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Last year I read an article about a young woman killed by her son’s father. Tonja Chadwick was a 20 year old mother, and aspiring nurse. She was shot in the head by her boyfriend wrapped in blankets and buried under a pile of leaves. Reading this story, and seeing it all over the news broke my heart. I just kept saying to myself Janay this could have been you. She was so young, so beautiful, and so full of life. Just knowing that she was killed by her son’s father, hit so close to home. Every article I read stated “the couple had a history of undocumented domestic violence incidents”.

As I read “the couple had a history of undocumented domestic violence incidents” over and over I found myself crying. I didn’t know Tonja, but I felt her pain, and I felt her family’s pain.

So many thoughts ran through my head like how could a man just kill the mother of his child and throw her out like yesterday’s garbage? Why wouldn’t she just leave him, or call the police I thought to myself. Then I thought back all the backlash I faced when I decided to leave my abusive son’s father, and realized it sometimes seems easier to stay and take the abuse then to leave and be judged.

The day after my son’s father was arrested for attacking me while I was pregnant I woke up exhausted. So many different thoughts ran through my head, and I didn’t know what to think. My child’s father was in jail and I feared for his safety. Jail is a horrible place, and in Baltimore it is even worst. I didn’t know if he would be beat, killed, or forced to join a gang. I didn’t know if he would kill himself and those thoughts scared me. I had to keep telling myself “Janay you did the right thing” over and over again. I kept reminding myself that Jhavier shouldn’t have put his hands on me, and he deserved to be in jail. I gave him chance after chance to get help, but he refused to do so, and I couldn’t let him continue to hit me. Especially not while I was pregnant.

The first person I talked to after Jhaiver went to jail was my grandmother. I thought she would be supportive, and proud of me for standing up for myself, but to my disappointment she wasn’t either.  In fact she was harsh, and really broke my heart. She said “you should’ve just asked him to leave. You shouldn’t have invited the system into your home. Is that what you want your baby daddy in jail? Another black man locked in a cage like an animal?

“Do I want my baby daddy in jail? Yes I do” I said angrily before hanging up the phone abruptly. I didn’t have anything else to say to her at that moment. The little girl that loved her grandmother no matter died in that moment. I didn’t understand her logic. I love her, but until this day I don’t understand her logic.

The next person I talked to was Jhavier’s mother. She called me several times , but I wasn’t ready to talk so I ignore her. However I told myself I couldn’t ignore her forever, and decided to speak with her. I still regret ever answering the phone.

When I answered the phone I explained to her what happened the night before and why her son was sitting in a jail cell. I explained to her that I couldn’t deal with Jhavier and his violent outburst anymore. I told her that I know longer felt safe around Jhavier.  To my surprise she was very understanding. She told me that Jhavier’s father used to do the same thing to her and that is why she had to leave him. She said he would also have violent outburst, hit her, hold her hostage, and cheat on her. She told me that I did the right thing, because I needed to protect my baby her grandson.

Sitting on the phone with his mother I believed her, and everything fell into perspective for me.  Jhavier probably witnessed his father hitting his mother when he was a child.  If a man is raised not to respect women by his own father of course he would grow up with issues. I felt sorry for his mother, because she has been through so much and she was still going through so much now with her son being in jail for hitting me.

Later during the day I went to my aunt’s house to break the news to the rest of my family. They were upset to say the least. I was heartbroken and embarrassed, so I didn’t stay long. I didn’t want to be around people. I went home and went straight to sleep.

The next morning I woke up to a text message that said “this shit is ridiculous” from Jhavier’s mother. I thought about replying to the message, but I didn’t. It was too early for the drama.

When I finally answered the phone Jhavier’s mother was livid. She was yelling about Jhaiver’s bail being 50,000 dollars, and accusing me of provoking Jhavier. She kept calling me all kinds of “little bitches”.

“If you would’ve done a better job of raising your son he wouldn’t be in this situation. It is not my fault you raised Ike Turner” I yelled back.  Before I could get out another word she hung up the phone.

She texted saying “I don’t know what my son saw in you because you’re ugly, and that’s not my son’s baby”. I ignored her.

She texted again say “you deserved to get beat you sick disabled bitch. Go clean you house, and I hope you can afford your medicine”.

“Like mother like son” I thought to myself as I deleted and blocked Jhaiver’s mother.

Telling my friends and family about the volatile relationship Jhavier and I had was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I felt judged and embarrassed. I hated being looked at as a victim. I hated that me having chrons disease was even being brought up. I was a sick domestic violence victim and I hated it!

I can sympathize and empathize with anyone in a bad or violent relationship. I know that it is hard to leave and walk away, because it was hard for me. However regardless of the backlash abuse is not love, and no one should put up with abuse. Walk away don’t stay.

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