“It’s not over, but I also know I’m not afraid anymore.”
I was established in Chicago. I had my own childcare facility, condo, and car. I was in college at the time and wasn’t into the whole dating scene.
He was super persistent and very handsome. He just wore me down. It was a typical relationship in the beginning. But there were little red flags.
He was very jealous. I just brushed it off because in the African American community, having a jealous boyfriend is a win. Then he started popping up at my house at 3 in the morning—popping up at my job.
I told him it’s over but found out I was pregnant. He came to my house and said, “You’re stuck with me until the child is 18.”
When I had my daughter, I moved an hour away. It was my first attempt to get away from him. Everything settled, but I began to feel like somebody was watching me.
Then I saw him one day. It was like seeing a ghost. He was living in a building across from mine. He could see my bedroom light and when I came or left.
He started showing up at my apartment. I called the police so many times. I would yell and scream. No one would help, even though my nose is busted and my eyes are black.
By the grace of God, I finally got an EPO and moved to Lexington. On lunch at work, I met this girl who told me about this place. A conversation with a stranger can change your whole life.
I got a call one day at my hotel. It was him. GreenHouse17 moved me to a different hotel and said we have a room at shelter.
They helped me heal physically and mentally. You don’t have to have all the answers. There’s still trauma and pain there. I know that I have a team of people. If I need anything, they will support me and my children. It’s not over, but I also know I’m not afraid anymore.
This is the first time I can tell my story and not cry. I want to show my son that’s not how women are treated. I want my daughter to grow up and recognize red flags. I will not let my children be victims. My strength, my faith, is about breaking the cycle – not just for my family, but for any woman and any woman of color.
This is only part of Takiyrah’s story, in her own words, shared with her permission.