can make it through this rough part of the relationship, I know he will be a good man. I see goodness in him. I just have to get him to see it in himself. I know I can change him. I know it!

November 23, 2005, 1:13a.m.      I really thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse than they already are. I was wrong. You know the answer to some of the simplest questions tell so much about a person. Someone asked me how I felt today and the first word that was on the tip of my tongue was not “fine”. It was “dirty”. I don’t know where that came from. I use to be a cheerful person. If a stranger spoke to me, then I would speak back. Now, I find that I look down when I walk. I don’t even recall when that started happening. I think I’m becoming ill. It seems as if all my strength has been sucked out of me. One minute I’m fine and the next minute I can barely stand up. I don’t understand it, but it’s been happening for the last three days. My biggest fear is that I am slowly dying.

November 30, 2005, 7:30p.m.      I have been sitting here thinking about all the people I have cut out of my life. I’ve noticed that I literally have no one to talk too. My best friend is gone. The last time I saw him he was pulling away from my house. Somehow I knew I wouldn’t see him again. He said he would see me later, but something in me said that I wouldn’t. I noticed how he acted toward my boyfriend and this was their first time meeting. I haven’t seen my best friend for two months now and I have to admit that I miss him. I could really use his shoulder right now. I would give anything to talk to him right now. I don’t have anyone…

December 5, 2005, 9:33p.m.      I have been on bed rest for the last three days and to be honest I feel absolutely no better. He has come to see me every day like he’s so worried about me and I can tell that he doesn’t. I had hoped that seeing me sick like this would soften him up. It hasn’t. He told me before he left tonight that staying away from him this long can only make things worse for me. He wouldn’t dare touch me in mother’s house. She’d shoot him where he stood within the blink of an eye. To be honest, I think my body is shutting down. There is no other explanation for it. The doctor couldn’t tell me what’s wrong. So it has to be only one answer. I’m dying…I know it! And I’m soo scared.

December 11, 2005, 4:25a.m.      I am really not in the mood to sleep tonight. I guess that’s why I have been up all night. I am glad to say that I have been feeling better. Not back to 100%, but better. Unfortunately, I was told that this is what depression feels like. I thought I was dying. It was depression all along. They gave a prescription for some kind of medicine that I can’t even pronounce. I’ve been doing a lot of praying–and I do mean a lot–that I make it through this stronger than I started. I have to admit that I thought he was poisoning me. How sinister is that? I have had so much time to think about my life and where I expected to be. And I never thought that I would end up here. I had plans. So what happened to them?

December 12, 2005, 8:02p.m.      Today I feel a little relieved. I don’t know if I should be happy about this or what. I am just numb of all feelings that deal with him. He was arrested today. For what, I don’t have the slightest idea. Some would say that this is my way out. Maybe it is. But am I strong enough to take it?

December 18, 2005, 9:47p.m.      I applied to college. I have been trying to find the right school to go to in order to finish my degree. Unfortunately, I found out that my credits will not transfer over. So if I plan to go to this school I would basically have to start over. I really don’t want to do that. I don’t know what to do. But I really want to try this. I still have time to finish school and go into my career. So, what could it hurt? I’m starting school in January!

December 22, 2005, 5:24p.m.      Well, it’s been a week and a half since he was arrested. He really doesn’t have a way to contact me unless he gets his mother to call me on three way. And even then the conversations are short. I have to say that I do feel like I can breathe a little more since he’s been gone. I admit that I do miss him. I truly don’t know why, but I do. He wants me to come visit him. I don’t see how he figures that is going to happen, I don’t have a car. And I don’t know how to ride a bus. I haven’t been on a bus since I was 8 years old with my grandmother. If I get on a bus I might end up in Arkansas some damn where. Honestly, it’s not just that, I don’t want to see him. I like it better when he’s not around. I need to figure out a way to make this permanent.

December 25, 2005, 12:30a.m.      MERRY CHRISTMAS! I just finished watching my brother open all of his gifts and I really did enjoy it. I heard myself laugh tonight and I haven’t done that in a long time. But watching his face light up when he opened the stuff that Santa (our mom and me) got him, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh at how he was screaming. Now he’s roped me into sitting up with him half the night to play his new game system. I forgot about the good part of my life for a while. The part where there’s no one radiating anger…only happiness. It is really a Merry Christmas.

December 31, 2006, 12:02a.m.      Happy New Year! I decided to spend my new year at home this year. It’s a new start for me in more ways than one. I’m trying not to think of how I spent my last new year. It was not happy. I should have taken that as how horrible my year would be. But this is a new beginning for me. I just have to figure out how to take my life back. He comes home on the 2nd. Two days. I don’t want to see him, but I also know I won’t be able to stay away from him. I want my life back, but I don’t think I will be able to stand up to him.

January 3, 2006, 4:31p.m.      He came home yesterday. Of course the first thing he wanted was sex and I never was able to deny him that. But this time something happened that has never happened before. After it was over, I cried. I have only done that when he hurt me it’s never been like this. But afterwards I just broke down crying. I know he didn’t hear me or maybe he just didn’t care. I just know that I have to do something. I can’t go on like this.

January 10, 2006, 2:30p.m.      He’s not too happy with me starting school. But then again he also isn’t too happy with me working either. I thought he would see that I am doing this for us. Can’t he see that this can only make life better for both of us? I told him my major for school and he looked at me like I had lost my mind. But I told him that this is something that I have to do. He doesn’t like it but I have to do this. I have too. As far as the job situation, he goes to work with me every night. He says that it’s to make sure that I get home safely, but I don’t believe that at all. He sits and watches me. He doesn’t walk around at all. Just sit and watch. I work at a casino so no one notices him. No one except me.

January 18, 2006, 2:00a.m.      My boss asked me to come into the office today. I guess someone did notice. He asked me if I was any danger. He noticed a man had been watching me and wanted to know if there was anything wrong. I honestly couldn’t say anything. But I had to tell him something. I eventually told him everything was fine. I mean what the hell was I gonna tell him? “Oh, that’s just my boyfriend”. I couldn’t tell him that. But now I have to figure out something because eventually they’re not going to let him continue to do this or either I’m going to lose my job. I just started working here and I really like it. But I know trying to get him to understand this is going to start an argument. And I don’t feel like going through that.

January 26, 2006, 9:35p.m.      I had to take a day off work today. I’m not feeling well at all. Scratch that, now I’m starting to lie to myself. I couldn’t go to work today because we got into a fight. He told me to quit my job because he didn’t like how my boss was acting toward me. The job that I was originally hired to do has been put on the back burner. I still do the job, but now my boss has me working in the office with him. He (my boss) told me that he needed my help with a computer program that he didn’t know how to use. I’ve been working in the office for over a week now. I truly want to believe that it’s because he needs my help and not because he knows what’s going on. I mean sometimes he doesn’t even have me working, he just wants me to sit in the office and talk with him. I pray to God that he hasn’t picked up on what’s really going on.

February 7, 2006, 10:00a.m.      School is coming along pretty well! I am really enjoying it. I may sound like the biggest nerd right now, but I LOVE everything I am learning. Psychology is so interesting. Even when I don’t have to study I am still reading and doing research. I am actually excited about class, tests, and research papers. This is what I am supposed to be doing! I can feel it. I know I have some years to go, but to think that one day I will be a psychiatrist is amazing to me. To be able to help someone with their problems and to know that I made them feel better about whatever they are going through is something else. WOW! I am so hyped!

February 15, 2006, 4:00p.m.      I am so tired of my feelings going up and down. One minute I’m on top of the world, the next I just want to die. I really thought that everything was going well. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and to be honest I really thought that it would be one of those every blue moon romantic days that we have. It wasn’t. In fact, it was one of the worst weekends I have ever had to live through. I went to spend the weekend with him and just knew that he was going to have something nice planned. I think I really psyched myself up for it. His niece and nephew was there also, which I don’t mind at all, I am crazy about them and they about me. But what he did is something that I will never ever forget. He wanted to make love and told him no. I mean really. The kids were up. He could at least wait until they went to bed. He didn’t! While they were in the next room watching TV he made me have sex with him. This time I fought back. What if one of the kids walked in? I tried not to scream but he was hurting my beyond anything that I could possibly take. I do know they heard us; well they heard me, because his nephew came to the door and asked what was wrong with me. He didn’t even stop he just told his nephew to go back and watch TV. When he was done with me he made me stay in the bedroom the whole night, because he didn’t want the kids to see how I looked. I really never thought that he would be able to top the things he has done to me, but time after time things continue to get worst. My Valentine’s Day was not filled dinner, drinks, and love. It was a fucking nightmare. And now I can never get that night out of my mind. I don’t think I ever will. The last little strength I had, that last piece I had saved up just for me he took. I’m totally gone.

March 10, 2006, 11:51p.m.      I’m still in school, but I don’t enjoy it as much. I don’t plan on quitting, but the enthusiasm is gone. I’m not quite happy with anything anymore. I just kind of go through my day and hope not to draw any attention to myself. If I just stay out of the way, maybe I will just disappear and no one will notice that I’m even gone. Lately, I have been thinking about the type of influence I have on the people around me. Maybe influence is not the right word. But I wonder if I wasn’t here would anyone notice. Would they look up like a year after I’m gone and say “does anybody know what happened to Laura? I am going to have to call her”. You never know what you bring into a person’s life until it’s too late. It’s too late for me.

March 22, 2006, 9:06p.m.      I really thought things couldn’t get any worse than they already are. I was wrong! Things are escalating to levels that I never thought they would reach. Now he absolutely doesn’t care what he does to me. Every day is a battle with him. I literally have no more fight left in me. This last fight proves this. I didn’t even fight back. To be perfectly I don’t even feel anything anymore.

March 31, 2006, 3:00a.m.      I noticed a couple of days ago that I’m changing. My anger is starting to come out in ways that it never has before. I think I am slowly turning into him. Yesterday I hit him for no reason at all. He said something with the slightest hint of sarcasm and I slammed his head against the door panel in the car. What truly surprised me was that he didn’t hit me back nor was I afraid that he would. I really don’t like this side of me. It just seems like there is this huge build up and the only release I have is hurting him in some way. Just writing this makes me smile to think that I’m causing him just a little bit of pain.

April 10, 2006, 6:19p.m.      I truly cannot take any more of this. The sight of him makes me sick. I can’t stand him touching me. Our fighting has gotten so bad that I just know that he will eventually kill me if I don’t get out now. I think the very last straw has finally been pulled. He has really begun to do things to me that hurt to my very soul. Last night was the first time I had physically tried to kill myself. I know it will be worst if he does it. I mean he has already told me I will never leave him alive, so why not just go ahead and get it over with. I am literally at the end of my rope with no other place to go.

 

April 27, 2006, 9:00p.m.      Now there is no way for me to hide the bruises. I know my mother knew what was going on, but I had really psyched myself out that she didn’t. Now there is no hiding it. My mother is livid! The damn fool got one phone call in jail and he called me. My mother answered my phone. She told him she was going to kill him. An officer told her she couldn’t say that over the phone because the call was being recorded. She said “I don’t give a damn, just let him out of jail and y’all won’t have to worry about his ass anymore!” She also told him that this would be his last day on earth if she sees him. Right now, more than anything I am ashamed. Everyone knows now. My face is swollen, I have a black eye and now I can’t sleep without seeing him. Now he has taken over my dreams. I won’t ever get away from him. He won’t leave me alone.

May 25, 2006, 8:56p.m.      It’s been a little while since my last entry, but I had some things to clear up. I had to leave my job. Our last fight was pretty bad and I had to take some days off, but I was not there long enough to take the days. So I had to resign. I really enjoyed working there, but I couldn’t go back to work looking like I do. I finally broke up with him. Unfortunately, we were face to face when I did it. And he didn’t agree with the breakup. We were in my car this time when he attacked me. This time I truly wanted him to just finish me off. To hear myself scream that way is something I will never forget. All he kept saying was that he had been waiting to do this. Between the punches, I saw a man walk by my car. He didn’t have to jump in and help, he could have just called the police. This time though I just knew that I would not be found. That they would eventually find my body weeks later in that park. He dragged me from my car and told me that we were going into the woods to have sex. I knew I wasn’t coming out. I had to lie to him about going to get a room. I told him we could get a hotel room close by. Then I went to the bank and told him that I had to get some money. All l can say is that God works!! The man that parked next to us in the bank parking lot was my brother’s uncle. He looked right at me and didn’t say a word. He walked right pass me. It was like he didn’t recognize me. To this day I believe that was God giving me a way out. I followed him in the bank and asked him to help me. One of the bank tellers called the police and they arrested him on the spot. The last thing he said to me when he was in the police car was he was going to get me. I know this will not be over until he kills me.

June 1, 2006, 10:02a.m.      “I’m gon kill you bitch!” That was the voicemail I had on my phone this morning. He’s out of jail. The arresting officer told me that I didn’t have to press charges, that the state will do it. LIE!! No charges were pressed. They let his ass out of jail. After a few days he’s out walking the streets again. But now he stands out in front of my house. My mother keeps trying to get him to come in the yard. All she keeps saying is, “If he steps one foot in this yard I can kill him.” But he just stands across the street and watches the house. I have a friend who told me to get a restraining order. I really don’t think that’s going to help. If he wants to get me I don’t think a piece of paper will stop him. But I have made a very important decision. I am never going back to him…EVER! I have to take care of me for once and get myself together. I am so sad all the time and I just break down crying for no reason. I need to work on me. God please help me!

Author Spotlight – Simone “ShePhoenix” Higginbotham

I have always wanted to do more author spotlights. When I heard about this writer and what her book was about, I knew she had to be the first author under the spotlight. I give you, Simone “She Pheonix” Higginbotham!

 

       Simone O. Higginbotham, also known as ShePhoenix, is the Owner of SheProductions, LLC, ReBirth Magazine, Cool & Casual Sunday PHAT Girl Takeover Brand and a Community Volunteer. The community activist, AmeriCorps Alumni, and a 45 year old divorced and single mother of one, is a woman with ambition to make it to the top! Raised by a single mother in a bad neighborhood, she never allowed her situation to dictate her purpose or destiny. Simone does her best to be a pillar in the community, but also realizes that she is a work in progress. She admits that she has flaws and may not be what others want her to be, but she is all that she can be and loves herself, flaws, curves, and all.

As a determined, hardworking self-starter and obviously a woman who wears many hats, she could not stop and knew what she had to do to succeed in the business industry so she began to write her vision and made it plain. She immediately began developing her own brand, SheProductions, LLC. She has made many strides and developed great relationships with other companies, a rapport with her community, and now has established colleagues that she has partnered with to not only put her company on the map, but unselfishly help theirs also.

Simone is definitely moving in the right direction and has her eye on the prize. She feels giving up is not an option and will not let anything stop her. By stepping out on faith, Simone created ReBirth Magazine, a vehicle to give a voice to the voiceless. The third Anniversary of ReBirth Magazine will be celebrated on August of this year. A few more of Simone’s greatest accomplishments are releasing her first novel Caged by Words-Something like a Memoir on April 12, 2015. The novel details the emotional, mental and verbal abuse she endured during her marriage. She is currently expanding the PHAT Girl Brand by building the movement to encourage plus-size women to be confident and comfortable in their own skin. Although PHAT Girl Brand I her newest endeavor it will include events and opportunities for the Plus-Size woman to express herself in a positive manner for herself and other women like herself.

 

The Prelude…

God will I ever be happy? Will I ever be loved? I am just so tired of the way that I am living, but what can I do? I don’t want to be alone. Oh Lord! In actuality, I am alone. He is never home hardly, just long enough to bathe and dress.

In my head if I walk away, it makes me a failure and entirely my fault. I can hear my family now; Sydney had a good husband and couldn’t keep him happy. Doesn’t she know how lucky she is that a guy that looks like Kenneth would give her a second look, let alone marry her? I can remember when we first started seeing each other. They wondered how did this fat girl get this guy to date her. I wondered the same thing myself and still do this day.

Let’s face it. I have nothing to offer any other man and it is best that I hold on to what I have. I tried everything under the sun to get this man to see my heart and who I am behind all this weight. God please help to get where I need to be for Kenneth to love me and want me the way I need him to! I am just so tired of feeling bad every day of my life.

 

ShePhoenix Links:

Website: http://sheproductions10.wixsite.com/sheproductions

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Karen’s Story

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing story of Karen Elaine Smith, a teacher at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, CA. Smith taught a special education class at the school. Around 10:30a.m., on April 10th, Mrs. Smith’s estranged husband, Cedric Anderson walked into the school office, after a failed attempt at getting into the school through a side door. In the office, he told them that he had to drop something off to his wife. Anderson entered Karen’s classroom and shot her several times. He reloaded the gun once (it only held six rounds). Without saying a word, Anderson turned the gun on himself. An 8- and 9-year-old; both boys were caught by stray bullets. The 8-year-old, Jonathan Martinez, died. The 9-year-old, Nolan Brandy was wounded.

Smith and Anderson had only been married a few months before separating. The two dated four years before walking down the aisle. Smith’s mother said of Anderson, “He always showed his good side; until they got married. Then he changed.” Smith had heard rumors of Anderson’s dark side, but she paid them no mind. After all, he never showed an inkling of being dangerous. According to the police, Anderson had a criminal history of domestic violence and weapons charges that covered the span of 1982-2013. He was never convicted for any of the charges.

After the couple married in January of earlier this year, all that changed. Anderson began to accuse Smith of cheating. He also began threatening to kill her. Smith even told her mother about Anderson’s sudden attitude change. In March, Smith decided that she had to get out.

Anderson has been branded as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, in the papers. The police explained that no one at the school knew of Smith’s marital problems. Had they known they would have never let Anderson go to her classroom. When he signed in at the office, personnel said that he didn’t seem agitated. In fact, he seemed calm. Now, we all know that when a person makes up their mind to do something, that’s when they’re most calm. Anderson’s mind had been completely made up about what he was going to do.

Smith leaves behind her children, family and friends, and a community to mourn her death. Everyone described her as loving and caring. Her mother spoke of Smith as ‘an angel who has gone on to gain her reward with the Lord’.

Gregory Green Serial Abuser & Killer

                   

 

In 2016, on the morning of Sept. 21st, Faith Green lost everything. Her four children, Kaleigh Green, 4; Koi Green, 5; Kara Allen, 17; and Chadney Allen, 19, died at the hands of Faith’s ex-husband, Gregory Green. Kaleigh and Koi were put in the car and died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Chadney and Kara were shot, execution style, in front of their mother. Faith Green was cut across the face with a box cutter, shot in the foot and tied up. She was the only survivor.

According to prosecutors, Green called the police and told them that he’d just killed his entire family. When the police arrived, Green was sitting on the porch. The police went into the home and found Faith Green tied up in the basement with the bodies of her eldest two children next to her. Her youngest children were found in their beds.

Believe it or not, this is not Gregory Green’s first time on trial for murder. Green spent 16 years in prison for the murder of his first wife, Tonya Clayton Green. She was six months pregnant at the time. Tonya and her unborn child was murdered in 1991. At the time, Tonya Green was trying to leave her husband. A close friend said that Tonya told her that Gregory was acting different. The last time Tonya was heard from, she told her friend after church that she was going home and pack. Tonya, was never heard from again.

Gregory stabbed his first wife multiple times and then called the police and waited. His first wife was also going to leave him. But before she could leave, he killed her. Like Tonya, Faith was planning to leave Gregory also. She’d filed for divorce and in 2013 she tried to get a restraining order, but was denied by the judge.

Faith had no clue that Gregory had been in prison for the murder of his wife. I doubt had she known, she would have married him. He’d only been out of prison two years, before they were married. Personally, I do wonder if he even told her he had been in jail at all. If he had, what reason did he give her for his incarceration. But all of this is a small dot compared to what ultimately happened to her family because of him. Mrs. Green will forever blame herself and him for what happened. It’s a human trait to blame yourself. But I do hope that she can find a way to go on keep the memory of all her children alive. I watched the video of her facing the man who ruined her life (the link is below) and she was incredibly strong. I pray for her and hope that she can find a way to somehow carry on with her life.

Gregory Green was sentenced to a mandatory two years, followed by 45 to 100 years in prison. He’ll be 97 years old when he’ll be eligible for parole.

 

Links:

Faith Green: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRkh8W27whs

Tips for Intervening If You Witness Domestic Violence

I read this article and thought there were some great tips listed. I’ve had to intervene in a couple of domestic violence situations and I probably only followed a couple of the tips listed. If you witness a domestic violence situation say something. Don’t walk by as if it’s not your problem. The link for the article will be provided at the bottom to visit the website.

More than 12 million people in the U.S. are affected by domestic violence each year. While domestic violence typically happens behind closed doors, in some cases it does happen in a public space or around friends or family members, meaning that other people may witness or be aware of the abuse. When we overhear or see something that doesn’t feel right, it can be difficult to know how to react. So, here are some tips and suggestions for what you might do to intervene and interrupt that violence.


If you witness abuse in public, it’s important to take into account your own safety as well as the survivor’s. There is safety in numbers, so gathering a group of people to stand nearby and either verbally or physically intervene is one option. Contacting the authorities is another option. You might even record the incident with your phone to pass to law enforcement if the survivor chooses to press charges (keep in mind, however, that some survivors choose not to take legal action).

If you’re hearing suspicious noises from your neighbors, one option is to speak with the survivor in person the next day. You might greet them with a question like, ”Hey, I heard some stuff last night. Are you okay?” Make sure to approach them in a safe, private space, listen to them carefully and believe what they have to say. Never blame them or ask what they did to “provoke” their partner. Let them know the abuse isn’t their fault, and that they deserve support. You might give them The Hotline’s contact information or direct them to a local crisis line. If you are ever concerned for the survivor’s immediate safety (or your own), you do have the right to contact the police. If the survivor decides to press charges against the abusive partner, your statement can be one way to help them document what they’ve experienced.

At The Hotline, we often hear from family members who want to physically remove the survivor from the abusive partner because they won’t leave themselves. We strongly discourage doing this because that action, like the abuse, encroaches on the survivor’s autonomy. It’s understandable to want to step in and take care of someone you love, but it is important to remember that they are the only person who can decide what is right for them; this is a choice they must make on their own. Abuse is so difficult to witness, but you can’t “save” them or “fix” the situation. The hardest thing to realize is that even with your help, some people won’t ever leave the relationship, and they do have the right to make that choice. You also have the right to express your concern, offer support, ask them to talk about a safety plan with you, and refer them to those who can help.

But, with all of that being said, it’s still important to have hope. On average, it takes domestic violence survivors seven times to leave the relationship for good, so if it’s physically and emotionally safe for you, try to continue offering support in any way you can. Believing and supporting them can be a major factor in helping them stay safe or helping them find empowerment to leave when they’re ready.

Is someone you know experiencing relationship abuse? We’re here to help! Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) or chat here on our website between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.

Article Link: http://www.thehotline.org/2017/05/intervening-domestic-violence/