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Dr. Yolanda Jerry: Owner and CEO , Y J Empowerment Solutions, LLC

In 1997, I met a handsome and charming guy while we were stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea. In August 1998, we were married, and the military relocated us to Virginia. 

We began what I’d hoped would be a happy life. We rented a townhouse, met friends and settled into being a married couple. Everything seemed to be going great. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. After a few months of being newlyweds, our relationship started to change. Constant arguing soon led to physical abuse. 

In May of 1999, I began to give serious thought to divorcing him. But after learning I was pregnant, separating was no longer an option. I wanted my child to grow up with both parents, just as I had. So, for the sake of our unborn child, we decided to work on our marriage. 

We purchased our first home together and focused on being a family. I gave birth to our daughter in January 2000, but the arguing and fighting continued. When our daughter was just 4 months old, we had an argument that resulted in my filing a police report against him. 

When the case reached the courts, I asked the judge to drop his charges. The judge ordered my spouse to attend anger management classes. I, of course, invited him back into our home while he satisfied his court order and tried to work on our marriage again. 

In 2001, we relocated to Mississippi. As usual, things were okay for a short time, and then the vicious cycle started all over again. I would leave and then return home to him. But one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. 

In 2003, this was the last time I was a punching bag and was fed up. I had built up enough courage and strength to leave. Because of the fear I saw on my face during one of his attacks, thinking about my daughter’s safety and wellbeing, I left for good. Thanks to the help from a close friend, family and my first sergeant, I had the support I needed to break free from the cycle of domestic violence. 

Even as I share this with you, I’m thinking, “Wow, I’ve been through a lot in a short time.” I had endured verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and physical abuse. To paint a small picture, I had blackened eyes, bruises, a fractured rib and scars. I wouldn’t wish this type of abuse on my worst enemy. 

Jan. 14, 2004, was one of the happiest days of my life. My divorce finally was granted, I started therapy, and I never looked back. I’m a survivor, and now my life’s purpose is to advocate for other victims/survivors!

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