My sister and I have always had a close relationship…we’re only 1.5 years apart – grew up in a home with parents who displayed love and affection…Married 32 years – we NEVER saw our parents raise their voice at each other.  My parents taught us to be strong, independent women, showed us the finer things in life – because they never wanted us to ever settle for less. So it came as a shock to me when my sister shared her story of being involved in a brutal, domestic violent filled relationship – for seven years.  And it all happened right under my nose.

To be clear, I knew something wasn’t right…I HATED the guy she was with…(yes, I know hate is a strong word…but I couldn’t find a stronger one to use.)  Anyone who was in my life during that time period knows that I was an emotional wreck…In 2004, my mother passed away, my sister was living in a different city with a guy that I didn’t like and I could not put my hands on what was wrong…and I was very scared for my nieces.  I would get phone calls from family members who lived close to my sister – they would tell me about incidents they witnessed that they felt was out of character for my sister…and when I would call to check in on her – she would always say that everything was ok.  In my heart and spirit, I knew this was not the case –  there was nothing I could do about it, but pray.  My sister and I grew distant during that time because to me, she just was not the same person I knew.

Her story is shocking and brutal…and I only recently learned of the details a little over a year ago as we were sitting in my living room casually talking about life.  At this point, she was freshly out of the seven-year domestically violent relationship and divorced.  She had been living in Miami a few years and we were just as close as we were growing up. She noticed a new painting that I had on my wall, a painting that caught my eye while I was at Essence Music Festival.  It was a drawing of a woman who was running away from a ton of bags that she had dropped along the way – and was headed toward a sign that read “SUCCESS.”  The caption on the painting said, “Baggage Left Behind.”  I kept admiring the art piece and wanted to buy it – but I also felt that I was not that woman….I didn’t have baggage – my life was not full of drama – so I didn’t think it was meant for me.  But I kept coming back to it – and finally decided to buy it anyway.

It was that painting that sparked the conversation between my sister and I…she kept admiring the piece and asked me for it.  I immediately told her no and that I paid good money for it.  She damn near begged me for it – and then started telling me why it would mean so much to her.  I was in tears when she was done.  I was sad, hurt, angry, disappointed, curious, thankful – a mixed bag of emotions.  I could not understand how my sister would endure such pain for so long – and not tell ANYONE.  I could not understand how we both grew up so close, surrounded by strong women, never exposed to violence – yet she was living weak and accepting such brutality.  I could not understand where the low self-esteem came from. How was I able to understand and accept all the messages and lessons my parents taught us – and somehow the signals get crossed with her?  We talked for many hours that night – and I still walked away confused, but thankful that she lived to talk about it.

A week ago, my sister asked me to read her blog and that she felt the need to share her story…it took me five days to read it because I didn’t want to face what she went thru in black and white.  More questions came up when I finally read it:  How did you sleep next to him after he used you as a punching bag?  Where were the kids when all of this was happening?  WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME????  And how in THE HELL did you forgive him???  I personally am not at that point.

Please take a moment to read her story (link below) and share this with family and friends…Her story is real…and it happens everyday to women all around the world…and sometimes – its happening right under our the people closes to us – but we would never know – because its happening – BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Behind Closed Doors


  1. Hey Lisa, I read Donna's story. Thank God she's still here and able to share it. I am hopeful her story helps someone else.
  2. Reblogged this on dosesofhope and commented: Never realized how this affected my sister. Thanks for giving a little bit of your side. I love you :-).
  3. I read it earlier and was in shock. I was angry and hurt for her because I would never want to see my family hurt but I'm glad that God delivered her from that evil and helped her regain her strength. God is good....I love my fam and thank God my family, the Joseph's. I wouldn't trade ya'll for the world. XOXO
  4. Lisa, I would never believe it; even if i saw it face to face. Donna is a true surviver because she is not angry. His wickedness will not affect her future. I thank God for you also for having a shoulder for Donna to lean on. I know you both are doing great things that would make you momma prode. If i could help it i would single handedly pass this story to the world. With Gods help this story would reach the right people and save there lives. My prayers is with you all at all times. Much love.
  5. Natacha Celestin Beauliere
    Hey Lisa, it's Natacha from Miami's church where we grew up. I read Donna's story before I even got to yours, but I'm still too shock at what I've just read, so I can't leave her a reply yet. I almost stopped breathing as I imagine each violent act she went through. It's amazing how such a beautiful young lady could even endure such barbaric behavior. I'm so thankful that God made a way for her where there was no way; He's well-known for that. He's a good God and He'll never leave nor forsake His own. Let her know that I'm praying for her and God will finish what He has started and to keep on moving forward. With God on her side, who can be against her?
  6. Lisa, I read her story and posted a comment. I was her at one point in my life. During my time at ZSG, it was a very hard time in my life. If you get a chance, read my comment. Thanks so much for sharing!
  7. OH MY WORD! J Lady told me about this session. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? These are .amazing, but aimnazg isn't a big enough word for what I feel. So touching, beautiful and DELICIOUS! I need you to give me a tutor session the next time I come back to Meridian. You are so talented!

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