Many of you reading this post have heard the horrible news of a quadruple murder that took place in Hampton, VA yesterday (http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/hampton/woman-found-shot-inside-burning-home). For those who haven’t, it hits very close to home because Carla Frye-Williams was a fellow James Madison University alum. Although I don’t remember Carla as well as others, the Dukes are a tight knit crew, and this tragic story pierces through the entire JMU community.
Travis Williams, who had a violent history of spousal abuse, shot, stabbed and burned three generations of family including his wife Carla, her grandmother, Katie, and their one year old daughter, Tori. This massacre has left me emotionally deaden and speechless. The thought of Carla’s final moments leave me nauseous.
I am a former victim of domestic violence. An ex-boyfriend abused me physically and verbally for five years as a teenager. I remember one time being smacked so hard, my jaw was knocked out of alignment. I recall him spitting in my face. He threatened to beat me down at my prom. I will never forget the humiliation. Not just because of the acts, but because of the sense of isolation and shame that came with it. The lowest points didn’t occur after the fights, but during the attempts of hiding the evidence of them. I lied about the bruises, I put on a happy face, but inside I was terrified, depressed and lonely. Moving away for college saved my life…I am certain of it.
Carla’s story hurts more because, unlike me, she fought back. She relied on a justice system that ultimately failed her and her family. Without taking the law into her own hands, what else was she to do?
Look, ladies…love yourselves. Be okay with being single. Don’t just settle. There is power in knowing that you are enough just the way God made you and that you need no one else to fulfill your voids. Be smart in your choices with men. Enjoy his positives, but be aware of his negatives. Look for the signs. Is he controlling and jealous? Does he want you all to himself, isolating you from your family and friends? Does he belittle you? If so, leave without ever looking back.
Men, tell your daughters they are beautiful in every possible way. Tell them they are pretty when they are pre-teens and going through the most awkward phases of life. Teach them how to be self-sufficient. My father has no idea how much he empowered me by teaching me how to change a tire. Spend quality time with them so they don’t have to seek it elsewhere…because they will.
We can’t change what happened yesterday, but what happened yesterday should change us. If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, tell someone. A trusted relative, co-worker or friend. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1.800.799.SAFE.