A Child Survivor Who is Now An Adult Tells Her Story

Hearing the journey itself and the road to freedom will give proper credence to The Interlocking of Arms.

People curious as to the purpose of the Interlocking of Arms need only to hear a story to better understand the intent of this organization. If it wasn’t for a host of players, my mother, brother, and I wouldn’t be here today to tell this tale.

Hearing the journey itself and the road to freedom will give proper credence to The Interlocking of Arms.

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, and living in abusive situations seemed to be the norm, but after my mom left my biological father, we felt a moment of relief, but we didn’t know the horror lurking ahead. That horror, though it happened behind closed doors mostly, we later came to realize that the horror affected everyone who came into contact with us. Everyone watched and waited until my mother made a fateful act Easter evening 1988. To leave the abusive situation, an intimate dance of circumstances happened.

My mother and our abuser ran into a police officer. I don’t know if the officer knew what was going on with the family or not, but he gave my mother his business card. That Easter night, my mother slipped me that business card. She instructed me to leave the apartment the next morning and not to come back. She wasn’t sure if she’d live or die, but she needed to know that my brother and I would be okay.

I received a call while at school, and the principal and guidance counselor gathered me. I was in a complete panic. To me, my mother was dead and we were next.

I was calmed by my favorite teacher, the principal acted strategically, and guidance counselor took the lead. On the way to the hospital, she explained to me that they’d known something wasn’t right. She asked me what was wrong. I unloaded everything to her at that time. We picked up my brother from the elementary school and headed to the hospital. She held me while the emergency room staff asked me to identify my mother and try to talk to her.

Knowing the truth about the situation we were in, she greeted our abuser and handled the situation professionally until other family arrived and she knew that we were as safe as we could be.

My family, often divided, rallied together preventing our abuser from taking immediate action. We’ve heard stories since of shootings in hospitals; in early April 1988, that could have been us. They worked together to remove my brother and I from our abuser and took us to the safety of an aunt’s home, though I didn’t feel safe.

Even while there, my uncle pulled me to the side and said, “We know something has been going on. Tell us.”

I didn’t confess immediately to the family. My mother was in a coma and I needed to know that she’d be okay- alive- before I bared my soul. That Wednesday morning, she revived from her coma, but she couldn’t remember anything; that was good enough for me. Back at my aunt’s home, I retrieved the card from the officer and gave him a call. He directed me to a police station. My uncle took me there. I gave a statement and was directed to the hospital. There I was examined and I met a detective. My uncle was by my side. If the abuser had known, I’m sure he would have reacted negatively.

Thursday morning, the detective and several officers arrested the abuser.

Our neighbors, schoolmates, and family stood by us. There was fear and it was warranted, but they stood nonetheless.

So many times the abuser cackled with his guns and knives concealed, feeling confident that he could kill any one of us at any time. Having your life threatened regularly becomes a way of life. It is numbing. He threatened enough up to that time that I believed him. I’d lived my life prepared to die. I had to find the power in my own vulnerability.

Going to court, finding justice, and doing it all over again required faith and stamina. I couldn’t have done it without a passionate lawyer who was passionate about justice and his team. I couldn’t have graduated on time and matriculated through school fairly well without a brilliant staff. I wouldn’t have grown into a woman and mother without a great therapist. We wouldn’t have come out of our situation without people who truly risk their lives to get us out.

The Interlocking of Arms means just that. All of those people interlocked together, risking their lives to become our safety net. We were fortunate that all of those resources were available to us, but others haven’t been so lucky.

The Interlocking of Arms allows Tahiera Monique Brown, and others like her to interlock with those who are in key positions to help others get out and be their safety net as they position themselves back into a safe society, as it is not easy.

The Interlocking of Arms also thanks those warriors who put their lives on the line to save others. I can’t thank enough those who helped me along the way and the list is exhaustive. Though I can’t always pick up the phone to say thanks, I can pass those gifts they bestowed upon me to others and interlock my arms with everyone else.

Can you help? Help save a life today!

By Nekita Tiawanna Clark

(Daughter of Tahiera Monique Brown)