Every year we honor those who were and are victims of domestic abuse. An epidemic that has been going on for years that doesn’t seem to get as much attention as it needs. But let us not only talk about the bumps and bruises that lead to death, let us marvel at the broken gems who have been polished and rose above those tragic events in their lives. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of those gems and her name is Amina McWhirter. If you want to know how to turn your pain into passion and use your triumphs and set backs as tools to reach out and help others just ask her.
She has exceeded beyond her own self-healing and has dedicated her life to healing others. She is a domestic violence survivor, skin cancer warrior, phenomenal author, goal strategist, financial coach, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and activist. I had to know who is this super woman and she replied,
“Well I grew up in a single parent household and I have never to this day met my father or anyone on his side. At the age of six years old I was molested by a family friend and never told anyone until I was about 25 years old. At six years old, I also experienced mental abuse in the classroom where I was segregated because of the color of my skin. So there was all of these things happening unbeknown to me because I was so young. At 17 I got pregnant and got married and endured physical, mental and verbal abuse. I began to develop all these issues of insecurity and this void of not having a father, I was really searching for myself. But today Amina is strong, bold, free and an empowered woman who wants to be able to make sure that other women break the silence in their lives and learn how to protect their happiness at whatever the cost at all times.
She grew up bottling up lies that she didn’t know how to address because she wasn’t sure what was happening. Despite her set backs she was determined to keep going, holding on firmly to the faith of God and fighting for her children. On February 2008 her life was changed forever. She described that day as the pivotal point in her life, “I had a major anxiety attack in church and it caused me to hyper ventilate and my blood pressure as I was told was at 76 over 34. Once I was put in the ambulance and they got me together, it was a woman paramedic and she asked me what is going on in your life that has you this stressed? Stress as we know is a silent killer. And at that time I had to face reality, and as tears came down my eyes, she asked if I wanted to see my then husband at the time and I told her no. God put this in front of me and said you have to deal with this”.
She remained married for a year after that, she had so many issues to deal with within. Battling thoughts about her self development and livelihood and her kids who were now much older. Amina decided to choose life and she began healing by receiving clinical and spiritual counseling. It wasn’t just her marriage that was the wake up call, it was her going back to the root of when everything started spiraling downward. Her childhood experiences and all of the choices she made, even in her female relationships that was controlling. She had lost her voice and it was time to find it and keep it.
After volunteering in women and children shelters since she was 19, in the year of 2012 she birthed a non-profit organization called, Love By The Handles, which is a 501 c 3 nonprofit community-based organization that serves individuals in transition within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Their goal is to provide a gift of love and financial support for individuals who are in their transitional stages of life including homelessness, at-risk youth and domestic violence victims.
Soon after in 2014 she wrote a book entitled Shh…No More, Be Free. She reopened her wounds, recounted her experiences, and walked her readers through the healing process. Amina is also a women’s coach for an organization called Women Enlightened and Economically Empowered.
What advice can she give to those women who are in a domestic abuse situation? “Well the first thing is to recognize that there is a problem, then reach out to your supportive family or friends and make a plan. You have to plan financially as well as strategically. Also look for resources to assist you in this transition. It is extremely important that you heal yourself in this process, receiving some form of counseling services”.
Amina is currently working on another book that she is eager about. She is also partnering with a High School in the Ward 8 district in Washington, D.C to host a youth program. It is gems like Amina McWhirter who gives us hope, that through the trials and tribulations there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
To stay connected with Amina, visit her website at lovebythehandles.