I remember the day I met Melissa, we were both in our early 20's. She walked into the store looking like a perfect Barbie doll. She was the new store manager and this girl had her stuff together. She was a task master but only because she wanted the store to look perfect. The better the store looked and the better the customer service the better numbers we had to send to corporate....I always admired her for her dedication.
He is tall, muscular and very good looking. I remember the first time I met her boyfriend. He also had this air of perfection about him...in a body builder type of way. He was so muscular you just felt tiny in his presence and yet when he smiled it was so obvious he had no problems getting attention from women....and when he spoke he was so charming.
What started off as a co-worker relationship developed into a friendship. Melissa even moved into the rental complex that I lived in so we were only a stone throw away...and yet we lived worlds apart.
I remember the day she got into a jet ski accident and was hospitalized ...when she finally came back to work she looked so bruised up. She was so athletic so to see her in pieces ... we were just happy the accident wasn't worse.
I remember when she started wearing long sleeve shirts to work everyday....we lived in South Florida...the lastest fashion in the store she would share and encourage us to wear it too.
I remember the phone call....the phone call telling me that she was scared for her life. Someone was watching her apartment .... I told her to call the police and I ran over. She never called the police and told me to go home...she was just being paranoid.
I remember when she finally told me that the ski accident was her boyfriend's doing...not on a jet ski...she just couldn't explain to her parents that she wasn't in a good relationship.
I remember begging her to move in with my husband and myself when I realized all that was happening. I remember how quickly things changed after she told me about the abuse....I remember how quickly she cut me out of her life. In hindsight, I realize I was cut out of her life because her boyfriend knew that I knew...
I remember the day I was told she was dead.
All I have of Melissa...memories of a young, beautiful, broken girl...one who had so much to give but felt she had no choice but to take her own life in front of her boyfriend...to take her life because she found her boyfriend with another woman...after so much abuse...she still wasn't even the 'only' one...
I am almost 40 now and I still think of Melissa....a life tragically cut so short because of Domestic Violence. Although she was the one who finally pulled the trigger...each blow that she received helped her get to the place where she felt she had no other choice.
It is too late for me to help Melissa but maybe...just maybe is not too late for you to help your girlfriend.
I commend the Allstate Foundation for the work they are doing to help victims of Domestic Violence.
- For each person who “likes” the Click To Empower! Facebook page, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000). Click here to go to the Facebook page.
- The Allstate Foundation will donate another $1 if you take the pledge to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence. As part of the pledge, your photo will be added to the “Faces of Support” gallery to show survivors that they aren’t facing domestic violence alone.
- Each day in the U.S., 3 women die as a result of domestic violence.
- More than 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans know someone who is or has been a victim.
- Only 54 percent of Americans have talked to a friend about domestic violence, and only 56 percent would know what to do to help a victim of domestic violence
I have to write the above disclaimer...but although I believe a conversation with Cheryl Burke would be delightful. I wrote this post in hopes that it starts a conversation...I wrote this post in hopes that if you are "Melissa" or know "Melissa" that you get help...we need you to survive...
I watch Cheryl Burke every week on Dancing with the Stars. I have watched her and have always thought... She is young, She is beautiful, She is strong...I find it so interesting how much in common she has with Melissa....the difference being Cheryl Survived. The hope is that through conversations ... through awareness...we have many more woman who are Survivors!