By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw
Michelle Avan, a 48-year-old mother of two, grandmother of one, and a well-respected, beloved, Bank of America executive in Los Angeles, CA, was murdered not by an unknown intruder or a thug walking the street looking to do harm, but by a man who at one time professed to love her. Avan, was allegedly, brutally beaten to death by Anthony Turner, an ex-boyfriend, and fellow Bank of America co-worker. Michelle Avan’s story is not just a Los Angeles story, but one with a global message.
The U.S. crime reports found that “1 in 5 homicide victims is killed by an intimate partner,” and “over half of all female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner,” someone you know. The numbers are frightening and yet, the occurrences of violence against women are not new. Women have historically been “devalued and dishonored”. Intimate Partner Violence is much more than a romance gone wrong and we must call it what it is – violent acts that can lead to death.
Avan’s young adult children, Nyah and Trevon have come together to fight for justice for their mother by ensuring that her alleged killer is charged with special circumstances in California thereby enabling a jury to sentence Turner to life in prison without parole if convicted. And it is also their intent to continue to shine a much-needed light on domestic violence. Nyah Avan’s message is clear, “justice for my mom would look like more awareness for women that were like my mother in these situations. A lot of high-profile women can’t come out and aren’t able to talk about the abuse they are going through. There should be more awareness, more programs, to help women of all profiles, all backgrounds, and all standings”.
Real talk… we know when it’s time to go, but we begin tolerating foul behavior, letting him speak to us in ways that we should not, diming our light, and erroneously believing that you alone can fix his anger, his jealousy, and somehow make-up for his deep-rooted insecurities. In her song, Be Happy, the artist Mary J. Blige raised this very question, “How can I love somebody else, if I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time to let go?” I’m here to tell you that no matter how good you are, or how hard you try, you cannot fix a broken man. Even trained professionals find it challenging and at times, even they, throw in the proverbial towel.
It’s difficult to accept when a desired love goes terribly wrong. Your many thoughts convince you that love will never dock at your doorstep again. But don’t you believe for one second that a broken man is all you are worthy of. The path to love is not paved with black eyes, bruised ribs, broken bones, or contemptuous words. If you don’t believe me, ask the Creator, He’ll tell you how valuable and precious you are.
So, this is a call to action for women and men. Please don’t hide your partners’ bad behavior. There is absolutely no shame in seeking help. A new or existing relationship should be based on mutual respect and if your partner shows contempt for who you are then he or she is not your person.
If you need help getting out of an abusive relationship, please call!
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1.800.799. SAFE (7233)