Courageous’s Story


One survivor's name shines through the darkness in her remarkable resilience journey—Courageous Fire. After enduring years of emotional, financial, spiritual, sexual abuse, and manipulation, Courageous was determined to shield her daughters from their abuser, her then-husband. Courageous spent 13 years thinking, “Maybe I’m crazy, maybe we keep misunderstanding each other, or maybe we are right at the brink of a breakthrough.” But as time went on, she said, “My kids and I were determined to keep making space to be with each other even though he tried to put so much conflict between us.”

When her abuser finally exited her life, and with potential family court involvement and the possibility of her children being forced into visitation on the horizon, Courageous wanted to educate her children about the emotional abuse they had all endured. She wanted her daughters to possess the language to comprehend the manipulation and control they had experienced. In teaching her daughters the technical definitions of abuse types and encouraging them to think about instances in their own experience where they had suffered that kind of abuse, they were able to connect the definitions with the behaviors and better understand the harm she was distancing them from, and that “the harm was him.”

She recalls her daughters asking, "Well, mom, what did he do to you? What's that called?" She explained that even though her daughters were 10 and 12 at the time, “It was important to them that they felt they were being fully informed from now on with nothing hidden.”

Courageous has channeled her experience into advocacy, educating, and empowering her community, particularly the Black community, about domestic violence. She recognized a lack of awareness within her community where the misconception persisted that abuse only involved physical violence. In response, she founded Courageous Fire, LLC, to create safe spaces and provide education to Black women. Her initial focus was on domestic violence survivors. However, Courageous shifted her work to include Black women in crisis, as abuse can encompass various forms of violence and trauma. 

Courageous's work benefits others and has also been a source of strength for her healing journey. "If I can do something, to change something for someone else, I feel like it gives me back a little piece of what I lost," she says.

To fellow survivors who are considering whether or not to come forward, she emphasizes that every survivor's experience in coming forward is individualized. “

If you suspect you are victimized, trust your instincts—you are not imagining it and are not alone,” she says. “Seek support from professionals who understand your unique circumstances, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline or [RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline]. These resources offer a lifeline, providing guidance tailored to your situation and safety."

Courageous highlights several critical aspects of disclosure, including the importance of safety when considering disclosure, especially in cases of domestic violence where coercive control is often present:

  • Safety is paramount as a woman’s risk of being killed goes up 75% when she leaves the relationship or has left, according to the National Network To End Domestic Violence. Having a safety plan in place and exercising caution before revealing your stories is critical, as outing an abuser can trigger escalations.
  • According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, escalation is when abuse gets worse, either suddenly or gradually. Sudden escalation happens when abusive behaviors quickly become more severe, and might look like an emotionally abusive partner turning to physical violence for the first time.

Courageous notes the importance of taking up physical, emotional, and spiritual space. "You deserve to take up space simply because you exist in all of the beautiful ways that you do.” October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner sexual violence, they can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at or for Spanish.

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