The Light at the End of the Awareness Ribbon

Now that October is over, for many there is no need to recognize pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness month. They've packed away their posters, ribbons and donation cups until next year. The same goes for another group of individuals for Domestic Violence Awareness month is also recognized in the month of October with purple ribbons.  

However, both of these groups of survivors, loved ones remembered and current victims live with the constant reminder of why an awareness month even exists, in their lives daily. October or not, women are still diagnosed with breast cancer and purple ribbons seen or not, countless women and men will continue to be abused by their loved ones. 

One woman I have had the blessing to get to know, is one of the most beautiful women I've ever met. Her smile comforts, her eyes blaze courage and when she speaks, you are changed. She recently shared her story of domestic violence on Facebook. I've asked her permission to share it because no matter what month it is, someone needs to know there's hope for them. 

I introduce Miss Mary Bowman, nationally recognized spoken word artist, HIV advocate and survivor through perinatal transmission, woman, daughter...just, Mary...

"For #DomesticViolenceAwareness month I've decided to share my story... I don't think I've ever shared this story publicly.

In 2007 I was physically attacked by my father. The attack was followed by a discussion that went horribly wrong. In my telling of this story I am realizing my urge to excuse my father's behavior by saying that he suffered from PTSD and that my teenage vernacular did not ease the situation. I think about how many women excuse the abusers and think of ways it may have been their own fault that caused the countless incidents. But the truth of the matter is my father beat me as if I was a stranger on the street that owed him money. When I looked to my family for support I was met with accusations against me. When the cops arrived there wasn't much dialogue. All they needed to see was the blood running from my face and my swollen eyes. I had him arrested. In the morning while gathering clothes from my house to leave, My mother walked through the door and in followed my father. I couldn't believe it. I felt betrayed. I left. Days later my father's lawyer called me and encouraged me not to go to court and gave me a list of reasons why. It became clear that everyone was more concerned about the well being of my abuser than me, the victim. 

Long story short... My mother who witnessed the whole incident was devastated and very apologetic about what happened. She pleaded with me not to send my father to jail. My father's health was declining rapidly and of course she knew that they wouldn't take care of him the way she would at home. So I caved, I didn't show up in court. I stayed quiet. My family went on the way we usually do... Nobody talked about it much. The thing that bothers me most about this is that nobody asked me how I felt. Nobody asked me about me and I was the one that had wear a face of shame everyday in the public. My face took a while to go back to normal. I am typically understood to be a chill individual that doesn't fight, so to see my face look as badly as it did brought on a lot of questions. I cried a lot. I hated my father for what he did. 

I eventually moved passed what happened to me almost 7 years ago. My father has passed away since then. My family still doesn't really talk about what happened to me. 

I shared this story because I just realized that I am now 1 in 4 women that will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. I am a woman that made excuses for the abuser. I am a woman who loves her father and didn't know what else to do. Think about the other women who deal with domestic violence everyday. Their abusers are fathers, boyfriends, husbands, partners, brothers, uncles...etc. Please help me raise awareness for domestic violence. And let's continue awareness past October!!!"

For more about Mary, visit 

For more information on Domestic Violence, please visit The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out. There's no shame in asking for help. Call 1-800-799-7233