By Quasona Cobb, See the Triumph Contributor
When I first left my abusive ex-boyfriend I was unsure of how I would pick up the pieces and move forward in life towards a direction of peace and happiness. The relationship ended with at an extreme level of violence and my colleagues knew about it, neighbors, friends and extended family were all aware of what I was going through. I was fortunate to have the support of my loved ones. My best friend participated in a discussion with Glamour Magazine who at the time was working on a piece discussing the deadly secrets of relationship abuse. Myself and about to ten other women stories were featured on one of the most popular magazines in the nation.
It was not until the more recent years I truly considered myself an intimate partner violence advocate. After taping the dating violence segment with Katie Couric for her daytime talk show, “Katie”, I looked around and realized that I was the only surviving participant on the show. My face was on every television that tuned in and my personal business was made public. I had to choose between unnecessary feelings of shame and a long road to triumph. I knew my advocacy work was more than appearances and sharing my story with media outlets. I needed to go out and educate other young adults, social workers, my family and friends about one of the most deadly social ills.
Community awareness and prevention has been my focus point for my advocacy work. One day I sent out nearly 50 letters to local and national organizations to figure out how to participate in outlets that allow my to share my experience. I have participated workshops, discussion panels, and symposiums hosted by various New York City agencies, such as the Children's Aid Society Family Wellness Program, the Administration for Children's Services, and the Department of Youth and Community Development.
Last year I created an awareness video and photography project, Domestic Violence Unmasked for October 2013 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence Unmasked is an experiential project on community awareness of domestic violence. The project focuses on the myths & social stigmas surrounding domestic violence, victim blaming, prevention, and resources for domestic violence victims, and survivor solidarity.
For Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, February 2014, I hosted an awareness event and fundraiser for Break the Cycle. Break the Cycle is our national teen dating violence prevention and intervention agency. The event was held at Dyckman Bar, was attended by colleagues, friends, family, and members of the Washington Heights community. I am currently in the process of planning an awareness event for this upcoming National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2014. The event will highlight different areas of relationship abuse, family and health impact, as well as young adult dating violence.
Surviving and publicly speaking out about my experience with relationship abuse has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. One thing that I learned about my journey is that healing from this type of drama will take as long as your mind your body and your spirit allow and you have to give yourself time to heal. The healing process for everyone is different.
When I have moments of uncertainty I am reminded to be courageous by my favorite quote from the late Maya Angelou, “As soon as the healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.”