Domestic violence is closer than you think.
As a probation officer, one of my roles is to conduct weekly group meetings with the young men on my caseload. These meetings took place twice a week, every month at one of the city of Chicago facilities from 3-5pm. I met with 15-20 young men. I would arrive to the facility early of course to set up and during that time I met the receptionist who would check the people in. The receptionist Ms. D was an older lady in her 50’s at the time. I regularly held conversations with Ms. D. prior to the boys arriving. She was a very nice woman who felt comfortable to tell me her problems. I had known Ms. D. for a couple years, so we quickly developed a bond and she would often times share personal information with me about her. She was like a mother to be honest. Ms D. had a really down to earth personality. Well because I’m a probation officer, Ms D. one day felt the urge to tell me about this young guy she was dating who was very jealous and insecure. Ms. D. said this guy was so jealous he would check her purse daily to see if she had business cards. Remember Ms. D. worked for the city so she met many people. She went on to tell me her boyfriend would physically abuse her if he suspected anything suspicious. As a probation officer I became concerned so I told Ms. D before it gets worse she needed to report it to the authorities. She said she would. I returned 2 weeks later and there was Ms. D. sitting in her same spot at the receptionist desk when you entered into the lobby. While waiting on my boys we had our regular conversation. Ms. D. claimed that everything had gotten better. Well, my boys arrived and I conducted the meeting and afterward Ms. D. happened to still be there when I was leaving so being a gentleman I asked her if she would like for me to drop her off at the train which was 2 blocks from where we were. She said yes, I dropped her off and headed home. I returned 2 weeks later and there was Ms. D. sitting in her same spot. Well you know the routine while waiting for the boys we had our regular conversation. Ms D. said remember when you dropped me off at the train a few days ago? I said yes, she responded and said “he was watching me from across the street” he saw you drop me off and questioned who you were. I told him you were a probation officer who conducts meetings with the boys and you were kind enough to drop me off. Well he didn’t believe it and he beat me bad. I immediately called a police officer who was stationed in the building where the meetings are held and told him of the situation. The police officer then advises her to file a report and get a restraining order against him. Ms. D. said she would do so as soon as she got to her area police station in Dolton. All the while I’m talking to Ms. D. I’m thinking to myself not knowing how dangerous this thing had gotten because the weeks prior she said everything was okay and not to mention I never thought I could have been a target nor did we know he was watching her as she was getting on the train. This man could have followed me home and killed me and she wouldn’t have ever known. I had only dropped her off that one time out of the 2 years I had known her. After all that going through my head I mentioned that to Ms. D and she thought the same thing so she said she would definitely get a restraining order. Well, I happen to cancel my regularly scheduled meeting with the boys so I didn’t see Ms. D. but when I returned I was informed by the staff that they had been trying to get in touch with me. I asked why, they said because we knew how much Ms .D liked to talk to you and how you would try to help her. I said again what’s wrong. The woman said Ms. D. Is dead! I yelled out NOOOOOO! How? ” Her boyfriend killed her”. They explained this situation to me. The boyfriend strangled and beat her in the head, laid her on the couch in her pajamas and made it like she was asleep. The irony of this was that I had read this story in the Chicago Sun times, but didn’t know it was Ms. D. I didn’t put two and two together. I would like to give a little advice: know who you are talking to: first name, Last name and not just initials or nickname. As much as I thought I knew about Ms. D, I never tried to get to know her full name. Had I known her name it would have registered when I saw the name and story in the paper, therefore I could have attended her funeral, but found out a week after I returned to the facility. R.I.P Ms. D.
Domestic violence is nothing that one should assume will simply go away. You may know someone who is in a similar situation or it may be you. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself despite a love that has gone wrong that you wish could get better. Please believe me it won’t. If you take anything away from this story, note that your life is in your own hands and it’s up to you to decide if you rather live or die. Peace.
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