A woman once silenced by domestic violence now uses her voice to help the Metropolitan Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit.
Instead of keeping her struggle to herself, domestic violence survivor Tamika Bradshaw of Southeast says telling her story is like therapy.
At 17, her boyfriend, a much older man who would eventually father two of her children, first beat her.
“The beating started in the living room and ended in the hallway near the bedroom of my apartment,” she said. “I crawled my way to the bathroom, and he noticed my face and he stopped.”
Her abuser served time on more than one occasion for the beatings.
“Every time one black eye or busted lip, bloody nose went away and cleared up, there was another one,” Bradshaw said.
Some days she fought back, eventually making matters worse.
“He said if I ever take his kids from him, he would find me and he’ll kill me,” she said.
She took him seriously and made a decision she still wrestles with today.
“I said I’m walking out of this alive and then I’m going to come back and get my kids,” she said.
Bradshaw lived on people’s couches until she could regain stability and safety. When she did, she regained her relationship with her kids, but it hasn't been easy. The children spend time with both parents. Bradshaw keeps her communication with her abuser limited.
Almost 40 now, Bradshaw said she's a different person.
“I love myself more than I ever did before,” she said.
She helps police by sharing her story. Officer Lisa Worrell knows Tamika well.
“The road that she has traveled and she is traveling, I would have to take my hat and my badge off to her because that’s a superhero to me,” she said.
D.C. police have resources to assist victims who need help.