According to NBC News, African American women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 2.5 times the rate of women of other races.
This is a harrowing statistic.
Swallow that. Digest it. Now think about the women in your own life that may be suffering in a silence so deafening that, if left unchecked, could literally render them permanently mute.
There is no typical woman that this happens to. Women of all walks of life can be targeted by abusers. The batterer doesnt start off behaving that way. So, what was at first thought to be a whirlwind romance can become an emotional hellhole quickly.
WCH 2017 London – Tianna Bartoletta USA Long Jump Bronze
Add fame and notoriety to this situation and things can become even worse for the woman, as the fear of public shame and backlash may seem even more daunting than the pain she is enduring at the hands, or from the mouth, of the one who is supposed to love her the most.
Take the case of Team USAs Tianna Bartoletta, who upon winning the long jump bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships last weekend became quite emotionally overcome at the award ceremony.
Big, fat, crocodile tears were rolling down her cheeks. Most assumed it was because she was proud of her prize winning performance.
Sometimes being eclipsed by someone or something is inevitable but it won’t last forever. Nature is the best teacher. Keep lookin’ up.
1,870 Likes, 31 Comments – Tianna T. Bartoletta (@tianna.bartoletta) on Instagram: “Sometimes being eclipsed by someone or something is inevitable but it won’t last forever. Nature is…”
However, her Instagram account told a very different tale. According to the National Post, she had just gone through a nightmarish existence and she spoke out about it publicly for the first time.
I knew defending my title would be difficult, said Bartoletta. And you may find it hard to believe but this Bronze medal is THE most special medal I have ever won. Because just three short months ago I had to run away from my own home, I had to decide which of ALL my belongings were the most important, I had to leave my dogs, I had little money, I still have no actual address, all to give myself a chance at having a life and the love I deserved–one that didn’t involve fear or fighting, threats, and abuse. To stand on the podium today after not even being in the mix for 4 rounds means the world to me. I took a huge gamble blowing my life up in such an important year for me career-wise. But it was about time for me to see that I was worth it. It was worth it. Thanks so much for riding with me.
In an interview with the BBC, Bartoletta explained further stating, I lost my personality. I felt like I became a stranger to myself almost. It got so dark that I contemplated walking off a train platform in front of a train in Europe last season because it just started to feel like I had no way out, no way out of the feelings of frustration and shame. It was just so tempting to call it quits.
Nevertheless, she persisted. * * * #mondaymotivation #justdoit #roadtothefinal #thatbronzetookbrass #stilldontliketolosetho #DoneCrying #readytorun #readytojump : @lissgphotography
3,102 Likes, 43 Comments – Tianna T. Bartoletta (@tianna.bartoletta) on Instagram: “Nevertheless, she persisted. * * * #mondaymotivation #justdoit #roadtothefinal #thatbronzetookbrass…”
She is not alone. Not by a long shot as we all know or have known at least one woman who we constantly see smiling through her pain while explaining away her spouses behavior. We know her and we love her but we dont know how to reach her.
So, we smile politely as she conjures up stories about a grand home life that neither she or we believe to be true. Or we grow tired of trying to convince her to leave so we play pretend with her to allow her to save face because we think if she was really that fed up she would in fact just go.
According to Department Of Justice findings, there are several troubling reasons as to why African American women stay in these troubled relationships.
1. As a result of historical and present day racism, African American women may be less likely to report her abuser or seek help because of discrimination, African American mens vulnerability to police brutality, and negative stereotyping.
2.Stereotypes amplify the complexities African American women encounter when trying to seek help services.
3. Myths that African American women are domineering figures that require control or that African American women are exceptionally strong under stress and are resilient increase their vulnerability and discourage some from speaking out about abuse.
These are but a few of the problems that African American women encounter in these situations but there is another one that many really dont talk about.
Staring down my fears like… * * * Perspective: on my toughest day I made the podium at a global championship, and was out jumped by just 5cm. I got this. #tbgameface : @jeffcohenphoto
4,103 Likes, 37 Comments – Tianna T. Bartoletta (@tianna.bartoletta) on Instagram: “Staring down my fears like… * * * Perspective: on my toughest day I made the podium at a global…”
As with the case of Tianna, many women stay because they dont have anywhere to go and no money to run away with.
The idea of being homeless and penniless can at times seems so frightening that it may keep women in an abusive situation much longer than they would like to be. Especially if children are involved.
The Family And Youth Services Bureau reports that Between 22 and 57% of all homeless women report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. This is a staggering stat to say the least.
So, what can we do?
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline has some tips for helping our loved ones through a domestic violence ordeal.
Tianna told the BBC how she got through it all, saying, This has been my therapy sharing this story with you, sharing the Instagram post, blogging, it has kind of been my way of healing.
We hope other women are inspired by her story and find a way toward their very own peace…and soon.