Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Purse Foundation: Helping educate young people about domestic violence





Her friend’s murder gave her the strength to escape abuse and inspired her to help others be free
 


By Erika Lee
 
Nova and I met in college when she tried out for a dance team of which I was a member. On the day of try outs, I was responsible for recording everyone who was auditioning for the team.  I remember recording Nova. Watching her dance was breathtaking. Nova had a style about her that was unique.

Needless to say, she made one of the finest dance teams on the campus at Illinois State University. The dance team was like a family. We spent several hours every week with each other practicing for events. I remember when Nova and I went shopping for pajamas for our dance team’s fashion show. Nova and I had to model in kiddy pajamas. The skit was about us being kids who did not want to go to sleep.  In the skit, you could see the mom putting us to bed and as she walked out the room, the music came on and Nova and I jumped on our beds, laughed and danced.  As the mother returned to find us awake and out of our beds, she waved a belt in front of us.  We quickly jumped back in our beds to avoid the punishment. 

 Quite often, this memory of Nova replays over and over in my head.  When I reflect upon my own childhood, I remember life with no real worries or burdens.  I also think about how Nova’s son Noah will never experience having his mother come in his room and hug him or hear her say goodnight. 

 Nova and her daughter Ava were found shot to death in her apartment. Her son Noah was found asleep in a chair covered with blood stains from possibly trying to awake his mother and infant sister. Nova’s ex-boyfriend was arrested for the murders and is currently awaiting trial.

The shocking news of Nova’s death made me reflect upon the relationship I was in. No one intends to be in an abusive relationship, but I was in denial that I was even in one.  I did not realize that walls were being created to keep me held in bondage and at the mercy of my abuser. My relationship with my abuser was physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive. I thought I had met the one. He was charming, attentive, and caring. After much time had been invested in the relationship, those qualities I thought he possessed, no longer existed. He turned into someone I didn’t know, someone he never showed me—his true self.

 I had mistaken him choosing my clothes for me, as his way of caring about me. I had mistaken him telling me that certain people were not my friends as his way of looking out for my best interest. I had mistaken him keeping me away from all the activities I was involved in as his way of showing me that he loved spending time with me. I had mistaken him asking me to leave my job as his way to be a provider for me. I had mistaken him constantly calling me when I was away from the house, as his way of making sure no one had harmed me.  I did not know the red flags or warning signs of a possible abusive person or relationship.  I had never seen an abusive relationship growing up and never thought it would be something I would ever encounter....

To read the entire story, click on the photo to read The Well Magazine.



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