CONYERS, Ga. -- A wife defending her abuser -- as Jenay Rice is doing following the release of a video showing her now-husband, Ray Rice, an NFL football player, beating her unconscious earlier this year -- is, unfortunately, not a new situation. But help and safety are available.
Kimya Motley of Conyers is a woman who kept returning to her abusive husband after leaving him multiple times. Then she finally told him that she was leaving him for good and divorcing him.
That's when he shot and wounded her and her daughter.
"I did not have a safety plan in place," she said.
Motley's advice to abused spouses: leave in secret. But before you leave, join a support group, and get help putting an escape plan in place, which includes having a secret shelter ready to take you in.
"The first two months after a woman leaves is most dangerous for her," Motley said. "So I wouldn't advise any woman to leave without a safety plan, you need to leave with a plan. And you never tell the man that you're going to leave. You never give any inclination that you are, because that puts yourself in danger."
Motley is the embodiment of hope for abuse victims who dream of being survivors.
She founded and now runs Haven of Light International, based in Covington, helping women and men find professional help to break that cycle of domestic violence.
The tragedy of Ray and Jenay Rice, she says, can help others in abusive relationships realize that they can escape safely and find help and healing.
"If it were a woman that I was personally mentoring, I would say consider separation for a time to get you the help you need and so that he can get the help he needs," Motley said. "Yes, there is help out there.... The men need rehabilitative programs through a family violence intervention program, and the women need counseling and support, as well, in order to start making those healthy choices."
For more information on Haven of Light International, visit:
Facebook: Haven of Light International