Dating and Domestic Violence

I read the tragic story of Bianca Richardson Tanner this summer and was immediately heartbroken. Bianca was a beautiful, 31-year-old educator and mother. She was reported missing by her boyfriend and 10 days later her body was discovered in a wooded area in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was a victim of domestic violence.

According to her family she had moved to Charlotte with her boyfriend to start her teaching career this fall. Her dream. Her dream died the day she did. Thankfully, her boyfriend was arrested for the crime. How did they catch him? Because Bianca’s courageous three-year old son told the police “Mommy got a spanking with the belt. Angelo kicked mommy’s butt and made her cry,” the boy told police according to court records. “Angelo is mean to mommy and hurt mommy in the face.” The police now had a starting point.

Let’s talk about Bianca’s case. Bianca’s boyfriend was a violent offender against women. He had abused other women prior to Bianca. Bianca never knew. How could a man have three separate abuse charges filed and not have spent time in jail? Why can’t we enact a required law that causes charged abusers to register like sex offenders? I mean did he really have to abuse three women before murdering the fourth. No.

We as women need to be educated when it comes to dating men especially when we have children. We need to diligent about background screenings for potential mates. Even if everything comes back clear, we need to leave at the first sign of abusive behavior. Why do we stay with our abusers? I don’t care if he says he’ll never do it again. I don’t believe it and neither should you. I mean Bianca was abused before right? According to her son, her boyfriend was mean to her. Last month, I read this great piece, by Feminista Jones, for Time where she said:

“Racism and sexism are two of the biggest obstacles that Black women in America face. But because many Black women and men believe racism is a bigger issue than sexism, Black women tend to feel obligated to put racial issues ahead of sex-based issues.”

As I read this, one thought entered my mind, “Yes.” This is why we stay. We have been programmed to believe that our value as black women is to support our black men first and then women issues. We wonder “Am I black or Am I woman”. We can’t seem to simultaneously fight two battles because we have to be strong black women holding down our black men and our black people. But, what about self? I want to change that.

We need to change that. A study of 2011 homicide data conducted by the Violence Policy Center examined that “The disproportionate burden of fatal and nonfatal violence borne by black females has almost always been overshadowed by the toll violence has taken on black males. In 2011, black females were murdered at a rate more than two and a half times higher than white females: 2.61 per 100,000 versus 0.99 per 100,000.” These are not total strangers. More like boyfriends and intimate partner violence.

Recognize the signs. According to Safe Horizon here are some signs of domestic violence:

Does your partner ever:

  1. Accuse you of cheating and being disloyal?
  2. Make you feel worthless?
  3. Hurt you by hitting, choking or kicking you?
  4. Intimidate and threaten to hurt you or someone you love?
  5. Threaten to hurt themselves if they don’t get what they want?
  6. Try to control what you do and who you see?
  7. Isolate you?
  8. Pressure or force you into unwanted sex?
  9. Control your access to money?
  10. Stalk you, including calling you constantly or following you?

So, what do you do if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or intimate partner violence? First, get help. Call the police! Leave. There is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship and you have to trust that people will help you. You can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Safe House Center has created a handbook for survivors of domestic violence. You can download it here.

Let’s remember that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and not forget the women who have fallen victim to domestic violence like Bianca Richardson Tanner. Let’s encourage each other to never forget Bianca and know that we can make a difference.

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Check out this video I posted last month about a woman who didn’t hit first and was a victim of domestic violence:

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10 thoughts on “Dating and Domestic Violence

  1. I haven’t been programmed in this way at all. I have two grown black sons, and for me, racism is more at the forefront of my mind than sexism. It weighs more heavily on me even though I have a grown daughter. Our (my) love and defense of black men wouldn’t be a primary reason why the majority of abused women stay. I’m on the outside looking in though because I’ve never been physically abused by a man and I teach my daughter not to tolerate slack or meanness from anyone. And I taught my sons not to hit women. I think the psychology of tolerating abuse is much deeper, and it spans all races and cultures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I think it depends on where you grow up. I grew up in the South and that’s all I witnessed. Many of my relatives and friends stayed because that is what you do. But, it’s not right. My mother taught me that when she left my father. However, all around me I see women who stay with men who are abusive not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically because having a man is better than not having one at all. And it hurts me. Do they need help? Absolutely. That’s why I advocate getting over the stigma of seeking professional help that is plaguing many southern black families. There’s nothing wrong with getting help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that where you grow up factors in to an extent. My mother grew up in the South and tolerated years of abuse too, but I think it had much less to do with putting “black men” first. I don’t know why she stayed. I’m going to ask her. But seeing her get beat up just solidified that I would never tolerate it. I think we need to do more work teaching young girls to value and defend themselves, to know their self-worth. Professional help can factor into changing harmful patterns and dysfunction too. It shouldn’t be the norm. Your article is well-written.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sometimes it’s not about having a bad man than none at all. I agree there are many women who have such low self-esteem that they see having a man in their life as completing them. But I believe by far the most important reason why women stay in abusive relationships is because they have been so broken in spirit that they simply do not have the inclination, the energy, to move away from the abusive situation. Also many are terrified of an abusive partner and fear what might happen to them if they leave. What we need as a society is the belief that violence against women and children is wrong and a legal system to back and support these women and children so that they can remove themselves from abusive homes without fear of what might happen to them and their children after they leave.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for commenting. I think society is definitely moving towards a better direction now than in the past, but it is not there yet. There is an understanding of abusive situations with women and children and that’s why medical forms have changed and doctor’s want to see women patients alone. I worked for an employer that would relocate an abused employee to another office free of charge to get her and any children out of the area including free counseling sessions.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s wonderful Tikeetha T. I hope more is done in the future. Absolutely nothing was done 50/60 years ago and that was shameful. My heart bleeds for the women who phoned the police to beg for assistance, only to be told that they didn’t come out for ‘domestics’. I was a child of that particular woman/mother.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Absolutely! It’s not easy to do so, because even now in the UK, I hear 2 women are killed everyday by a violent partner. How can this happen in a so-called civilised society? But at least things are changing, but more needs to be done. Thank you for highlighting this on your blog – great work! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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