Deputy Director
                           Next Steps, Inc.
                              313-870-9790
                          313-870-9791 (fax)

       Your destiny will be determined by your...Next  
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Copyright ©2006


                    

                                   

                             
                              
Shawnte' Jacara Mosby,
        Deputy Director/Teen Parent Coordinator

Shawnte,' age 35 and mother of three children presents with raw, hardcore
experience. She has the innate ability to "cut to the chase," with her “tell it
like it is" approach, in a blunt but professional manner.  Shawnte' knows all
too well the struggle of both teen parenthood and the trauma of being a
battered woman, because she has personal experience with both.  

As a young girl, she was fighting a losing battle with self-esteem although she
never exhibited any outward signs. She became pregnant at the age of 16, but
she didn't tell her mother until she was more than halfway through her term,
because her mom had threatened to put her out if she ever got pregnant.  
However, when Shawnte’ finally told her mother, she was very supportive of
her daughter.

Shawnte’ became a mother in July 1997, one week after her 17th birthday.  
She dropped out of school at the beginning of the 12th grade.  Later that year,
due to differences between she and her mother, she left home to venture out on
her own.

Later, she began dating a young man she had known since middle school
and as a result, in 1999, she was pregnant again. In April of 2000, shortly
before her 20th birthday, she had her second child by her boyfriend. She
reports that two weeks after her second child was born, he hit her the first
time.

He also hit her on other occasions, but, as with most batterers, the attacks
were infrequent with long intervals between. But, he would always come back
and apologize. They continued seeing each other and in November of 2002,
Shawnte’ discovered that she was pregnant again.  

On December 7, 2002, she and her longtime boyfriend were married and
in May of 2003, her third child was born.

Problems began to escalate when Shawnte’ began the quest to obtain her
GED. Her husband, intimidated by the fact that she wanted better for
herself, began beating her more frequently. But he would always apologize.  
Reared in a broken home, Shawnte did not want her children to experience
the same, so she remained in the relationship.  After all, he had to really love
her, otherwise why would he stay. . . Right?

Eventually, he took complete control of her life and ultimately, the abuse
occurred “just because.”  Initially, she kept her family in the dark, because she
was ashamed to tell them.   When she eventually told her family, they
attempted to intervened. However, she continued to take him back.  After so
many times, she was on her own.

For six years, she was intermittently (but intensely) battered by her
boyfriend/ husband.  The point of change for her occurred one hot night,
on August 15, 2006.  For reasons unknown (maybe she came home a few
minutes late from work) he started an argument that resulted in a massive
beating, which almost cost her left eye.

It was not enough that he blackened her eye beyond recognition, and broke her
tooth by punching her in the mouth.  To add insult to injury, her daughter, (3)
and two sons, (6, 8) witnessed this intense beating by their dad.  He also
threatened to blow her brains out with a nine millimeter gun he kept in the
house which he had no problem displaying in a threatening manner.

She reports "
that  night I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the
person I was looking at, and I knew that it was time for me to go.”
She
further explained how she did not want her children to be reared in a
barbaric environment.  Moreover she states she had come to the
realization that if she did not leave, she might later be found dead. “He
had no limits when it came to his anger, and I didn't want to know exactly
how far he would go.” she says.   In August 2006, she walked away from the
relationship.

Ten years after dropping out of school, Shawnte’  resumed her studying and
completed the requirements to obtain her GED in June, 2007.  She is  now
currently attending college, pursuing a degree in psychology.  "She says it is
not easy, but she has known a much more difficult life." Her attitude is very
positive and she is determined to make it.

Although she is yet struggling with the aftermath of her experience; she is
healing through sharing “herstory” with other young girls headed in the same
direction, in addition to working side-by-side with her mother,
Denise Mosby-Lewis. Shawnte' summarizes her experience with these
powerful words:

“I am neither ashamed nor afraid; my life was designed for a divine purpose.  
You see, when it rains it pours. Some people can stand the drizzle, but run
from the storm. As for me, I know that after the storm comes a rainbow, so I
stand strong.”

                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                      Shawnte': You Go Girl!        
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