• Painful Legacy

    James Brown’s Daughter Speaks On Abuse

    After growing up witnessing her father, James Brown, violently abuse her mother, Yamma left her abusive husband just days after her father died in 2006—and was arrested for defending herself.

    The day I knew my marriage was over was Thursday, March 7, 2007, two days before Dad was to be buried on my sister’s property in Beech Island. I know the exact date because it’s on the arrest report. The legal wrangling over the estate was in full tilt, and I had just returned from a meeting with our lawyers. Darren had an office in our guesthouse, and I joined him there for a drink. He was sitting with my nephew, my half brother Terry’s son, Forlando, and had already had his share of scotch. I could tell from his cocky stance and the drained Chivas bottle on his desk. Forlando’s visits with Darren had become frequent after Dad died. I often told my nephew not to count on getting rich off of Dad, but Darren filled his head with other ideas. Ideas about how Darren could turn Dad’s considerable wealth into so much more that everyone in the family would benefit from, if only we would turn over the reins to him. That’s all he’d talked about since Dad died. The estate. He wanted to manage it for the family. He could turn Dad’s millions into billions with the right investments. That was his expertise. Would I please get my damn family to agree?

    I poured myself a glass of red wine, sat down on the couch, and kicked off my heels. My feet hurt and I was bone tired, the kind of unpleasant tired that comes from stress.

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  • Neil Webb/Getty

    NEVER AGAIN

    I Was Pregnant, He Hit Me. Why I Stayed.

    Social media is ablaze over the Ray Rice video, wondering why his future wife stayed. For me, like thousands of other abused women, that answer isn’t an easy one.

    I was eight weeks pregnant with my second child when my husband hit me.

    To be fair, he told me that he would kill me while he throttled my neck, and once I broke free I tried desperately to fight back. Then he hit me. Open hand right across the face, so hard it felt like a punch.

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  • Olivia Salazar/Getty

    Victim Shaming

    Stop Blaming Christy Mack

    A few days after the adult film actress allegedly suffered a brutal beating at the hands of her MMA fighter ex-boyfriend, the victim blaming has already begun.

    In his online avatar, MMA fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver (better known as “War Machine”) is wearing a tank top bearing the slogan “I DO ALPHA MALE SHIT.” Right now, that image hangs hauntingly over a Twitter feed in which Koppenhaver reveals that he is running from the police after his ex-girlfriend Christy Mack claimed he had beaten her so badly that she had to be hospitalized.

    Mack took to social media (warning: these images are disturbing) on Monday, three days after the alleged attack, to describe the injuries she suffered. Mack claimed that Koppenhaver found her with an unidentified third party, forced her to undress, and proceeded to break 18 of her bones, saw off her hair, knock out several of her teeth, and injure her liver with a kick to the side. A few hours later as Mack was presumably lying in hospital, Koppenhaver simply tweeted: “Hungry…”

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  • KIVILCIM PINAR/Getty

    Children who witness domestic violence in the home often believe that they are to blame, live in a constant state of fear, and are 15 times more likely to be victims of child abuse. In the following stories, readers remember witnessing violence in their childhood homes.

    I heard my parents fight. I heard screaming and yelling, usually about money, or some imagined offense by my mother. Then eventually I started hearing slapping noises. And one night when I was at a sleepover, my dad lost it and almost shot my mother in front of my 3-year-old sister. She's what stopped him ... she hugged him and said, “I love you.’ My mom left him after that, but the abuse continued.

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  • Domestic violence affects many, but we rarely talk about it. (Linnéa Andersson Rodén/Flickr, via Getty, Linn√ɬ©a Andersson Rod√ɬ©n)

    Your Turn

    Seeking Reader Stories About Domestic Abuse

    With Nigella Lawson’s run-in with domestic abuse in the news this week, The Daily Beast seeks your voice. Submit a short story of how you’ve encountered domestic abuse.

    You read about it in the news, you see the reports on television, but rarely do you share your side of domestic abuse. For a new project, editors of The Daily Beast want you to hear your story about domestic abuse in your life. We’ll then publish the most compelling submissions on the website at a later date. (Note: these will be anonymous—unless you tell us otherwise.)

    Victimization by violence induces shame, trauma, and unhappiness. These are often the most private and internalized of feelings. The very personal nature of domestic abuse only amplifies this truth. Sharing the horror of such nightmares takes enormous courage and can help destigmatize these awful experiences and change lives for the better.

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  • Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

    QUICK THINKING

    How to Handle Domestic Abuse

    Steps to take if you witness an assault.

    What would you do if you saw someone being beaten in public? English celebrity chef Nigella Lawson became the latest high-profile domestic-abuse victim when her husband, Charles Saatchi, was spotted strangling her at a London restaurant. Experts advise that if you see something awry, you should say something to authorities—or at the very least, make a noise to cause a distraction. If you can, take a photo (which is what happened with Saatchi). Experts say to avoid getting in the middle of an argument, because it could be dangerous for the abused or even you. Most important, call 911 as soon as possible.

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  • Domestic violence survivor Muriel Raggi with her dog Jasmine. (Urban Resource Institute)

    PAWS & PEACE

    Pets, Abuse Survivors Sheltered Together

    First program in NYC to house victims with their animals.

    Perhaps the most love that domestic-abuse victims get is from their pets—yet there are few nationwide shelters that allow them to live together. Now the Urban Resource Institute will launch New York City’s first-ever shelter to house both abuse survivors and their pets. As many as 40 percent of people suffering in an abusive situation put off leaving because they are concerned about their pets’ safety. The NYC pilot program, called People and Animals Living Safely (PALS), is set to run for six months beginning June 1. Here’s to hoping these survivors find comfort and safety—with Fido or Fluffy securely at their sides.

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