A cry for help

Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or

beaten.

“Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages,

leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every

background and circumstance,” said President Barack Obama while

making October the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in

2009.

Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

“Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance,” said President Barack Obama while making October the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 2009.

Domestic violence can be described as a dark shadow that looms over America. Although the issue has been openly addressed, too many of its victims walk around silent never telling anyone what happened.

Many of those guilty of it are walking the streets unscathed and free.

Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 and 95 percent of women physically abused by their partners’ never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.

Many think domestic violence is limited to only a man and woman in a romantic relationship.

In reality, it is broadly defined when partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends, or cohabitation act violently toward each other.

Violence can be defined in various ways including physical aggression, sexual abuse and even emotional abuse.

Whether we realize it or not victims of domestic abuse do surround us. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

They are our mothers, sisters, cousins, and nieces.  Aggieland is no exception. Plenty classmates, professors, co-workers, and friends are victims of these terrible acts but for a number of reasons decide not to share or seek help. Today two brave women are breaking their silence. Why?

In hopes that others like them will follow suit and seek the assistance they need to heal fully and know that they are not alone.

Daisha Windham

“It’s just the coldest feeling ever. It makes winter feel hot. It’s like your dying inside.”

On the surface Daisha Windham is a bubbly, colorful, 21-year-old JOMC major from Wilmington, N.C. However for most of her life, Daisha has kept a dark secret.  While living with her aunt, at the age of 5 Daisha was sexually abused by her aunt’s significant other.

Windham recalls one particular time when what started as an argument between her and her sister led to abuse. “Me and my sister used to play fight a lot.

 One time it got really serious and my sister, who was older than me, went to tell on me to him.

He told me to come into a room. I began to cry because I knew what was going to happen.

He said, ‘you know what to do’ so I took the position of laying on my stomach and he molested me.”

At the age of five Windham didn’t really understand what was going on. “I thought it was a form of punishment, like a spanking or beating. I thought it happened to everyone when they did something wrong.”

To Windham’s knowledge she was the only one who he was molesting.

She was the youngest one in the house and the least likely to tell or know any better.

The abuse didn’t stop until she moved at age six.

“I moved to Norfolk to live with my grandparents. Then when my father got married I went to live with him in another North Carolina town.”

She didn’t tell anyone what happened for a long time. One time while watching a Lifetime movie with her stepmom about a man who was molesting his family members, a door of communication was opened on the topic.

“She told me that if anyone had done anything like that to me it was molestation and that was wrong. I still didn’t share with her right then though.”

It wasn’t until Windham was in the 10th grade that she told her.

She had a nightmare that night about her abuser and woke up crying.

She then ran into her step mom’s room and told her everything.

Even though she opened up to her step mom and a few other family members, she still decided against telling others. “I really didn’t want to tell my whole family because it was a secret that could tear up my family. I also don’t tell a lot of people because I never wanted anyone to judge me or pity me.”

Windham admits that the abuse had other lasting effects. “I used to despise God, because why me. It took me a lot of time rebuild that relationship, myself esteem. I didn’t love me.”

“I wasn’t very social. I kept to myself so it definitely affected me emotionally. I still have a hard time talking about how I feel to this day. It kind of caused me to have low self-esteem until college as well. It’s also still hard for me to sleep on my stomach.”

Recently, she ran into her molester who now lives in North Carolina. “I feel like it’s too late to press charges. I just leave his fate up to God. I can’t even look him in the face to be real. I’d feel like I was five years old all over again.”

Windham understands that she is not alone and that there are many others out there who went through and or are going through some kind of domestic abuse.

“If I could give any advice to others who are being abused, I would tell them to speak up. The reason I didn’t is because at the time, I didn’t know anything was wrong about it. I didn’t know any better. So if awareness can be raised, more people can be made aware so they know what to look out for. I would also say don’t leave your child with just anyone.”

Jamea Reynolds

 “It was my brother and I cannot change anything.”

Jamea Reynolds is an 18-year-old accounting sophomore from Charlotte, N.C. Between her eighth and nineth grade years, her mother allowed her brother who was 18 at this time to come live with them in Charlotte. 

Their relationship started off like any normal brother and sister: playing games, fighting and laughing together.

But, as time went on, he became very awkward.

 One day everything took a turn, “he got on top of me saying do you feel that then pulls out his penis and starts touching me, he went too far.”

At the time, Reynolds was very confused on what to do in order for it to stop.

She couldn’t deal with being the reason her brother would go to jail.

It has been over five years now and he still interacts with her as if nothing even happened. The molestation had some lasting affects. For example, its the reason why it is now harder for her to trust any man that comes into her life. There is no such thing as a guy coming to her room to “chill” or being alone with someone she just met.

These are some cautious measures Reynolds has taken to feel comfortable around men. No one in her family knows what happened five years ago except her close friends.

Reynolds wants to encourage others who have been abused to speak up because it may help another person who is in the same position.

Although she feels there is nothing that can be done in her own situation, she feels it has only made her stronger and gives her the confidence to speak out against domestic violence in particular molestation within the family.

Life goes on

The moral to both of these stories is that there is life after abuse.

Women don’t have to let a bad past affect their future. “I let my past be my motivation today,” said Windham.

The young woman is only a few semesters away from obtaining her bachelor’s degree. She remains active on campus in organizations such as PRSSA, NABJ, and I AM Music Media. She is also a part of I Am Queen, a non-profit organization dealing with teenage girl issues. Windham is also a talented dancer and has been a member of dance groups such as Blue Reign and E. Gynn Dancers. After graduation, she plans on moving to LA and attending art school while also freelancing in Public Relations.

Reynolds is no different. She is actively a part of Collegiate 100 Black Women, an organization that helps her to be a strong and business savvy woman. She has maintained a 3.2 GPA as of her sophomore year at A&T.

After undergrad, Reynolds would like to come back to A&T to receive her masters in accounting.

Hopefully by earning these two degrees, she will land in one of the leading top accounting firms in the future.

 Help?

 Many people are not informed that counseling services are available to help with any matters other than depression.

Half of the women around campus have their own abuse story whether it dealt with a boyfriend, friend, father or even a stranger.

Things have to change in order for people to learn how and when to get out.

A&T has private counseling sessions located in Murphy room 109 where students can discuss anything from being a victim of domestic violence to a witness.

Students will later be directed to Family Services Piedmont for more information on 315 E. Washington Street, Greensboro, N.C. 27401.

Also there will be a Domestic Violence Awareness Forum today from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Harrison Auditorium.

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  • Sylvia Obell & Jenelle McMillon, Register Staff