Domestic Violence Survivor!
So, where do I begin?... It began with being woken up by my mother's screams... My father's anger... The slaps, things breaking and slams. I witnessed my mother get hit for 16 years! This began the process of what I thought was normal. I knew it didn't feel right, but it had to be love right? My parents looked happy when they gave parties from our home. They seemed in love... Until the alcohol hit or a man would look at my mom.
I had to be her protector even as a child. I screamed! I fought! I faked chest pains! I did whatever I could to get my father to notice me and leave my mom alone! It worked... For the most part.
At the age of 12 I began smoking weed. At 13, alcohol. Anything to escape my reality. At 18 I met a dude and never went back home. That's where my nightmare became a reality...
One months later after living with him, I got my first slap! I fought back and left! BUT he told me he was sorry, that he'll never do it again, that he loved me! I believed him... I went back and that's when I became a victim. For 8 years I got slapped, punched, beat, humiliated, told I was ugly, no one will ever love me. I got pregnant. I thought he'd change. Oh! Let's not forget the disturbing sexual acts he forced me to do! It was a pattern... It didn't matter that I was bruised, crying, hurting... If I didn't perform what he wanted, I'd get it again while doing... (This reality hurts til today)
It got worse! After the hit, came the words... See what you made me do? Why did you get me angry? I believed I was the problem! After all, this is the love I saw growing up! I became a product of dysfunctional love.
Let's fast forward.
I dropped out of high school in my 11th grade. I found comfort in drugs, they became my escape. I sold drugs to make ends meet, I worked. I did whatever I had to do to keep him happy and now at 18, provide for my kid. Everything got worse! 8yrs later, I got the courage to leave. He stalked me! Kidnapped me! Held me hostage in his apartment! I slept on the floor...
Why put up with this they ask... After the abuse came the threats! If you ever leave me, I'll find and kill you! I'll kill your parents! I'll take my child away from you! I WANTED OUT! But was mentally incarcerated! Well, I finally left! I had to leave the state. His threats were too much! When I returned, I was a new woman ready to face my biggest fear! Once I faced HIM... He realized he had NO hold on me anymore... I was the threat now! I pointed the gun!!!
At the age of 32 I met the 2nd abuser! That was 11 years of mental hell! He was a big strong bully! I stood for the kids! He was a child abuser! We had his 2 young children which became my babies and he abused them! I was their protector! How could I leave!!!??? Why would I stay? I sacrificed my life for my kids! Until I just couldn't anymore!
I left! I suffered! I had nothing! BUT God!!!!! I went back to school! Got my GED! I have an Associates & Bachelors Degree and recently became a licensed Realtor.
What? How? I DARED TO LIVE for ME!
I took chances! I trusted in the Lord! I surrounded myself with successful women! Attended Women's Ministry! Sang in the choir! I did all I can to stay in God's face!
The Lord gave me a vision a couple of months ago. I saw Dare to Live in shirts! The shirts would serve a double purpose. For those that wear the shirt and for those that read the shirt!
We never know if we're the last sign of hope someone may need! I can only pray when people wear my shirts or read the message, GOD HIMSELF touch their heart!
The proceeds are not for profit... They're for a purpose! I've been able to help families of victims that didn't make it out! Survivors! And DV organizations! I can only pray that the Lord continues to guide me!
ALL the Glory & Honor goes to God! I'm just the vessel I'm humbled he chose to use me to reach others!
Dare to Live Movement!
*Iris is a domestic violence survivor. She works as a case manager and supports other women who need her help. Iris is always willing to assist anyone who may be in similar abusive relationships. If you care to reach out to Iris or would like to order a tshirt, you can contact Iris on her social media platforms.
Facebook: Iris Charles(ThinkPink)
IG: @latina_stylz4u & @daretolive4u
- All interactions with Iris are strictly confidential
The National Domestic Violence Hotline