By Arthia Nixon
Atlanta, Georgia Radio show host, poet, entrepreneur and now author, Vee Speaklife is speaking out on domestic violence, using her own story of survival to show how she became a ‘Shifted Masterpiece’.
‘Shifted Masterpiece’ is the title of her book which gives a vivid account of how she went from being a “spoiled princess” during her courtship with no warning signs to indicate that her marriage would be one of emotional, financial and physical abuse.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen to me,” said Vee, who lived in Savannah, Ga. at the time. “I was doing well in the corporate world and owned a home I purchased in Virginia. I was financially stable and doing well. Then he came in and we had a great courtship and I felt like I was a princess he treated me so well. Then shortly after we said ‘I do’, some things started changing.”
The cruel comments and remarks made by her husband soon turned into physical violence. Vee still bears scars and vividly remembers being so badly beaten, she lost sight to one eye and had sprains. To make matters worse, much of the abuse was witnessed by her toddler son and teenage step-daughter.
“I always thought that I was doing everything wrong,” said Vee. I didn’t realize it was such a big issue until I got away. I thought I had to stay because I was married and what woman wouldn’t want her son to have a father right there? I blamed myself and never saw him as the issue. Then It got so bad that I realized if I didn’t leave, I would be dead because it kept getting more and more violent.”
Over a two year span, Vee was head-butted, had sprained wrists and suffered gashes to her face along with black eyes and swelling. She goes into details in her book, describing how her ex-husband beat her for four straight hours. She also recounts running naked, without shoes to a neighbor in fear of her life.
“People think it’s easy to leave and I wanted to leave and have a fresh start, but I felt that I couldn’t,” she said. “Then when I did leave, there was so much mental abuse to work through to get the courage to press charges because I thought I was in the wrong. Abuse is not just hitting. It can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial and spiritual abuse.”
Less than five years later, Vee has found her purpose in life. She speaks with various groups, and is known for hosting open mic nights which turn into domestic abuse awareness sessions.
Vee also wants victims to be aware of resources available to them. She says she is a strong supporter of Marsy’s Law, something she wished she had access when she was trying to build up the courage to leave.
Her debut book, ‘Shifted Masterpiece’ has already attracted attention ahead of the October 2019 launch.
“So many people don’t realize they were abused, and then there are others who simply want to sweep things under a rug,” said Vee. “It is important to get that counseling. It is really important to know you are not wrong. It is important to know you are not alone. You can get out and take your children with you and start over fresh. This is what ‘Shifted Masterpiece’ is all about. It’s my story and I hope that it inspires others.”
Vee Speaklife is the Founder and Executive Director of Shifted Masterpiece, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization proving domestic violence survivors and at-risk youth essential life and career development services. They’ve hosted open mic night events for domestic violence awareness on the first Saturday of every month since October 2017.
This article originally appeared in The Florida Star.