First, I believe that the escape route from violence is essentially peace. What do I mean?
The dynamics of a relationship reside within us. We are responsible how we react to situations and how we interact with others. We have to first have peace within us and then we can spread peace. That's one kind of escape route from violence, but what's another - the physical escape route?
Let's start by saying that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I have been in and out of situations that have given me an opportunity to be here today. So with that preface, here is my opinion.
When I was 10, I faced the barrel of a gun. I immediately gave up power to my perpetrator. He was in control anyway so why try to wrestle control from him. Somehow, someway, he let me go. If I had fought back, I am sure I would be dead. He had just killed my 12 years-old brother. In that room, the difference between my mother, brother and I was the way that we reacted. My mother was already the enemy. Her killer was at a point where if he could not have her noone could. But, my mother added fuel to the fire. She fought back valiantly. That's what ended her life. My brother did not say or do anything. He did not plea or fight for his life. He was seen as the enemy. I knew I had to do something differently. I knew if I was going to live, I had to try a different approach. My approach was to plea for my life. Once I pleaded with him, I then looked up to the ceiling and prayed to God. I am here today. Now, I did move the power I gave to him to God. I accepted my situation and prayed. Sometimes we have to accept the situation, but find a spiritual way out of things.
I read a story about a Jewish psychologist who instead of accepting defeat in a prison camp in Poland, he decided to conduct a study. His study focused on the difference between those who lived and died and why? He found that those who died were either killed by the Nazis or they gave up hope. The Jews who lived were either lucky or not killed, but more importantly, most of those who lived in his study, had a determination and will to live. It's that determination and will that will take you far.
At 13, I wanted to die. It was when I decided that I wanted to live in order to find my strength. There is something out there that attracts us to life. Perhaps life itself. Find that special thing in life that you can hold on to.
Thank you Tiffany for fighting for your life. Tiffany fought valiantly and I know this. My mother fought for her life. She wanted to live. Let's end this violence and give ourselves and others a chance to live. Let's spread some peace. I will see you at the sleep out tonight at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 500 Indiana Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. at 8:00 p.m.
Talk to you soon.