My name is Davida Roach and I’m the Executive Director of Dear Deanndra, a nonprofit organization created to prevent domestic violence through awareness and beauty empowerment. 

Did you know that every day in America, 3 women are killed daily from domestic violence? If that doesn’t shock you, did you know that whenever a child is killed, it’s typically by their father?

To me, that means we as women have to be mindful of who we allow into our hearts and into our minds because the dating the wrong person can lead us and possibly our children to death. That’s why it’s so important to read red flags. Red flags are an early detection that this person could potentially harm you. Some red flags that I’d like to address are:

-Wants to be with you constantly.

-Accuses you of cheating all the time.

-Follows you around or frequently calls during the day.

-Odd behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to check in on you 

-Compliments you in a way that makes you seem superhuman.

-Very dependent for all needs.

-Expects you to be perfect.

-Says things like, “I am all you need,” and “You are all I need.”

-Easily insulted.

-Sees everything as personal attacks.

-Has a tantrum about the injustice of things that happen to them.

-Totally goes off about small irritations.

-Looks for fights.

-Claims of love at first sight.

-Says you are the only one who can make her/him feel this way.

-Pressure for commitment in such a short time. 

Most women would look at some of these red flags and think “no, that just means he really loves me and doesn’t want to see me with anyone else” but that right there, is what I like to call, a spirit of victimization. Thinking like this will have you bending backwards for someone who doesn’t love you, just wants to control you. If a man controls you, then he can kill you. I hate to put it that way, but it’s the truth. Let me give you an example. 

My sister Deanndra was a bright young woman. She had recently graduated high school and on her way to becoming a young responsible adult. She was dating a young man who she thought “loved” her. He always wanted to be where she was, relied on her for money to buy him clothes and food, plus more. They were in a toxic relationship but she didn’t know because she was manipulated. One thing about abusers is that they have a balance of treating you like a Queen and treating you like trash. It’s the game they play to keep you in the field because they know if they treat you mean all the time, you won’t stay. So of course they apologize and promise “to never do it again” but it only gets worse. 

My sister’s relationship led her to thinking she would be safe when she met him the night of January 29, 2016. But unfortunately, he knew that night that he was going to shoot her multiple times and leave her to be found face down on the ground the next day only to be found by a man walking his dog the next morning. 

My sister didn’t deserve that. No woman deserves that, not even you if you are in a toxic relationship. Not even your friend, cousin, sister or best friend who is currently in a toxic relationship and to show that she doesn’t deserve it, empower her. Let her know how beautiful she is. Most women in toxic relationships rely on these men to make them feel beautiful not realizing they already are.

With Dear Deanndra Inc., our goal is to prevent victimization by empowering women through awareness and encouragement. We host annual events to shed light on domestic violence through creative events. Our first year, we held a women’s empowerment fashion show and last year we had an art gala. This year, we are giving back by donating wigs to women affected by domestic violence. Most of the time, women living at shelters don’t have the money or resources to afford a luxury wig or hair service to make them feel empowered to get back on their feet. 

That’s my goal with Dear Deanndra, to travel the world with a glam squad and donating full beauty services to women living at shelters to put beauty back in their lives. We all know what it feels like to have a bad hair day and it can be detrimental to our self esteem which can lead to victimization if we are in relationships. To that I say, take a moment each week to get dolled up and remind yourself and others how beautiful you are. Self love is the best love and it’s the best form of defense for domestic violence! 

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