This is the single most important thing I have ever posted. This girl, Aysia Larissa Peters, as shown above recently had her life tragically cut short in an act of domestic violence. Her aunt, Cory Bennett, made this post on facebook in hopes of raising some awareness around this serious issue. Please take the time to read and share this, it is important:
"This is my niece. Aysia Larissa Peters. I know I needn’t state the obvious, but I will. She is absolutely gorgeous. As with all things true beauty lies within; and she is truly beautiful. She is compassionate, kind, creative and a true friend. I know this not because I am her biased aunt. I know this because this is what I have been reading about her. These are the words of her friends and family, these are their words of tribute and reflection, their words of goodbye. As you read that word “goodbye”, what did you think? Did you think “how awful, what a loss, what a shame, what happened?” I know I would have. Human nature is to then try and come to some manner of obvious conclusion. “Not another child lost to… drinking and driving, drugs, texting and driving, suicide, cancer…” Those are the obvious choices. They are all plagues on our society, all thieves of youth. Did any of you think, “not another victim of domestic violence?” Was that anyone’s first thought? When the call came it was mine.
Look at her face. She is every girl. Who do you see? I see Porsche and Robin, Samantha and Jess, Karley and, and, and, and.
It’s so odd how you can find yourself forgetting how to breathe.
As with all things the story unfolds. Moved away from home, dropped out of school, alienated from family and friends, made to feel worthless by her boyfriend? Partner? What do I call this vile stain on the fabric of society? How can someone I have never known change my life so much? Recently she went home. She left with the clothes on her back and with the tenacity that was Aysia. She walked 17 kilometres, to her daddy who could barely recognize her. “She wasn’t eating.” She was disappearing in more ways than one. She showered, put on the new clothes that he had run out to buy her, played with the new puppy he had gotten for her when she was away, for when she would come home. Slept in her bed in the room that had been untouched for months; waiting for her. A room that had been a constant reminder that she was not there, was now once again sanctuary. She felt like “such a loser”, “couldn’t even graduate high school”. No amount of reassurance seemed to change this. No matter, she was home. She was where she was safe and loved. After a time her resolve waivered. She went back.
The story I have thus far is that he shot her in the head. She languished for a few hours and while her parents were trying to make the very difficult decision as to whether or not to gift the organs of their daughter to those in need her heart stopped and there was no more decision to be made.
Much of it is sadly not surprising. A predictable pattern of events occurs with an obvious conclusion; except. Except she’s 17.
I have attended many a take back the night march; December 6th memorials for the women of the Montreal massacre; memorials for women who were victims of domestic violence, for women I did not know and never will. It happens to other people. It happens to women who at the very least have a 2 as the first digit in their age. It is what you read in the paper or see on the news but it does not happen to my family. This does not happen to us.
And yet here we are.
My friends are asking me what can I do? How can I help? What do I say? How do I say it? What do you need?
Funny, those are the things I have been asking myself for months while we waited. Waited with arms not long enough to reach her; waited with words spoken but unheard, waited for texts and messages to be returned, waited with dread for the call to come. The call that finally did.
This is not really a conversation that we are having all that often. We are seeing it on occasion. I know it’s been Oprahed and Dr. Philed. But it is not real.
He shot her in the head. It is real.
So here is my answer. Please share this with your Facebook friends. Please have this conversation with your children. Listen to what they have to say while your arms are long enough to hold them and you are close enough to hear. I know this isn’t the sort of thing we want to think about or pass on but it is what will help. If ever I helped you please help my family now. If you receive this from a friend of a friend of a friend please pass it along you don’t know who is listening for a voice that says you are not alone and if you ask for help it will be given.
It is not love when he is jealous it is a belief that he owns you. He should want you to have friends and spend time with your family; if he does not he is trying to isolate you, to take you away from the loving influences in your life that will do their best to shield you from him. If he makes you feel stupid or ugly or useless that is not what people who love you do. People who love you make you feel wonderful and supported always; their love is not a lure. If he swears at you, calls you names, yells at you or demeans you he does not love you. If he cannot live without you then it is likely you won’t.
I know many will want justice for Aysia. There will be no justice. This cannot be fixed and no matter what happens to him it will not reassemble the chards of my broken heart.
And while this will sound very cliché to some if this message saves ONE young woman, girl, child (what do I call her), then at the very least her loss will have meaning. If my niece died so that others may live that will be something. She would have wanted that, to help someone else, even if she could not help herself.
Goodbye sweet girl.”
This is powerful. In May 2014, a close friend of mine was also shot in the head and killed by her scum bag “boyfriend”. She was in her early 20’s. When I was 18, my now ex-husband beat me to an inch of death. Then he kept on beating me. I was always covered in bruises, I had to start coming up with clever excuses, I was so ashamed that I had become this thing I had said I would never be, but I couldn’t see a way out. By the time I was 20, he had broken my ribs and my nose and, final straw, after beating me mercilessly because I had tried to leave him, held a gun in my mouth while he raped me in an ally where he had caught up to me while I was trying to run away from him, blind (I had been sleeping when it all started and I wear contacts), bleeding from him, and naked from him ripping my pajamas off, I ran hysterical through the streets of Venice, CA and pounded on a strangers door to help me. They took me and helped me more than I could’ve expected. I was lucky for the kindness of strangers. That week, I left most of my belongings behind, along with my home and all my friends, and moved to Oregon, where my sister was living. Ten years ago, almost. I was lucky to get out alive. Bianca, my friend who was killed in May, and this sweet child weren’t as lucky to escape. I don’t usually tell people about what happened in my past, it still is so traumatizing. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important to realize that this could be anyone. Even me, this strong feminist, independent woman. Domestic Abuse sucks us in and we are beat down and lost. If it weren’t for those kind strangers that night, I wouldn’t be here today. What we do to help others matters. Spread this powerful message. Pay attention. Help. Don’t give up on your friends who show up with bruises time and time again, telling you they “fell” even though you know better. It was a web of people who saved my life. I wish I could’ve helped to save Bianca and Aysia. Rest in peace. Too many sweet women stolen by Domestic Violence. It’s heart breaking. Let’s be each other’s safety net. Don’t turn away just because it’s hard to look, or because you don’t know how to help. Ask questions. Don’t judge. Make yourself available. Be gentle with battered women, verbally and otherwise, they are shaken and hyper sensitive. You could be the one to help save someone’s life. I’m a survivor, and though I walked away alone, I couldn’t have done it without help.