Without fail, mighty words would always shoot forth when Lucille “Big Mama” Allen stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the “big room” speaking her own truth.
This time she would speak to other women who spoke about another ‘sister’ and village member, particularly on two occasions that were never happy. One was when the member of the village was injured or showed up with bruises or Heaven forbid if one of the sisters in the village died from injuries.
In Lucille “Big Mama” Allen, world domestic violence was real. It was called a date with the devil.
My siblings and I were affected by domestic violence. Yet, I will not speak on those specific family-centric experiences as we all have different levels of healing in the family.
I do know, thanks to Big Mama’s own journey, test and testimony; my sisters have not experienced domestic violence like the sisters in My Mama/Big Mama’s village. Childhood trauma is a by- product of domestic violence. I am trembling as I write this now.
My trauma resurfaced.
One vivid memory sticks in my mind. Mama answered a call and she suddenly dropped the phone saying, “Oh God no!” I saw life leave her body as she fell in the chair, yet nothing was said that day, during the funeral and after the repast.
That silence never changed. All I know is that a sister in the village was gone. And it hurts! I never felt so helpless! I vowed to never let any woman suffer those emotions and fears again.
I got my house in order! I created a fund with bestselling author, the late Francis Ray, and launched Sister CEO!
Lucille “Big Mama” Allen’s platform was always steeped in the Biblical word. She had a song in the sister village, for those ‘incidents’ – “My soul looks back and wonders how I got over.”
In those songs, I learned of other sister voices in the village, Mahalia, Aretha, Maya, Clara and the pensive Billie Holiday.
Big Mama and the village sisters endured a lot to be women. Domestic violence rips open the finer tapestry of the village as it dismantles the joy in the family. Check the facts.
85% of domestic violence victims are women. Commonshelter.org says that the most common age when intimate partner violence is first experienced by women is age 18-24 (38.6%), followed by age 11-17 (22.4%), age 35-44 (6.8%) and age 45+(2.5%). For men the most common age is 18-24 (47.1%), fol- lowed by age 25-34 (30.6%), age 11-17 (15.0%), age 35-44 (10.3%) and age 45+ (5.5%).
These are real facts!
The renowned Runoko Rashidi reminds us all that we are descendants of the Diaspora. He says women were revered in our ancestral past. We are not true to our African selves and the original role of women in our lives.
Disrespecting your mother was not allowed in our village back then, so why now?
Readers, take action do not harbor or protect perpetrators of family violence. It is unacceptable!
Family, we need you. Let’s get our house in order! Call me at the paper or email me.
I want us to join hands and do our part to end domestic violence now, not tomorrow!
Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at email@example.com