Oprah says, “Love doesn’t hurt.” when responding to the news of reported reconciliation between battered pop star, Rhianna getting back together with her fallen R&B star boyfriend, Chris Brown, on her live show. US Weekly reports in its March 16th issue that 80 to 90 percent of parties in domestic violence cases end up back together.
Tiffiney Penn, a survivor of domestic violence agrees. “As a woman who was at one point in Rhianna’s shoes, only without the fame and fortune, this reconciliation isn’t uncommon.” Tiffiney continues, “Against the wishes of my family, friends and community, I continued to see my fiancé after he attacked me.”
While so many people have their opinions, the truth of the matter is:
* In the United States there are 3800 animal shelters nationwide and only 1500 shelters for women that are victims of domestic violence
* Young women ages 16-24 experience the highest rate of domestic violence.6
* 5.3 million Domestic Violence incidents occur each year among U.S. women.1
* Every 15 seconds in the U.S. a woman is beaten.3
* About 1 in 4 women are likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime.3
Domestic violence is becoming a growing epidemic that no one is addressing at its core. According to The National Organization for Women, women aged 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence. “I understand how it feels to love someone who hurt you and to go back.” states Penn. “My advice to Rhianna is to testify against Chris. As a person who survived being stabbed seven times by a man that I loved and almost lost my life, the best thing I could have ever done was to ensure that he was held responsible for his actions.”
Penn, a speaker and author, now advocates alongside her fiancé who attacked her. Stabbed seven times by him in the home they shared, they believe their story is a testimony that ‘Love covers a multitude of sins’. The reminders to Penn are seven scars – one on her foot, three on her left forearm, two in her left breast and one in the center of her chest. Spending four days in the hospital while trying to come to grips with the tragedy she was blessed to have lived through, Penn, often thought of her fiancé and the life they were planning to live before that fateful day. She shares, “It was difficult those first few weeks. I was trying to understand how we got here as a couple; I was trying to figure out how to stop loving him or even if I should.”
The experience prompted Tiffiney to establish her nonprofit, The Soul Survivor Foundation, as a way of sharing her story and strength with others. Tiffiney and her fiancé continue to endure a long road of healing, forgiveness, and understanding as they transition from the people they were prior to that day to the people they’ve become today. Penn insists, “I cannot remain silent, he cannot remain silent – what happened to Chris and Rhianna is becoming the norm and we need to start talking about this trend to help others shed their pain.” Speculating what some may see a diminished value of the couple, Tiffiney responds, “What happened doesn’t change who Chris was before that day nor does it diminish the strength of Rhianna as a woman.” She continues, “If it’s true love, then Rhianna testifying against Chris for something that he did wrong will be a testament about her love for herself and their strength as a couple. They are role models and young people need to see them address this issue head-on.”
About Tiffiney Penn
Tiffiney L. Penn, affectionately known as Tiff, is a motivational speaker, consultant and a nationally certified trainer. She has empowered audiences throughout the United States with her motivational and inspirational messages, workshops and seminars. A survivor of domestic violence after being stabbed by her fiancé seven times, Tiffiney Penn rose with strength and valor with a determination to find answers to why she and her lover’s love was visited by such darkness. After going through an arduous healing process that included radical forgiveness, Tiffiney and her fiancé have reconciled their past and re-committed to loving their children, while being a voice to those couples that face this tragedy and thankfully survive.
Her insightful and thought provoking messages are a source of encouragement to individuals to reach new horizons in their personal development. She believes that anyone, especially youth are reachable, teachable, lovable and savable and that proactive prevention, intervention and support are the keys to change.
Statistics come from the National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention, www.mujereslatinasenaccion.org/Facts and Stats.html and U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.