By Guest Blogger: C. Dewayne Hinnant.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m C. Dewayne Hinnant. I’m the author of The Ripple Effect: The Lasting Effects of Domestic Violence. I was born in Kenly, North Carolina. I’m so honored to be back here in Eastern North Carolina, home of the best BBQ… I’m here to speak about an issue I feel very strongly about, Domestic Violence.
I stand before you as a Black man, a man of God, a father, husband, and an advocate. I came from a two-parent home and was raised by a beautiful black woman, and I have three beautiful sisters. My oldest sister is a social worker for the homeless in Durham. Another sister, who has passed away, was a Daycare owner.
The youngest of my sisters is a financial counselor for Duke University. I have three black daughters, three black nieces, and a beautiful black granddaughter. I’m married to a beautiful and intelligent woman. She has 2 degrees; I’ve seen her do amazing things I couldn’t even think of doing. I’m surrounded by plenty of black women.
One of my proudest moments was becoming a father. I have three beautiful, intelligent, talented daughters, two hardworking, respectable sons, and a beautiful and funny granddaughter. But nothing terrifies me more than who my daughters may bring home. The potential relationships my sons may be involved in. But I can’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. Fear is a tactic used by abusers against the victim in that relationship, so I can’t live in that space.
As a parent, it would behoove us to educate and make our children aware of potential dangers, both seen and unseen. I wanted to see a better world for the women I know and the ones in my family.
Since becoming an advocate, the most significant adjustment has been being married and being an advocate. Having been married three times before to women that I later discovered had been abused. I didn’t realize how difficult it was to help and be in a relationship with someone when they aren’t fully healed from being abused. Having a mate that was a survivor of Domestic Violence provides excellent insight on how to advocate.
It’s not enough to remove them from an abusive relationship, especially if they haven’t removed themselves mentally from the trauma. The underlying factor of my failed marriages was the trauma and scars left behind from the abuse. I realized I needed to change. I hadn’t even noticed the healing required within my own home. Equipped with this knowledge, I knew I had to broker a bond of trust with my wife in my current marriage.
I could tell her I was someone to trust, but being married to a survivor of Domestic Violence, my wife had to believe me. Survivors had been violated, threatened, manipulated, and hurt by the person they trusted the most. I’m a control freak; to a survivor, a control freak can be misconstrued as possessive. I had to concede who I was as a person and tap into a place of empathy never used before.
Living in Durham gave me my first experience with Domestic Violence. I worked for the Human Relations Department for the City of Durham. Through this job, I became a Co-chair of the Domestic Violence Task, where I heard and saw a lot of stories of physical, mental, verbal, and financial abuse. In these cases, the women were in horrible situations, enduring daily abuse, and this is how I became an Advocate.
I don’t only advocate for Domestic Violence; I also advocate for the things in our community linked to Domestic Violence. For example, it accounts for about 34% of all who are homeless due to financial abuse. Domestic violence is so traumatic that victims are conditioned and brainwashed using the same techniques used by pimps, cult leaders, and kidnappers’ statistics show it takes a woman seven times to leave before she stays gone. Which is the reason I advocate for mental illness and human trafficking.
I work with many community leaders in solving issues in our community. If you pick up my book The Ripple Effect: The Lasting Effects of Domestic Violence, it delves into many areas of domestic violence. It shows how it affects Mental illness, Homelessness, Generational Curses, child abuse, etc.
I believe it will take a concentrated effort to start decreasing the number of domestic violence cases. As an advocate, I am willing to help in any way. I want to be the change we need to see.
C. Dewayne Hinnant
“...the smallest change has the deepest impact”.
“Be the change you want to see.”