Hi, my name Daijah Barnes and I am a domestic violence survivor and victim advocate. In December of 2011, I had a physical altercation with my then-boyfriend that resulted in a knife aimed at my neck. I wedged myself in between the wall and my bed and hoped that he wouldn’t kill me. An outcry from our infant child who lied at the bottom of our bed, diffused the situation long enough for him to think twice, and it saved my life. Two short years later, he found his next victim and their relationship ended with her in a body bag at 17-years-old.
Domestic/Dating Violence is usually aggressive behavior towards a spouse or partner. If you are unsure you may be experiencing something like this, here are some signs that you may use to identify if you’re involved in this type of relationship.
1. Control: Typically, abusers need to check your phone, call logs, communication, friendships.
2. Threats: Being told if you leave they’ll kill themselves, you or family members.
3. Manipulation: Making you feel opposite of what you morally stand for, so the abuser’s request is accepted. For example, if you desire monogamous relationships, but your partner wants the opposite, he or she may make you feel that it is wrong and outdated since everyone else is doing it. If your views change and you participate in what the abuser wants, you’ve experienced manipulation.
4. Verbal: Anything intentionally said to make you feel bad.
5. Intimidation: Any action that breaks down your self-esteem.
Do you recognize any of these behaviors in your relationship? Have you experienced some form of these five signs in one way or the other?
As a survivor, advocate, healer, and community doer—I cannot do it all alone. With numbers like 24 people per minute and more than 12 million people per year being victims of violence according to the National Domestic Hotline, we have work to do.
We all know someone or have heard of someone experiencing domestic violence, and it must stop. I will always say offer information, but do not force feed it. I think it starts with the village recreating and molding our little people. I think the reason for domestic violence is because teens and adults are not aware of how to cope with stress.
When have we been taught?
If we show these babies how to manage when they’re going through something and vocalize what it is that they’re feeling—we can bring domestic violence numbers down drastically. If we teach healthy coping mechanisms and they apply it, they’re able to vocalize in the beginning what their feeling and what they will not tolerate. We need to instill self- love, but we must heal first.
My goal is to travel the world in 2019 and provide my story as knowledge and literature that includes my experiences, self-healing, surviving, discipline, and strength—while giving people techniques to combat domestic violence.
Using my own story, I will inform people on how to identify the signs, create an escape, and how to become free. If I show you how to be free and you break free, you can teach someone else—and the pattern continues.
I’m doing the work that I planned. Connect and change the world one word at a time.
How do you plan to combat Dating Violence? Tell me in the comments below!