I want you to think for a moment. I want you to reflect on the last time you were in a room with at least 20 or more people. For every minute, at least 20 people are physically abused. Keep reflecting. Out of that 20, 1 out of the 3 are women have experienced physical violence from their partner. 72% of murder-suicide are by people in relationships. Sadly, 94% of those murder victims are women. Even if it were a man, it would still be sad. https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS These heart breaking statistics go on and on.
I had the honor and privilege of interviewing someone I love, Tiffany Shaw, for the month of October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month). She thought that her prayers would changed her lover. Would it change him, or would she be the one changed? Here is Tiffany’s story.
Tiffany’s occupation is a caregiver. She loves helping people. Her words were “it is a blessing and a cursing”. She and her lover were childhood sweethearts. After reuniting on Facebook, they started back dating. In the beginning, things were good, but “things quickly changed.” Tiffany said there were signs in the beginning, but she ignored them. I asked her what were some of the signs he displayed. Initially, it was anger. She felt that she could pray the bad behavior away. If she prayed, she thought it would turn him to become a better man.
Tiffany was confused by the change in his behavior because he’d never acted that way. He began to question her about her past relationships. Whenever she answered him, he became upset. She felt if was from his insecurities and jealousy. It did not take long before the behavior escalated to physical abuse. Tiffany remembers the first time he put his hands on her. Just as before, he asked her about one of her previous relationships. He got upset and started choking her. He apologized, and she accepted it. She said it would be the “first of many times that it happened.”
The manipulation and toxic love continued. He called her ugly, whore, dumb, slow, and told her she acted like an old woman. He used the words “if you love me, you wouldn’t leave me. If you leave, you are doing the same as others.” For Tiffany, she had a point to prove. She wanted to prove to him and herself that she was better than the other women that had been in his life. She was in it, committed to the relationship, and committed to him. He used the words “you made me do this.” Tiffany began to believe all the words he spoke to her. She thought, maybe, she shouldn’t have confronted him about his cheating. She said he was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Tiffany said if a person were to see him in person the person wouldn’t believe the things he did to her behind closed doors.
Even with the toxic love, she accepted his behavior. She accepted his cheating. Because of the death of her father at an early age, Tiffany desired and longed for the love of a man. He did certain things for her children. Tiffany has a set of twins from a previous relationship (Chloe and Camden). She was convinced this man was the one. She felt this was the love from a man that she was missing in her life.
I asked Tiffany to recall one of the worst incidents. She had no problem recalling that horrible day. They’d gone to the convenience store. Tiffany didn’t want to go inside, but he had her to go in to buy the items he wanted. To keep down confusion or a possible argument, she went inside. As she was in line to check out, there was a man in the line behind her. He told her she had something on her back. Politely, the man took it off for her shirt. When she got back to the car, her ex asked her why the man touched her butt. She told him the man did no such thing. Immediately, he punched her in the mouth. Tiffany was shocked because he’d never physically abused her in public before. At home, she’d already been choked. She’d already been punched in the eye. Now, his anger was escalating.
Her lip was swollen very badly. She had no choice but to go to the emergency room to get it seen about. As most domestic violence victims, she took up for him and denied what happened to cause her to have a swollen lip. She told the hospital that she and her son were trying to catch the dog. He jumped, and his head hit her lip. She was embarrassed and didn’t want to go home. She would have to face her children. He’d hit her before. Usually, it was places that couldn’t be seen. Once, he hit her in the eye. She was able to cover up all the other bruises with makeup. There was no makeup to cover a busted lip.
When she arrived home from the emergency room, 11 year old Camden was outside waiting on her. The lies continued. Tiffany told them she had an accident. Her children had never seen him actually hit her, but they heard the arguments. They did not believe what she said. They knew what she said wasn’t true.
The thing is that he would never hit her while her children were around. One day, he didn’t know they were home. Earlier that day, Tiffany checked the mailed. Inside, there was a cash app card. The name on the card said “my king.” Tiffany was furious. She said it meant that the other woman knew where they lived, and it was a sign of total disrespect.Tiffany called him and confronted him. When he arrived home, he was furious for being confronted. He began to yell and attack her. When she asked him was he going to continue to do this with the kids being upstairs, he immediately stopped. She went upstairs to check on her children. Instead, the twins asked her how she was. She put on a pretend face and said she was ok. Her son told her that her behavior scared him. He’d heard them arguing. Yet, she walked upstairs and acted like nothing happened. He said he was scared that his mom would do something to her lover. She knew her son was right. She knew that she had to get out of it. She didn’t want to be killed, and she didn’t want to kill him.
At this point, Tiffany had begun to fight him back. When she fought him back, the licks were worse. Months passed, and the fighting continued, Tiffany didn’t want her children to continue to be exposed to this behavior.In order to protect them, Tiffany had the twins to move in with her mom next door.
When Camden spoke those words to her, it was an eye opening moment. She had been with this man from the time they were in second grade. When that particular incident happened, they were in eight grade. Tiffany said that she didn’t want her children to go to high school and her still being in that situation. This is when her prayers began to change. Her prayer went from her asking God to help her change this man. Instead, her new prayers to God was that she needed him gone by August 4 (when school started).
She asked him about ANOTHER woman. He got upset and went outside to leave the house. When he went outside, his tire was on flat. He came back in. He said to her. “You know what. I’m so sick of you. I hate you. Everyday that I’m with you, I get weaker and weaker. You don’t think of nobody but you and your dumb ass kids. I hate I even came down here.” (After they reconnected, he’d moved from Memphis to live with her.) Tiffany didn’t even argue back with him. He was upset that she didn’t. He got up and started choking her. This time, she had no fight left in her. She felt “nothing.” In her mind, she knew she was going to call 911. This was something she’d never done before. Tiffany knew that she had to be smart about it to make sure she was safe. She apologized and said she was sorry. She hugged him, and that solidified her goodbye. When he left, she did call 911. Would he ask for forgiveness? Would she forgive him as she had done previously in the past? Would he change? Would she take him back?