October: Standing for Her

I was given some information on Pittsburgh’s Center for Victims to help raise awareness of domestic violence and what we can do to help victims. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This post is not sponsored, but brought to from the bottom of my heart. 

Source: www.centerforvictims.org

Being honest, October is a tough month for me. Almost seven years ago, I got out of an abusive relationship, then in October, had a baby as a single mother. Knowing this month is the month to bring about awareness should make me feel stronger that I got out, but it does bring up some bad memories and angry feelings that there are still women out there in situations like I was.

Situations where women feel like they have to wear long sleeves, explain bruises, or not go out to see their friends at all because it’s just too hard to tell your story. Situations where women cannot give the whole truth to their families and friends (like I have yet to really, truly do because I carried such shame and baggage over it). Situations where children hide their ears under their pillows at night because they don’t want to hear dad yelling at or hitting mom.

We joke that “the struggle is real”, but it is. 

It really is. I found stats on the No More campaign page that states:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetime
  • 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape

That’s a really frightening statistic, considering how many women and men we know, right? It’s real. And let me tell you, even a small hit or verbal abuse is unacceptable in my book. Everyone deserves to be safe and supported, which is why I am thankful for places like Center for Victims.

With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there are plenty of ways we can get involved in helping victims of domestic violence such as men taking a pledge to not participate in violence in women or wearing purple and telling people you are doing it in honor (or memory) of a loved one who has been in a DV relationship. Places like Pittsburgh’s Center for Victims are here to provide “free and confidential services, advocacy, and education for victims of all crime in Allegheny County”, not just victims of domestic violence. They also accept financial donations or goods (such as used cell phones, toiletries, or diapers).

I’d like to ask my friends, family, and followers to consider making a donation to the Center for Victims via either a used cell phone or a financial donation. Sure, we’re mostly virtual connections around here, so if you’d like to donate financially, you can send a donation right online. If you’re interested in donating a used cell phone, drop me a line at lilburghers@gmail.com so we can coordinate a pickup.

If you or someone you know is in an unsafe or abusive relationship and are in Pittsburgh, you can contact the Center for Victims via their 24-hour support line (1-866-644-2882). If not, you can use this state-by-state resource from the National Network to End Domestic Violence website. You deserve it. You are worth it. 

Her Name Was Ka’Sandra Wade #RememberHerName

We – the members of The Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Socity – are saddened and outraged and fed up that yet another one of our sisters in Pitttsburgh has lost her life to domestic violence. 33 year old Ka’Sandra Wade – mother, employee, daughter, student and so much more – was murdered by her ex who was also the father of her 7 year old son, Zaire. The situation is complicated and tragic and has generated an outcry from the community to push for better investigation of domestic violence allegations, stronger laws to protect women and more awareness on the part of the community.

Today, I am teaming up with my fellow Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Society members and asking you a simple thing, to remember this woman, Ka’Sandra Wade. Remember it.

Why? For me. For all other women who have been victims of domestic violence, too scared to speak out, to get help, to get out. Ka’Sandra was a victim of domestic violence and we will not let her name be forgotten. I don’t really care what her ex’s name is, because I refuse to give focus and light to a man who hurt a woman. I refuse to let his name be the one that the headlines highlight (thank goodness for stories like this from the Post-Gazette that start with her name, not his). While I am sure his family is grieving, as well they should, I refuse to let his death get glory.

Why? For Kassandra Perkins. Yup, I bet you don’t know her name…she is the victim of the NFL player who made headlines for how much suffering his actions put on his team. Her memory should live on. We burned the names of the Sandy Hook teachers and children in our minds, this is the right thing. Remembering murders is not acceptable.

It’s with a heavy heart that I learned a young woman, a mother of a 7 year old, fell victim to a man’s rage. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. It makes me proud of my own strength. But it makes me aware that domestic violence is something society all too often shoves under the rug and ignores. For Ka’Sandra Wade, let’s not forget, let’s not ignore.

Today, Ka’Sandra‘s friends and family will hold a vigil for her, meanwhile ladies all across the city will blog about her. Let’s not remember her murderer. Let’s think of Zaire, her son. Let’s help the women we love get help (such as from the Women Center & Shelter of Pittsburgh and The Center for Victims).

(By the way, a fund has been set up for Zaire, Ka’Sandra’s son – donations can be sent to: Sharon Jordan, c/o ACTION United, 5907 Penn Ave, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Sharon is Ka’Sandra’s mother and she is now raising Zaire. The family may have other needs – please contact ACTION United if you would like to help. The number is 412-567-7275.)

But most of all?

Remember her name.

We All Have Our Crazy

We all have some version of crazy in us, trust me.

My crazy is my loyalty. I will be loyal to the end, no matter how evil people can be to me. Case in point, my life in 2006-2008. I moved to South Carolina with my then boyfriend and I thought things would be peachy for the rest of my life.

I was wrong.

Six months later, I had an engagement ring on my ring finger…right beside a broken pinky due to the fact I didn’t iron a polo shirt collar. I continued to live a life of lies, hiding bruises under long sleeve shirts in summer weather and standing up for the person who took me down so far.

It was easy to hide, and hide I did. I was hours away from family and surrounded by people who only knew what little I shared. I was not myself, the strong World Ready Woman produced at Chatham.

Finally it went far enough that I called the police, but the only thing that came of that was a long overdue breakup followed by months of repeat offenses until I finally cut the ties for good.

You are probably wondering why I am sharing this, and why tonight in this time of holiday cheer. It is because we all have our crazy.

You see, I was in tears an hour ago…

I was chilling after a busy day and decided it was time to buy some toys to go toward Michelle’s Christmas Crazy efforts. She buys toys each year to go to people in need…specifically women and children in domestic violence shelters. Women who are in (probably worse) situations than I was in.

The tie for me is helping to provide for women who are where I would have been if I had kept on pushing my crazy against someone else’s crazy. And so, I felt it right to pick out some toys and purchase them for the cause.

But let me get back go those tears. As I looked through the toys, I connected. There were toys for all ages. Toys for kids of every race (love! I picked out a Kira Barbie). There was a Princess Tiana costume (Arianna demanded I buy this for the kids). And then, the tears.

A Little People airplane. Mom, are you still reading and crying too? You see, my parents and I got this for Arianna to celebrate her first flight. The flight that moved her to PA after I decided to move home with my ‘ill girl following a year of dealing with pain, pregnancy, and emotional behaviors after my breaking point. In the cart it went.

For the ‘lil ones who are safe from broken homes. For the ‘lil innocent children. For the child who has to deal with painful memories of mom and dad. For me working toward getting over the crazy and healing, learning that everyone is not out to get me.

Any ‘lil bit to do something to help others and to get to a world free of domestic violence, hate, and true crazy…replaced with a world of love and fun. Arianna and I were blessed to get out and move past the crazy. Not everyone is.

If you have a few moments, read up on Christmas Crazy and consider a gift from the wish list for the kids at Center for Victims and Alle-Kiski Hope Center. Michelle will do a good kind of crazy with it, trust me.