*Warning: This article contains images that depict physical abuse that some readers may find difficult or triggering.
By Shannon Dawson
A domestic violence experience moved Shia Douglas, the younger sister of Ashanti, to open up about intimate partner abuse with the hopes of empowering and supporting other victims.
On Oct. 1, the holistic lifestyle coach took to her Instagram page with jarring images of herself donning a blackeye, bloody teeth and bruises across her arms. Douglas sustained the injuries during her “toxic” and violent relationship with her ex-fiancé in 2020.
“I thank GOD! My ancestors, angels, and guides for pulling me through this Warzone alive!” the Wife Of Creation CEO wrote in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“It was Toxic, and it was dangerous not only for obvious reasons but also because to the outside world everything seemed fine.. but those closest to us knew! But didn’t know how to help,” she continued. “It got to a point where the abuse was regular behavior, and I would fight back pick up whatever I could to protect myself.”
Shia revealed that her ex-fiancé knocked out 8-9 of her teeth in their last altercation. She included the gory image in her harrowing slideshow.
Shia Douglas sends a message to domestic violence survivors
Further along in the lengthy caption, Douglas reflected on some of the reasons why she continued to accept the physical and emotional trauma from her former partner before things turned dangerous.
“My undying loyalty and strong desire to create my own family had me accepting things I never should have, she wrote. “I’ve been punched, spat on, strangled, pushed to the ground. And been threatened with a 🔫… I look at these pictures and I hold grace and patience for the woman I was and everything she didn’t know! I love her and thank her for her role in my journey.”
Before signing off, the wellness guru said that she didn’t want her followers to see her as a “victim or a survivor.”
“This is all apart of my story, my life and my journey…This post is for any woman or man who has yet to truly recognize the power they possess, and finds themselves in a environment that is unhealthy, please know if they’ve done it once they will do it again.. it is inevitable!”
Black women experience domestic violence at a higher rate
Shia’s story is far too common in the Black community. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 40 percent of Black women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partner during a relationship. Sadly, more than half of Black adult female homicides are related to intimate partner violence. This is why Domestic Violence Awareness Month is so important. The month-long initiative plays a crucial role in helping to educate people about the longstanding issue.
If you or someone you know is in grave danger from domestic abuse, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE(7233).
Know the signs! Domestic violence abusers can often exhibit physical and psychological clues that could help you determine whether your partner may become violent. Signs often include intimidation, making accusatory statements, isolating you from family and friends, or controlling what you watch or see, Safe Horizon notes. A few more resources are below.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Strong Hearts Native Helpline