Crime does not discriminate; victims cut across race, ethnicity, gender, age, economic level and educational attainment. The Office for Victims of Crime of the United States Department of Justice, established this year’s theme—Strength. Resilience. Justice.
The Northern Neck and Essex County Victim Witness Program, with support from the Haven Shelter & Services, Inc., presented a speaker’s night Thursday, April 6, at the Old Beale building in Tappahannock. This week we share the stories of four women that exemplify strength, resilience and, by their own definitions, justice.
Regina Baylor, Mary Green and Debra Miller, bravely spoke about their personal battles. Although they have very different backgrounds, they have one thing in common. Each woman was in a relationship with someone that, over time, began to exhibit controlling and abusive behavior. As victims of crime, each one was able to sever physical ties from their oppressors; however, the mental anguish and scars are still very real for them and their families. Baylor stated, “I use survivor as opposed to victim.” Joyce Taylor spoke on behalf of her niece, who was not so lucky; she did not survive her abuse. The women told their stories, sometimes with tears, but the moments of silence, made the stronger impact.
Baylor humbly noted her academic and career achievements. She did not let any of the societal barriers stop her from achieving success—“I was from rural Kinsale, Black and born in a poor family,” said Baylor. She went to Howard University finished in three and a half years with a degree in speech pathology, and was then offered a fellowship from George Washington University. Baylor’s life and career was going well so why not get married, and she did—young and naïve to the characteristics of her Vietnam military spouse and the effects of his service; she became the target of his disorder.