Posted on July 1st, 2011

A Day to Remember

I’ve always been sensitive to the needs and concerns of others. I make it point to display a huge amount of compassion to those that are less fortunate and especially those that are involved in less than ideal situations. October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. This issue is particularly close to my heart due to the fact that I was a victim of domestic abuse in my late teens. While I am blessed to have had the opportunity to escape the vile situation that I was in, my heart aches for those that have to endure this abuse on a regular basis. I have read countless stories about women that were killed or critically injured at the hands of someone who claims that they loved them. I have watched the movies of women fleeing their homes in the middle of the night with their children and belongings in tow. Having said that, I had no idea that the unexpected events of October 11, 2010 would resonate in my spirit the way that it did. It catapulted me into action.

Last week, I made breakfast plans with a Ms. Debra Bowles. I had not seen her in a while and I was eager to break bread with her and enjoy her company and conversation. Ms. Debra is truly a one-of-a-kind woman. She has a heart and passion for women that are suffering from domestic abuse and you can see it in everything that she does. We scheduled a breakfast date for the Cracker Barrel in Desoto at 10:00am. This gave me enough time to see my husband and children off in addition to doing a little housework around the home. I arrived at the intended destination about 5 minutes prior to our meeting time, and I spent time in the shop looking at little trinkets to pass time. A few minutes later, I greeted Ms. Debra, who was obviously preoccupied and we were seated by the hostess. She began to explain the crisis that a young lady with 2 very young children was in. She informed me that Shatavia had been calling her since that morning due to an altercation that occurred with a relative. She was currently sitting outside with her belongings and her 2 young children with no place to go.

Ms. Debra asked me if I minded accompanying her to go and get the young lady so that her children would not be on the streets. I emphatically told her “No” and we abruptly left the restaurant. While in the parking lot, we both prayed for guidance and while she was on the phone trying to make contact with agencies, I called a social worker friend to ask her about resources. While I was on the phone, I looked down at the ground and there was a $20.00 bill! Some may call that a coincidence, but we called that provision from God! As we traveled to Shatavia’s destination, Ms. Debra filled me in on the situation with Shatavia.
Apparently, she and her children have been living from pillar to post, and Shatavia had gotten into trouble due to stealing. She thought that she had to steal in order to provide for her children. That morning, her grandmother had pulled a gun on her after Shatavia had taken her car without permission and had an accident. This incident happened early on this morning in front of her children. Ms. Debra also informed me that Shatavia had suffered abuse from the hands of close friends and family members since the age of 5. My heart broke as she spoke and I continued to pray for direction and guidance. Ms. Debra was able to get in touch with the wife of the pastor of a local church and as she spoke with the First Lady, she began to get emotional and cry while she explained the plight of the young lady. The First Lady indicated that she had an appointment at that time, but agreed that something needed to be done and vowed to call her back.

As we pulled up to the destination, Ms. Debra regained her composure, so she could be a source of strength for Shatavia and her children. Shatavia cried at the sight of Ms. Debra and they immediately began to load her belongings into Ms. Debra’s vehicle while I recorded the events. While Ms. Debra and Shatavia quickly tried to gather her belongings and keep the children calm, Shatavia’s grandmother accosted Shatavia and demanded that she come inside to “fix the TV”. Ms. Debra calmly tried to diffuse the situation by telling the elderly woman that they just wanted to get the children situated, but the grandmother was adamant about Shatavia coming inside the apartment to “fix the TV, right now!” After a few minutes of this exchange, Shatavia went inside of the apartment while I tended to the children and Ms. Debra called the police to document the situation. While Shatavia sat in the back seat, Ms. Debra gave me a plastic container to for me to hold as we hurriedly left the premises before any further incidences occurred.

At this point, Ms. Debra decided to go to the local church that had assisted Shatavia with a hotel room for a week, so that one of the ministers could actually witness the situation first hand. On route to the church, Shatavia cried and cried as she relived the past day’s events and the lifelong abuse that suffered at the hands of those closest to her. We arrived at the church and Ms. Debra phoned a minister and asked that he step outside into the parking lot for a few moments. While Ms. Debra explained the situation that occurred, I tried to keep Shatavia and her children calm, while calmly telling her that she did not deserve to be treated in this manner regardless of what her actions were. I was shocked that the minister did not offer any advice or counsel and just helplessly stood there looking at the young lady and her children. I expected more compassion and action from a man of the cloth.

After leaving the local church, Ms. Debra drove to Methodist Charlton Hospital to speak with police officers regarding the incident. Shatavia tearfully explained the situation to the police officer, who exercised a great deal of compassion and sensitivity while listening to her story and eliciting information. While Ms. Debra and the police officers discussed options, Shatavia tearfully asked me if she was going to jail. At that moment, her 2 year old child also asked her mother if they were going to jail which caused Shatavia to break down even more. I comforted them and attempted to keep them calm while the events were discussed with the police. After about 30 minutes, we left the hospital, and headed towards the Hilton in Duncanville. While Ms. Debra obtained a room for Shatavia, I helped her to unload her belongings on to the cart. Ms. Debra got Shatavia and her family situated into a hotel room, and we left the hotel to get some food, clothes and toiletries.

We stopped by Ms. Debra’s home to get some items for Shatavia which included clothing, toiletries, a stroller and toys for the babies. She wanted to make sure that Shatavia and her children were in a comfortable and safe environment with no distractions and no drama. We went to a restaurant to get a family meal and then to the store to pick up some additional items. We brought the items up to Shatavia’s room and hugged her and told her that we loved her. We prayed with her and her children for about 30 minutes. Ms. Debra instructed Shatavia and her children to get some rest and we left them there sleeping peacefully.

As we left the hotel, there was a sense of peace that we had, although I knew that Ms. Debra’s work was not done. I knew that she would continue to work tirelessly to ensure Shatavia’s safety and well being. I made a vow to make myself available to her as well and to assist in finding resources. As I left Ms. Debra and headed home, I thanked God for allowing me to experience what Ms. Debra does on a daily basis and made it a point to become more involved from that day forward. I experienced first hand that we can discuss this matter all day long, but it is the action and the ability to actually DO SOMETHING that counts. What an unexpected day of events that will continue to stay etched in my memory.

Posted on July 1st, 2011


In September of 07’ a Grief Counselor by the name of Joe Shaw came to my house to counsel me because I lost my mom and dad 9 months apart in 06’. In the middle of the session he asked me if I was being abused. I told him no, but in the back of my mind I knew that I was being abused. A few days later he introduced me to Debra Bowles who is the founder of Women Called Moses and my life changed instantly for the better, she gave me a step by step safety plan on how to leave not knowing that I was going to have to put it into affect a few days later. She put me in a shelter called The Family Place. When I first got there I was scared, mad, happy, sad and confused and probably some emotions that haven’t even been discovered yet. EVERYTIME I called her she was available morning, noon and night.

It was always good to talk to someone who has gone through what you have gone through and knows exactly what you’re feeling. While I was still in the shelter she had talked me out of going back on more than one occasion. She actually came up to the shelter to talk to me and my four daughters even on that day she talked me out of going back to my abuser. She even knew when and what my abuser was going to say and do. She not only provided me with safety by getting me placed in the shelter but she also gave me spiritual guidance and she gave me a VOICE TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. At one of the meetings that I attended Women Called Moses gave me check to help with my monthly expenses and by the grace of God got me an attorney to handle my divorce.

Now I have a place to stay and I went to college and graduated with honors and shortly after I graduated the school hired me. I know it was nothing but God that sent me to work for the college because I am surrounded by women who was just like me.

Women Called Moses has helped some of the students that come into my office from getting spiritual advice to getting placed in a shelter to clothes, and toys for Christmas this is just some of the things that Women Called Moses has to offer. One of the student’s sisters was in an abusive relationship and didn’t know how to get her sister out of that situation safely and by being a woman that has been through that same process I just had to make one phone call to Debra, and she has helped and is still helping her. Women Called Moses has SAVED MY LIFE in more ways than one. For example letting me know that it wasn’t ok to be treated like a worthless animal with no purpose, SAFETLY getting me away from my abuser, educating and counseling me on how not to fall in that trap again, showing me my worth and most of all UNDERSTANDING and treating me like a daughter and not just a random person who needed help. Again these are just some of the things that Women Called Moses has to offer. When you meet Debra you will instantly know that she will never leave you or tell you anything wrong because she genuinely cares.

I thank God daily for putting it on Debra’s heart to start Women Called Moses because if it wasn’t for her obedience to God, I know with every fiber of my being that I WOULDN’T BE ALIVE today! Now I AM A SURVIOR because of Debra and Women Called Moses. I thank her for everything that she has done and is still doing for me and my daughters.

Posted on May 16th, 2011

by Carissa Turner on May 12th, 2011

In 2007 the Texas legislature mandated that school districts implement a “dating violence policy.” This policy must provide a definition on all aspects of “dating violence”, and also include education awareness for students and parents. Education and awareness are mostly given in high schools, but some question if this subject should be taught to younger students.
DENTON, Texas, May 9− Domestic violence has been an issue that affects individuals of all ages. For teens from the ages of 15 to 18 this type of violence is being referred to as “dating violence.” However, recent studies provided by organization Break the Cycle; show that domestic violence has increased in the age group 11 to 14. Other reports and studies suggest that the increase is due to the recession and the technology that helps this age group conceal the abuse. Dating violence is not considered just physical, but verbal in an oral and written form; young victims have received verbal abuse through text messages, IM chat, and social networks. “Nobody deserves to be abused, but sometimes they just don’t know that there’s help out there,” said Lead Counselor Mary Kay Hamilton of Genesis Women’s shelter; she along with other counselors from the shelter have visited high schools and educated students on dating violence. Hamilton also stated “I think it’s important that they do know if they call there’s no judgment.”
Dallas-Ft. Worth domestic violence organization Women Called Moses put effort into stopping the cycle of domestic violence through education and awareness to students at local schools. Women Called Moses has provided education to students in grades 5-12, students who have been taught by members of the organization have gained knowledge on how to identify the signs and who to contact for help. Students have also been educated on developing and maintaining healthy relationships, founder Debra Nixon-Bowles stated “Our goal is to stop the cycle of domestic violence by offering help to all members of the family, and by educating all victims and perpetrators.” But she like many others has offered her concerns about the amount of education given to students, “Just talking about abuse during “Teen Dating Violence” is not enough…schools need to play a stronger role in helping children to learn about and understand the different forms of violence.”

To those who have worked diligently to spread awareness about this issue, the education process doesn’t stop when they leave the classroom. Organizations like Women Called Moses believe that teachers and parents should continue the education, especially for students who have experienced violence at a young age. When asked about the continued education outside of the classroom and into the home, Nixon-Bowles went on to say “education starts at home with parents before it starts in the classroom. Parents are the first point of contact for their children in modeling acceptable behaviors. When parents exhibit behaviors that promote success away from home students are able to flourish while in the classroom.”
The mandate provided by the state legislature is an unfunded mandate, while sex and drug education is; this means schools and various organizations don’t receive federal funds to extend education to all grade levels or provide material that can be given out freely to all students and parents. “Sex and drug education is mandated because it is harmful and fatal. This can be said about domestic violence, as well. If it is not prevented or dealt with at an early stage, it can manifest into harmful and fatal results,” stated Grapevine ISD educator Whitney Williamson. The charismatic teacher continued by stating, “If this subject is taught at a young age, it will continue and carry-out through the rest of their lives. If this issue is taught continually and to its full content, students will be effective at recognizing signs and symptoms. Although it is a difficult subject, it is important it is not overlooked. It is very common and its awareness needs to be spread. “

Domestic violence is constantly referred to as the “cycle”, one that through continued education to those of all ages and increased awareness can be broken. For more information about domestic violence you can go to www.domesticviolence.org or visit www.womencalledmoses.org.

Posted on April 4th, 2011

God wouldn't take you through anything if he knew you couldn't handle it.

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