By Mohammad Samra
On the night of March 22nd, 2016, Yolanda Carter was awoken by the frantic shaking of Joshua Brown, her son, who found her in her bed bleeding after running to her room and finding blood splattered on the floor and the door. Brown, holding back tears, watched as his mother kept her cracked skull buried in her pillow as blood continued to gush down her mouth and nose while soaking into the sheets and forming a soggy puddle around the dazed and confused Carter.
“This man took a hammer, he brutally beat me and left me to die in my bed,” said Carter.
Carter, a domestic violence survivor, sustained injuries to the top and back of her head and broke every bone in her face, which ultimately lead to the removal of her left eye. Carter recently underwent her 12th reconstructive surgery in January of 2019 to try and reverse the damage done to her by her ex-boyfriend and abuser Aaron White. Although Carter’s life took an irreversible turn after the moment of the attack, she seized the opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and share her story.
“Because of this happening to me, I want to be out here raising awareness,” said Carter. “So that no one else could have to experience what I had gone through.”
Carter, author of “One Eye Witness: Breaking the Silence After Domestic Violence” emphasizes catching the “warning signs” of an abusive relationship or domestic violence before it’s too late.
“It’s about inspiring and educating,” Carter said. “We have to know the warning signs, the red flags, and I think that because of all the good things that he’d done for me, I missed the red flags and the warning signs…There are warnings before destruction…I didn’t look at the whole big picture, I just seen pieces of it.”
Carter described her ex-boyfriend as “charming at first” and “a knight in shining armor” who was manipulative and insecure. She stated that we as a society normalize a lot of things that aren’t meant to be normalized such as the warning signs of domestic violence.
“He didn’t put his hands on me, but yeah he did throw my phone down the alley. He didn’t touch me, but he did call me the b-word. He didn’t put his hands on me, but he did call my children a-holes,” said Carter.
Carter’s willingness to share her story formed relationships and involvement with organizations such as the “Break the Silence Foundation,” “BIBO Foundation,” and “That’s A Cake:” all organizations that offer help to women who have suffered through and survived domestic violence.
“We honored her at an awards banquet for survivors of domestic violence,” said Milly Liggins, member of the Advisory Board at “Beauty In Beauty Out Foundation.” “I met her (Yolanda) through another colleague…She recommended Yolonda highly and once we contacted and connected with her the rest is history.”
Carter walked down the hallway of her home before pausing at her mirror. She glanced at the peacock-resembling earrings dangling from her ear before adjusting the white flower that covered where her left eye used to be. She wore a purple dress and had purple lipstick to match; purple being the color associated with raising awareness to domestic violence. She took one last look at herself and smiled as if the reflection looking back at her didn’t once lay in her bed surrounded by a pool of her own blood, on the brink of death.
“I didn’t get the chance to walk out on my own, I had to be taken out…That should’ve been my expiration date, but to God be the glory, I’m alive.” Carter said.