As an advocate I will educate & motivate victims on the importance of telling someone that you have been or are in an unsafe environment. Let me be the first to tell you that if you have been abused you are not alone and it was never your fault. Black lipstick conversations is here to help women and men find their courage to speak up and break the silence about abuse. Even as an advocate I need and want inspiration and advice. The fight never stops I just gets easier when you meet other people with something in common.
Yesterday marked the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) also known as Intimate Partner Violence. What does it mean to you? Are you a survivor? I am a resident of Massachusetts and this year we have had a total of 19 People, 3 Men and 16 Women lose their lives to Domestic Violence by way of homicide. Our last victim was just one week ago. So I’ll ask again, what does DVAM mean to you? You may not have been abused or you may not know someone who has either way Domestic Violence is real and it is a problem. We can’t and we should not turn our backs to the issues that we hear or know of that occur every minute, every second of the day. Domestic Violence is an epidemic that has and will effect many. Do you know that even while reading this post that someone is being abused? Or how about the fact that I wrote this last night and God only knows how many people were in danger or were in an unsafe situation. What’s more scarier than that is how many incidents were never reported to the police and how many people did not get help. There are many reasons why someone who has been victimized did not speak up. There are so many reasons that it is too much to write. But, I will say this regardless of why a person didn’t find the courage to speak up you still have to admit that help is needed. But how? Well, I will tell you that if you are being abused there is help for you and if you know someone who is suffering from being abused you can report the abuse too. Better yet, you should.
Domestic violence is not just an issue for the victim, it is a problem for the children who may be involved. When children become witnesses to domestic violence it can and will scar them for life. Domestic Violence takes away their innocence. Domestic Violence will forever alter the inner soul of a child from properly flourishing. Oh and did you forget about your family members and friends? If you know that you are truly loved then you should know that for every time you didn’t leave, for every time that you kept silent and for every time you went back to your abuser, your loved ones were hurting too.
I am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and trust me it damn sure wasn’t easy making it through the storms. Hell, a lot of times there was fire and the fuel was always him. It’s easy for me to tell you that you did nothing wrong. It’s easy for me to say that you’re not alone. But, let me say this. I can reassure you that you will know and believe it the moment that you decide to tell someone about your abuse and start the process of changing your environment.
The rewards of letting your burdens go, peaceful freedom,salvation, perseverance, love, motivation, self- care, and advocacy is attainable. You just have to get your heart and your mind in sync with each other. Stop finding a variety of reasons that you think are more important than your well-being, stop thinking about the good times that you once had in your relationship (those moments left the second you felt pain, insulted or fear), believe in yourself and love yourself enough to get help.
Let me be honest with you, it took me a long time before I decided to speak up and start addressing the heinous, foul and disrespectful things that my child’s father did to me. I seriously can’t believe, that you can create a life with a person who turns around and violates you. They strip you of everything that made you the person you were. What I thought was love was actually sabotage and treachery. Making the decision to tell the truth and to stop hiding those “dirty little” secrets, is the very reason of why I wrote this blog. My story of how he would beat me for the littlest things and how he was not a man but a boy who wasn’t ready and appropriately prepared for life (by his own undoing) is the premise and foundation of my movement.
To anyone who is suffering from abuse and afraid to speak up there is help and healing. Take it me from me…I know.
Black Lipstick Conversations Inc together with Inspiration for Tomorrow Inc are proud to present: F.E.N.C.E. (Freedom, Expression, Nonjudgmental, Courage, Enthusiastic) an event to raise awareness and inform the community of the effects of Intimate Partner Violence and the importance of change, by saving lives.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is the time where organizations across the nation come together and campaign for the rights of victims and survivors in our community. Through our core mission we will promote safety and healing from Intimate Partner Violence by encouraging individuals to speak up and break the cycle of abuse.
I will not share images & links to my page about the #altright #aryan #panism news . If you ask me, the media is playing a huge part in all of this bullshit. Sharing their stories just keeps them relevant. I refuse to sensationalize the existence & behaviors of racial hatred and ignorance. I do not support racism of any sorts on any level. What happened in #charlottesvile was a disgusting reality of how #America was founded and still operates to this day. From #slavery to the #civilrightsmovement. Don’t be in denial. #racism is real and still exists. Just remember that under those hoods & white cloaks disguised the faces of many. Their your neighbors, law-makers, judges, doctors, teachers your local corner store owners and the list goes on. Not everyone who is of Caucasian descent is racist and that is a welcoming and more importantly comforting fact. And to anyone who is not racist and has genuine love in their hearts, I love you too and I appreciate you.
When I saw the video I was stunned and agitated. I asked myself a few questions as did many American people probably did. But there was a very important question and that was “Where’s the government?” I’ll tell you where they were. They were indoors watching and knowing that this problem was afront. Don’t be blind to the foolishness. These people had a permit from the City as a legal protest and our wonderful president stated that they followed the law of having a right to assemble, but I thought the violation of civil rights was illegal? Didn’t you think that too? Who is the clerk who processed the application and did they inform the FBI? Isn’t that the protocol?
You want change, then stop the bullshit. African-Americans are involved in two wars at the same damn time. Wars against ourselves and a racial injustice that we all have been born into from the inception of the slave trade. Start uniting for peace. Go to school to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a home owner and gain control of our neighborhoods and our children. Run for a seat in your town, city & state elections. Band together in every Neighborhood and create your neighborhood organization and starting hosting Activities and events that promote education & safety. Employment opportunities. Put yourselves in a better position as a whole, financially. It takes money to fight.
Taking down the statues of slave holders, slave traders who were prominent people in our society i.e Former US Presidents and War Heroes is a clear message that the citizens of America no longer want to be associated with evil and America has glorified the heinous, sick culture of America’s history.
The protest which was organized by Jason Kessler was clearly to promote hate. Wake the hell up people this entire rally was ORGANIZED CRIME.
Do you truly understand the disadvantages that are right here in your own backyard that if you started the process to fix could potentially be profound?
Broken Pieces in a Bottle
I’m not sure how I ended up down this road. I don’t even know where I am. I don’t even know who he is anymore or did I ever know?
Do you know How many times I asked myself what happened? How did it get this far? What did I do? No matter how many questions I asked I never told myself that I deserved better.
Let’s be honest, although I knew that I was not the cause of the problem, they’re were a lot of “smaller” incidents that would lead into much larger problems that I did have control over. For instance, the way he would question me. He would get right up in my face. There was always a confrontation of some sorts. Yelling, swearing, accusations, complaints and the list would go on and on. However, I wasn’t assertive enough to speak up. I was refusing to recognize the severity of our issues. Yes, we both played a huge part in the madness and chaos of our so-called relationship. Let me clarify my role. It’s simple, I stayed and I accepted all of the bullshit. I had no real justifiable reason to stay. I made excuses for me and him. I accepted every excuse he gave me, the lies, false promises and fake love. It was more than just denial, I was forcing myself to be blind to the facts.
I did more than just love him, I submitted myself completely. I didn’t care that I was putting myself in harm’s way. I would secretly hide my feelings after every beating. I would erase the signs of expression off my face, after every verbal insult. I would wait until he would leave the house just so that I could cry in silence. There were, things that were happening to me that I didn’t like. I still, remained silent and vigilant about finding a cure for him. I thought that I was the one that could “fix” him. There were things that made me feel extremely uncomfortable and I didn’t speak up, I just accepted it. I rolled with the “punches” literally and figuratively. I kept dreaming and wishing for it to stop and for tomorrow to come, not knowing what tomorrow was going to bring but then sometimes knowing that tomorrow there was a possibility that the same thing was going to happen and I stayed there for many different reasons. I was diminished and every day I had the same wish, I just wanted to “disappear”. I used to wish that a genie would appear and give me my three (3) wishes. It’s funny, because now that I look back I don’t ever remember if I had any other wishes. All I wanted was a way to get rid of myself. Go figure that one. I didn’t even think highly enough of myself to understand that I was a human first and I mattered. Now I know better. I lost a lot before I realized it was gone but everything that I lost I wasn’t supposed to have anyway.
From one survivor to another, let me keep it real with you. When your involved with a person who has no self-control, anger issues and is dealing with some serious underlying problems, it will destroy you. You are vulnerable mentally, emotionally, financially and physically.
The problem with people who have been victimized is that we try to play “doctor”. We think that we can heal or diagnose the problem with our abuser. We find excuses. We think of possible cures and solutions and we try to administer the medication that would heal or change the person or the person within. All the while putting ourselves and our wellbeing last. Understand this, a narcissist’s main objective is to violate you in any way possible. They prey on your weakness and will take advantage of your loyalty and exploit your beliefs and dignity. The dislike for you and them [your abuser], is intense. No matter what you do there will always be turmoil. There’s no cure for that. There isn’t a school or degree that would make you an expert on how to heal your abuser and if you think you can, you’ll just be a graduate of the school of destruction with a certificate in broken pieces.
It took a long time before I started to realize that I am an amazing person and that I am loved. My genie in the bottle was my own will to want better by getting out and getting help. I never looked back. I kept pushing forward and fighting for all of the wonderful things that life had to offer me. I knew what I wanted. I deserved to be loved. I had to start healing the inner me. I had to start loving me.
Have you ever been approached by a total stranger and they told you to smile? I mean seriously, you don’t know this person at all. You know for sure that you and this person have never met face to face in any way shape, form or fashion. But, yet this unknown person just gave you an order. Now, if you’re like anyone else the first thing that you do is begin to silently start talking to yourself. And without hesitation you ask yourself “are they talking to me?” And then the next question is always “who the hell is this person”? Now let me tell you the reason why….
Whenever you’re going through something unhealthy, especially if you’ve ever experienced any type of trauma, it is common for your emotions to run high. Your mood is unbalanced. Your thoughts are in a whirlwind. A feeling of uneasiness has started its curvy and bumpy course. Worry and fear has already begun to set in. How can you smile during a time like this? Nothing makes sense to you. Remember the old saying “it’s written all over your face”? Some of you might even remember back in the 90’s a male R&B group by the name of “Rude Boys” wrote a popular song called “Written all over your face”. Who knew, that the chorus to this particular song would be sung out loud as a way to describe a situation. Unfortunately, I have had a lot of those moments. If you really want to be honest, it was an extremely miserable and depressing time for me. I had a lot on my mind and a plate full of shit. Hell, I was being abused on a daily basis. I wasn’t living in the best situations and my environment was toxic to say the least. I was involved in a complexed, unsafe, unhealthy relationship and all of this while being a teenage mom. It was a lot for anyone to have to endure. The trauma of abuse was paramount. I didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to. It just seemed like an endless dark tunnel and all I saw was him with his fists balled up at the end of it. I wasn’t special and I knew that. I, like so many other single mothers had other obligations. I couldn’t worry about myself. I had a small baby that I had to think about and so I found myself walking around wearing my emotions. My sadness was my outfit for the day. There was so much despondency, that I wore the same clothes every single day. I didn’t change colors. I didn’t add accessories to it. I didn’t change shoes and I never washed my outfit. It was a permanent costume.
One day, I became tired and fed up. I grew weary, upset and angry. I was disgusted of the smell that was wreaking from this horrible emotional garment. I no longer wanted to smell the gloom and the hopelessness. It was coming out of my pores. My eyes told a story of panic and fear. When I opened my mouth to speak, I could hear the weakness in the sound of my voice. It was then, that I knew that I had to do something. I needed to change my clothes but I couldn’t put back on the same attire. I wanted a complete makeover so I decided that I was going to throw my clothes of sadness away.
Here was the best part of it. I was prepared to be naked. I wanted everyone to see what had happened to me. I wanted to be exposed. I wanted everyone to see that I longed for something new, something better and that something was ME. I actually fantasized about a new ME. The real ME. A ME who had no bruises. The new ME had healed scars. The new ME was optimistic. The new ME was inspired and motivated. I looked down at myself and I started to embrace every inch of my mind, body and soul. The need for change was understood and then I started to plan what type of change or changes I wanted for ME. It wasn’t easy walking around trying to piece together the right outfit. I was well aware that I probably would never find the perfect outfit but there was one thing for sure, I knew that I did not want thise old smelly clothes. No matter what I had to do, I was ready to take on the challenge of finding and accepting change. I was “Under Construction”.
It took a while for me to understand that when someone who knew nothing about would tell me to smile, it was because they looked in my face and saw my pain. I understood that it was also a compliment. A stranger was telling me that whatever it was that I was going through, whatever it was that was heavy on my mind, the best thing for me to do and the only thing for me to do to get through it and to conquer the pain was, to smile. People don’t realize that when you smile you can tear down a wall. Something as simple as smiling is so powerful or powerful enough. A smile can shield you from anything negative.
I knew that I had made it. I smiled because I knew I did not have to look back. I didn’t have to look over my shoulders anymore. I didn’t have to live in fear because I knew that my child was safe. I smiled because I started to see the smile on my baby’s face. During those times of smiling, my outfit became more stylish, more creative, more innovative. I started to get compliments. I started to meet new people.
I started to meet the right people.
The biggest part of my outfit was that it was complete. My new expression attracted me to other people, not just anybody but people who were just like me. People who had reached the point where change was due and they were tired of wearing that same smelly outfit. Like me, they wanted to smile. I couldn’t believe how I was able to put myself in a position where I could help people and teach people how to find a new way to live. The feeling of inspiring someone to get rid of the rags that drape over you and stench of abuse and depression…. is priceless.
Remember you are amazing and you can smile too. Wear your smile everyday. Its fashionable and it never goes out of style.
Black Lipstick Conversations Inc is pleased to announce that we are now offering Domestic Violence Support Groups. Support Groups will be offered Bi-Weekly at the Boston Public Library Hyde Park Branch located at 35 Harvard Ave Hyde Park, MA 02136.
Our first meeting will be Thursday July 6th @ 6pm
To Register go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/
A Word from the Founder
Mahogany Centric is the Founder of Black Lipstick Conversations Inc and a survivor of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
As an Advocate, I am passionate about telling her story in hopes of changing and saving lives. To overcome my personal struggles and the obstacles in her life I made a personal creed to offer my voice and my story to help others find their voice to speak up about abuse and the effects of it as well as fighting to end abuse by promoting prevention awareness and helping victims safely start their personal journey to being a survivor.
Written by Special Guest Author LT Pridgen
My name is LT Pridgen and today I am a published author, an advocate, and public speaker. I hold a B.S. degree in Management Accounting from Park University and an MBA from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
However, my story has not always read this way.
I was sexually abused by my biological father from the age of 5 until the age of 13. I spent all of my childhood and the greater part of my young adulthood under a cloud of deep depression.
Having found the strength to do the work necessary for recovery and self healing, I recently penned and published my first book, Treading Water: From Survivor to Warrior. Treading Water is the memoir in which I share in vivid detail my passage through life’s most damaging munitions of emotional and sexual abuse and how these events shaped my self-esteem and self-worth and ultimately impacted many of my life choices.
Believing that it is my life’s purpose to “BE A VOICE” for those who have yet to find their voice, I founded Stomp Out the Silence (S.O.S.), a non-profit organization’s whose mission is to prevent childhood sexual abuse by increasing public awareness and influencing public policy & legislation through seminars, training, social media campaigns, speaking engagements, demonstrations, public presence and printed material. The goal of the organization is to create a movement that reduces the number of child sexual abuse victims from “one less to no more.”
This week’s excerpt was contributed by Author LT Pridgen. To purchase her book please follow the link.
A Poem by Mahogany Centric a Survivor of Rape and Domestic Violence
He was born a man that possessed 10 toes, 10 fingers, two feet and two hands. With his hands he could teach the world a trade or something as simple as picking up a book to read. He had no desire to use his hands to groom himself or to defend someone’s honor. He did not want to protect his pride. This man who possesses two hands can calm a child. With the slightest touch he can sooth a cry. But with so many reasons to use to his hands for good he chose to use his hands to inflict pain
This poem is dedicated to victim’s and survivor’s everywhere. If you are in an abusive relationship or your feel unsafe there is help. Please dial 911. If you are a Survivor of any type of abuse, first I’d like to say Congratulations!! Please continue to stay safe and free. Second, your job is not done. Join the fight by sharing your story and helping someone else start their journey to healing.
Peace and many Blessings to You!
We all have experienced “life”. We all have or have had different situations, whether good or bad. But, to what degree? Each one of us have a story to tell. Some of us more than others. Or so you think. To be told that “You will experience some ups and some downs and a few bumps and bruises” is very true but is an understatement. Unfortunately, domestic violence is real. It is as common as cancer or a common cold. It is more than a simple description of “bumps and bruises”. Abuse of any sort is a tragedy and a disgrace to all involved.
Have you ever asked yourself “Why me?” or “Am I the only one?”. No matter who you are there will be times where you feel helpless or have no control. Having the ability to recognize moments of distress or serious and problematic situations that leave you powerless are not always immediate. There are also times where people do not consider themselves to be a victim because they don’t relate to the term or they don’t believe that they are being abused. Disassociation of trauma, can become second nature. These are just a few common traits of someone who is being physically harmed or have been battered.
There are different types of domestic violence, it has many faces and carries many traits. If you’ve ever been abused, are currently in an abusive relationship or know someone who is being abused, the first thing is to get help. You can’t get help if you don’t want to get out. You can’t help someone if you do not recognize the signs of a person who is being abused. No one will ever know how many people are being or have been abused, because the victim remains silent. Second, speak up don’t be afraid to tell someone that you are being abused. Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you are afraid. The longer you stay silent the more you will be abused and can possibly lose your life. There are so many reasons why women and men remain silent and why people turn a blind eye to abuse. There are a lot of people who think that abuse is normal, they may be apprehensive or may not want to get involved, they don’t pay attention to the signs and messages around them regarding an abused friend or loved one. If you are truly concerned with ending abuse and saving someone’s life, please take on the mantra and feel free to interrupt. Don’t consider it sticking your nose in someone else’s business, don’t look away, don’t allow yourself to be in denial of what you know is right or wrong. Take the initiative by being proactive. Don’t be afraid to get involved. Be the voice that your friend or loved one will need to save them. Voicing your opinion and/or concerns may cause friction but will serve the right purpose. Always remember that abusers have many secrets in the most important of them all is that they don’t want to be exposed for who they really are they don’t want anyone to know what they’re doing and what they have done. Third, your abuse was never and is not your fault. Believe me when I tell you that you were never singled out in this world to be harmed or to constantly live in chaos, pain, fear and/or drama. There is nothing “negatively special” about you, you didn’t make any mistakes, you are not a mistake. God took his time when he intricately created you to be beautiful and talented. Now I’m not saying that you should compare yourself and/or your abuse to other people. I want you to understand that abuse is universal and can happen to anyone. Abuse has no boundaries. There is no such thing as favoritism. Regardless, of your physical or mental health, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political status, level of education, ethnicity and/or your nationality. Abuse affects rich people, poor people, young and old people.
To start the journey of being a survivor you must respect yourself and love yourself enough to know that you deserve better and that you will have better. You must be your own best friend. Understand that you were tailor made. Start telling yourself and believing that you are beautiful! Take the time to start focusing on you. I like to call it “Soul Searching”. This is the process where you begin to put you first! Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you happy or how can you make yourself happy?
- Are you being truthful to yourself?
- Who are you?
- How do you move forward?
- Do you think that you are essential?
- What do you want in life?
- What are your goals?
I hope that I message will touch the right people. For more information and resources on getting help to get out of an abusive relationship or if you would like to join our private Facebook group please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This writing was taken from my book “When Yesterday is Always Today”. This article is Copyright protected under the law.