"I was born into a family of beautiful Women. We lived most of our lives on the West-Side of Chicago. My family, my mother and surviving siblings are still there. This story is not just about me, or Ina, but about all women who suffer at the hands of someone who is suppose to love them."
-Darlene Greene, Founder
Ina was the baby in the family, and we treated her as such. She did what she wanted, went where she wanted and had what she wanted. Although we all complained, we indulged her because we loved her so much.
She was fun, funny and full of life. When she started dating a Chicago Sheriff policeman, we thought it was nothing to be concerned about; he seemed to care about her. They dated for about a year and she had a son with him, now, along with her two daughters she was the mother of three.
One year later she gave birth to another son. When he asked her to move in with him she thought it was a blessing, after all she now had four children, and she was not making a great deal of money at the job she had at the time her baby son was born, so living with him would make things easier for her. When her baby was about six months old she came to work at the company I worked for, and she was very happy there. She made friends very quickly; that was the nature of who she was.
I had to leave town for business on her birthday. She came by my office and I gave her money to buy herself a nice lunch, as a birthday gift from me. She thanked me, but said that was not the reason she came to my office that day.She wanted to let me know that she had decided to leave him. He had been abusing her for most of their two year relationship. Many times, my siblings and I would go and pick her up after an ugly and violent fight between them.
That day would be the last time I would see my sister alive. That evening she went out with friends from the company to celebrate her birthday. When she got home he was angry because he said she stayed out too late.
According to him, he and my sister fought over the gun and it went off and shot her in the head.
My sister was 5’2”, Why a trained law enforcement officer had such a difficult time disarming a small woman like my sister has continued to haunt me.
Ina Mae was 30 years old for eight minutes.
All I can remember about my Aunt, Minnie Lee Curtis is that she was my mother’s sister; I was very young when she was killed. I can remember that she always smelled good, she was always nicely dressed and she would kiss us on our cheeks with her red lips, and that would leave an imprint where she kissed us.
We would wear that lipstick print like a badge of validation that we were loved and adored by her as she was by us. Aunt Minnie Lee was single. She was not in a serious relationship, just dating. One night, she was coming home from work and her boyfriend of ONE MONTH grabbed her as she was exiting the El train (local form of public transportation), and he cut her throat. You see, she decided that he was not someone she wanted to date anymore, so two days before her birthday, she broke off her relationship with this man.
Aunt Minnie was 28 years old.
I met my husband through mutual friends at work. He was handsome, charming, funny, well dressed, and saved! He was always helpful to me and my two children. (I was raising Ina's youngest daughter.) We found a house;.our dream house, bought it and moved in 30 days from the day that we first fell in love with it.
On the same day we were married, he made a special note to let me know who was in charge and who was going to be running things from now on!
Because he had been nothing like that in the past, I let it go, thinking he must be joking, but it was not a joke. He continued with mean jesters, saying nasty things to me, calling me while I was at appointments with customers. Not wanting me to go out of town to work (we had the same occupation). He knew that I was not cheating, although he accused me of it constantly.
Then the pushing and the shoving started. He started to dictate to my kids, having them do very unreasonable things under the name of “chores” or taking on responsibilities, like having my son clean the pool in December!
I tell you, I was still walking around in a daze. I could not believe this was happening to me. That I could end up in a situation like this one, but I was. The last straw was when I went to dinner with two of the salesmen that worked for me. I was their boss and we were discussing business, but deep down I just wanted to get out of the house for a while, and of course, he accused me of sleeping with not one, but both of them. When I got home that evening we had a knock down drag out FIGHT! He picked me up and threw me across the room. I missed the edge of the brick fireplace by inches. I knew that I had to go. I found a lawyer to take my case. I moved out and stayed with friends until my case was filed. Since I knew he was not going to leave until he was forced to, I made sure that everyone knew what was going on and that we were getting a divorce. I locked my door at night and kept 911 on speed dial. I was very lucky that he was afraid of the police (like most abusers), so he pretty much left me alone. I was sure that during the waiting period for the divorce to be final, he would try to make me change my mind or torture me until I would leave the house and everything in it to him.
Again I was lucky, a friend of mine gave me the money to pay for my divorce, BUT the divorce went along very quickly! The look on his face when I came home with his copy of the final divorce decree was priceless.
I cannot say it enough that I was lucky. The most danger to an abuse victim is when they try to leave their abuser. The FBI says that women who try to leave have a 75% chance of being murdered by their abusers.
You must develop a safety plan so that when you know you are gone for good, you will know where you are going, how you will get there, and how you will sustain your family while you are there if you have children.
Most shelters will help you find housing, legal help and medical assistance if you need it.
Part of your plan should be to get the information about a shelter near you and keep it in a safe place outside the home where your abuser cannot find it.
Remember you cannot go back to that house for ANYTHING!