I'm a Black woman who discovered that my marriage relationship was not a relationship at all; it was domestic violence (DV). Not the kind of DV we're accustomed to seeing, the sneaky types - economic, sexual, spiritual, verbal, and emotional - channeled strategically through coercive control. Nearly every mainstream resource that was supposed to help me and my girls failed us - I didn't act like the "typical" victim. The 15 years it took from me were all a waste unless I could change that narrative for someone else.
What I didn't realize is that there were 2 distinct barriers to changing that narrative - one I expected and one I did not. I knew mainstream society's biased perception of who I was and what I needed as a Black woman. I didn't know my community's biased expectations and assumptions would pose an equally large barrier to that change. According to VeryWellMind.com's 2021 article, Black women DV victim-survivors were facing my same lack of support in their churches, families, and friend circles. I knew I would need to educate in both places to move the needle, and that I would need some innovative ways to do it.
Apparently, according to this ManagementHelp.org article, that's the definition of a social entrepreneur: “individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.”
I have 10+ years of experience creating and delivering curriculum. I have been interacting with audiences in innovative educational ways since I was 16 years of age in a variety of ways - storytelling, oration, facilitation, workshops, song, spoken word, and theatre. I have been influencing others through my words for years. Now it's time for me use that influence to drive social change for a group in America with numbers of nearly half its population being impacted by a health issue that has the power to end or seriously alter the life of this population.
I am honored and sobered to say I am the only agency in the state of Iowa focused on this mission for this population:
The Black woman
Beloved, the Black woman has an experience like no other woman in America. She is called upon by all to show up and protected by none. She has had to develop a certain level of resiliency that makes it hard for her and society to view her as a woman in need.
That's why it was so important to me to create solutions that women like me could access, which we did and are expanding daily through Courageous Access.
Centers of Trust Defined: Places she goes because she trusts and feels safe there. Unfortunately, the Black community - its churches, its community centers, its families - often don't understand what the Black woman needs during and after this.
Centers of Must Defined: Places she goes because she has to. Mainstream victim services tend to disbelieve Black women are victimized when we authentically show up.
That's why it was crucial to me to provide training in these centers centers to help them understand, serve, and support more appropriately. I have done and will continue to do so through Courageous Fire, LLC.
When I come into these spaces, know I am providing this training in a much-needed and previously unrepresented form.
As my Black community and mainstream society partner with me in these ways, together we will fulfill my mission:
"To change the narrative for Black women dealing with DV (domestic violence)."
Beloved, this is where you need to be if you take the wellbeing of Black women seriously.
Why Black women in particular? When we get wellbeing right for we who are considered the least of society, we get it right for all of society.
Centers of Trust, Centers of Must, Communities - I can't wait to hear from you. Click the link the below to get started.