Monday, July 27, 2015

Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary

Oh my! "Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary"" is the title of this latest blog post. I wanted to title it, "Concord Management LTD Sucks," but, that was kind of already taken by another blogger! At this time in my dealings with those people from Maitland, Florida, I do feel they suck. And, so much more.

This afternoon I received a written response from Concord Management LTD, representing Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments, addressing my complaint to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Unfortunately, it was not the response that I wanted. It is the same, "canned response" as I received to my Better Business Bureau complaint against these companies!

Here is a scanned copy of the actual company response. They don't even use letterhead, nor have they signed the response.
Concord Management LTD response to FL DBPR complaint
Concord Management LTD, representing Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments,
Response to Complaint filed with Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
It was this latest reply from Concord Management that got me curious about other unhappy parties. I did a Google search on "concord management holding fee" and was quite surprised to see that other people have had unsatisfactory dealings with Concord Management!!

google search on concord management holding fee
Google Search on "concord management holding fee"
I can't begin to articulate what a surprise it was to find two blogs dedicated to Concord Management LTD and their questionable business practices. Check them out for yourself. Rather than me referencing all the other links and nuggets of information, you can judge for yourself.
  1. Concord Management Sucks
  2. Concord Management LTD
It seems that Concord Management goes back years in keeping people's monies, claiming them to be holding fees. I found a ripoff report from February 5, 2008

I really wished that I had done my due diligence and researched Concord Management LTD before I drove to Palm Coast to see the Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. According to one of the blog posts from those other bloggers, Concord Spends a lot of time in Courts.

Read more about MY personal experience from my three blog posts along with the ripoff report:
  1. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments
  2. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint
  3. Seniors vs Crime in Florida
  4. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Ripoff Report
My story? On May 7, 2015, I drove to Palm Coast and did complete an application. I was asked to write two checks - $75 for the application fee and $350 towards the deposit of $600. I knew nothing about holding fees at that point. Take a look at my cancelled check. It shows a deposit date of May 11, 2015 - that is 4 days after my application. It was cashed well before my application was processed. Also note the "DEP. ($600.00)" in the memo area. I cancelled on May 15, 2015; within a short time after sending my cancellation email, I got a reply email saying I was JUST APPROVED and that was when I learned that my $350 was in jeopardy of not being refunded. Why was my check cashed before approval??

Cancelled Check to Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments
Cancelled Check to Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments
$350.00 - Check written May 7, 2015 and cashed May 11, 2015
I can't help but say that this gives me a sinking feeling that my outcome will not be a good one! That is, the quite contrary experience with them will now cost me $425. That's $75 for the application and $350 for the non-refundable holding fee. That sucks!!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Seniors vs Crime in Florida

I was recently introduced to Seniors vs. Crime after I filed my complaint with the Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi. "For program information, consumer inquiries, consumer complaints, or to schedule a Consumer Seminar, please call 1-800-203-3099 or visit our web site at www.seniorsvscrime.com."

seniors vs crime attorney general pam bondi
Seniors vs. Crime was formed over twenty-five years ago, in 1989 by the Attorney General, Vern Thornton and the American Association of Retired Persons. Retired citizens volunteer to administer this program with the intention of educating fellow Floridians on consumer fraud and helping to conduct consumer investigations. Something I've not yet attended are their seminars for teaching us seniors on how we can protect themselves from becoming crime victims in the first place. I'll report back once I attend one of them!

When I filed my initial complaint with the Florida Attorney General against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited, I received my first phone call from Seniors vs. Crime. I really didn't know how Seniors vs. Crime got my information ... not until I Googled them after the phone call and learned all about their efforts and guiding force. That's when I learned that my complaint filed with the Florida Attorney General had triggered the involvement of this organization.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is also working with Seniors vs. Crime.

Thank you Florida for looking out for us seniors. In my case, it cost me $425 to learn a valuable lesson. In early May 2015, I was excited when I found a new senior apartment complex in Palm Coast. I wasn't very excited about it being over an hour away; but I was excited for the prospect of being in a new community with senior peeps.

That excitement was eliminated the following week when a leasing rep for Concord Management Limited announced you will now lose your "holding fee of $350." Shame on me for not reading the fine print on the application that I signed. I finally received a copy of that last page of the application, with the fine print about the holding fee, after the company responded to my complaint to the Better Business Bureau. They said they told me about the holding fee being non-refundable when I completed my application. However, I firmly stand by my position that NOTHING was said to me verbally about any such non-refundable holding fee. I would never sign something if I thought I'd lose not only $75 as an application fee, but also $350 which was supposed to be part of the $600 deposit for a senior apartment.

Furthermore, the idea of hitting a senior citizen with a $350 non-refundable holding fee, when canceling one week after filing an application that hadn't yet been approved, is rather unfriendly if not downright unethical and a bit shady! Read more about my experience with the leasing reps of Concord Management Limited and check out my Ripoff Report against them.

palm coast landing senior apartments application fine print
Check out what Seniors vs. Crime does to help senior citizens. It's pretty impressive the success stats of Seniors vs. Crime in the past twenty-five years plus. You too can volunteer and become a senior sleuth with Seniors vs. Crime! Why not follow them on Linkedin. I'm seriously contemplating that as I have been told for years that I should be a private investigator or detective!!

Now that it is a couple of months later, I am even more adamant that I want my $350 back from Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited. I think $75 for the application fee was bad enough to lose for this experience.

In the back of my mind, I am still also wondering about the rent amounts for those senior apartments. The day that I submitted my cancellation notice, I was told in the reply that I was just approved for the $999/mo one-bedroom/one bath carriage home. It was sometime later, in the following weeks, that I discovered Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments are supposed to be affordable housing apartments! According to their listing on socialserve.com, the rent for a one-bedroom states much cheaper than $999/mo [or $746/mo]. See the listing below; $565/mo. for a one-bedroom!

Affordable rentals in Flagler County, Florida - Social Serve
I am still working with senior sleuth volunteers from the local Seniors vs. Crime. On July 9, 2015 [my birthday of all things!], I did see where I had another visit from the Maitland, Florida office of Concord Management to my two blog posts on my experience. They need to refund my $350 and let me get on with my senior life. Lesson learned!!

Read more about MY personal experience from my other blog posts along with the ripoff report:
  1. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments
  2. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint 
  3. Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary
  4. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Ripoff Report

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint

I was encouraged to submit a Better Business Bureau complaint against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited after I shared my story online with my Facebook peeps. It was after that BBB complaint that I opted to pen a blog post to warn other unsuspecting seniors to be careful of this community and management company.

It was after I submitted the BBB complaint that I actually got to see a copy of the third page of the application that I signed. On that page, there was a paragraph above the signature area with a lot of fine print, some underlined. There it tells you that you will not get back your holding fee of $350 should you opt to cancel and have been approved. In my case, I canceled BEFORE I got word that I had "just been approved." Very suspicious and a bit unethical.

If you are curious about my experience, check out my blog post on Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments written on June 22, 2015. My unsatisfactory and sad experience began on the morning of May 7, 2015, when I drove over 1 hour to Palm Coast to check out the community. I didn't technically get to check out the community as the leasing agent(s) refused to take me there, saying it was a construction zone with nothing to see. That made me wonder all the more, so, I drove around until I found it!

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments handouts at application time
Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments handouts at application time
I took a copy of that little flyer so that I had something about the community!
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU COMPLAINT

Here is the text of my actual complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau:
I have recently had dealings with Concord Rents aka Concord Management LTD through two of its leasing agents/floaters, Kim Oliver and Alexis Miller. Being a retired senior, living on social security, I heard about a new senior apartment building, Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. I was interested in finding out about a senior apartment, thinking it would meet my needs, although I am a young senior. On May 7, 2015, I drove from Jacksonville, FL to Palm Coast, FL to view the Palm Coast Senior Apartments and possibly secure one of their senior apartments. The apartments were not yet ready, so I met with two leasing agents from Concord Management at a sister property. They had two layouts for a one bedroom apartment - Laguna and Reef - both renting for $746. When I arrived, Kim Oliver first sat with me and gave me the application to fill out. Later in the process, Alexis Miller sat with me. When I filled out the application, they asked for two checks, $75 for the application fee and $350 which would go towards the deposit of $600. After I had written my two checks and they had taken them, I mentioned my cat. That is when I learned they charge $50 per month for cats although the pet policy says nothing about that charge. They took an incredible amount of financial information from me including a copy of my divorce decree of 11/2010, my current home sales contract of 5/4/2015, checking account statement, savings statement, IRA statement, copy of a monthly check from the ex. They took me into another room and told me to call the Social Security Administration to request that they fax a current income letter; to tell the SSA I was sitting in front of the fax machine, although that wasn't the fax machine the income letter would come through - it was in a different office. When I asked to see the apartments, they said we couldn't go down there. Instead, they took me to a townhome at the sister property to show me the kitchen saying it had similar finishes. After the showing, Alexis said goodbye to me in the parking lot. I decided to go find those apartments. I drove around the block and then found Central remembering Alexis had mentioned that street. Driving a couple of blocks down Central, I saw a building that looked a bit like the website photo. I drove up to the entrance and saw the Palm Coast Senior Living sign. That was my only "viewing" of the potential senior apartment. Long story, short, the following week, Alexis phones and requests yet more financial information - six months of my checking statements and a current IRA statement; plus, could I call my mortgage company to fax them a current mortgage statement. They got all that extra info from me and said that I would know about my application the next day. That day came and went, along with Thursday and then into Friday; no word. Friday late afternoon, I emailed Alexis to tell her that I was unhappy with being put through the ringer with all that personal financial information; I was concerned about them handling that info with the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft. I told her I was canceling my application and wanted my $350 deposit refunded. Two hours later Alexis emailed me back to say she had been busy; that I JUST got approved, and would I reconsider as she didn't want me to lose my holding fee. What?? Nothing was said about a non-refundable holding fee. They took $75 plus $350 and have not communicated back. I WANT MY $350 MONEY BACK!! Preying on senior citizens? Deceptive rental practices? Plus, they don't tell you until after you have paid the money and completed the application that your cat will cost $50 per month! That is understood upfront to be non-refundable. More information about my complaint:

Ripoff Report: Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and Concord Management Limited.

DesiredSettlementID: Other (requires explanation) I want my $350.00 refunded immediately. They shouldn't have kept anything other than the $75.00 application fee.
palm coast landing senior apartments application fine print
Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Application - Page 3
Note: I was not furnished with a copy of this at the time of application.
This copy was furnished as an answer to my BBB complaint!
I did get a reply to my BBB complaint from the business. I'm not sure who wrote that reply, if it was Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments or Concord Management Limited. Here is what they had to say about the issue:
Julie Brady applied in our office on 5/7/2015. She did pay our office both a $75 application fee and a $350 holding fee. It is explained at the time of application that the $75 application fee is not refundable as it is a processing fee, and the $350 is only refundable if an application is denied. If an applicant cancels it is not refundable. Please see attached application (personal information omitted with attached copy), signed by Julie Brady, stating the application fee is nonrefundable. The application also states, directly above Julie Brady’s signature, should this application be cancelled by applicant all monies, including all holding fees and/or deposits paid up to $350 will be forfeited.

Between May 7, 2015 and May 14, 2015 we had several phone call communications and e-mail communications with Ms. Brady regarding her application. Our community does operate under the LIHTC program, which Ms. Brady did apply for a unit with that program. Due to this program we do require financial information from our applicants as we have to determine their income does not exceed our maximum income requirements for the household size.

At no time did our office not respond timely to Ms. Brady. E-mail communication is at times delayed as our company does have spam blockers in place and it can delay e-mails coming through up to 24 hours.

We will not be refunding Ms. Brady’s $350 holding fee as she was both verbally told it is nonrefundable at the time of application and also when she called to cancel her application, and it is also written on her signed application.

palm coast landing senior apartments BBB complaint answer
I replied back to the BBB that I was not satisfied with the company's response. The information supplied by the company in their response was not 100% true. No one verbally informed me of the nonrefundable holding fee. In fact, it wasn't until I saw the company response that I actually read the fine print on that application.

The company decided to stick it to me and keep the $350. I do know that the leasing agent Alexis Miller spoke of cancellations they had already received. Did they keep all those applicants' $350???

The BBB marked my complaint "closed" with a notation, "Answered - the business addressed the issues within the complaint, but the consumer remains dissatisfied." Well, I guess so! Shoot, those greedy and unethical people took $75 for an application and then delayed the answer on approval until 8 days later and then said I was "just approved" after I submitted my cancellation ... so they could say I was approved and then cancelled ... to keep my $350. What a shoddy way to run a business.

P.S. Just today, I happened to find that Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments is listed as a community with affordable housing. I was Googling to find out more about TCAP in the State of Florida. I saw "TCAP" at the bottom of the document the company supplied to the Better Business Bureau. Now, I find this most interesting in that the monthly rents listed are nothing like what I was told they would be. I was quoted $999/mo for the 1 bedroom carriage home; according to their website, the two different one bedrooms had monthly rents starting at $746/mo. Wouldn't a retired senior on social security of $1,156/mo qualify for the affordable rents, if available? And, is this community following the guidelines for TCAP in how they handle their applications ... and the non-refunding of the $350?

palm coast landing senior apartments affordable rent listing
Affordable rentals in Flagler County, Florida - Social Serve
I am even more unhappy with my experience at Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments now that I have had their reply to the BBB complaint and now that I found this information about the actual affordable rents they are supposed to be charging.

Be careful if you consider renting there. Or, if you find another Concord Management Limited community. Not very friendly to seniors!!! Or, pets, for that matter ... if you have a cat, it will cost you $50 per month and that is non-refundable too!!

Read more about MY personal experience from my three blog posts along with the ripoff report:
  1. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments
  2. Seniors vs Crime in Florida
  3. Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary
  4. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Ripoff Report

Monday, June 22, 2015

Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments

This is my personal story of "trying" to rent a senior apartment recently at Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments. I share how I felt that I was put through the ringer with all the personal and financial information requested by them and their management company. It took 8 days to get notice that I was finally approved for their carriage home, although that "just approved" notice came back in reply to my cancellation notice. The significance of that? If you were approved and cancelled, you would lose the $350 holding fee. I didn't realize that I would lose the $350 as I thought that money was to be applied to my $600 deposit should I actually lease a senior apartment at Palm Coast Landing. Bottom line, I do not recommend leasing a senior apartment with them.

Here is a bit of what happened to me. On Monday, May 4th, my house had just gone under contract and I didn't have a place to move should my home sell. I did some searching online that day and Tuesday to see what type of senior living options I could find. I found a few senior apartments locally in Jacksonville, but wasn't terribly interested in them since they were pretty old properties. Googling a bit further, I learned of a new senior apartment in Palm Coast.

Jacksonville, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida - Google Maps
Jacksonville, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida
Courtesy Google Maps
On May 7, 2015, I drove to Palm Coast, Florida in order to see the new senior apartments at Palm Coast Landing. I was to talk with a leasing associate at a sister property, the Reserve at Brookhaven. It was before 10am when I arrived and was greeted by Kim Oliver an employee of Concord Management Ltd. I had emailed Alexis Miller, leasing professional with Concord, before my visit and was looking for her. She was busy so it was Kim Oliver who sat and talked with me. I was interested in the one bedroom units, Laguna and Reef, both of which rented for $746+. That amount of rent was in line with my monthly social security payment. However, Kim immediately began to promote a special she said they had going on for the one bedroom carriage homes. Those came with a garage and were $999/month currently. I expressed that was more than I was interested in for rent. [However, a few days later, I did email them back expressing interest in the carriage home offering.]

Kim got me started on the application paperwork. I don't precisely remember where Alexis came in and also began working with me. I do remember that neither one of them verbally informed me that the $350 check they wanted from me was considered the "holding fee" and that should I cancel, that it would be non-refundable. Knowing me, I am not the type of person who would enter into an agreement where I couldn't get my money back. I did know from past experiences that the $75 application fee was never refunded. So, they got two checks from me that day.

palm coast landing senior apartments application fee palm coast landing senior apartments disputed holding fee

If you see the note on my $350 check, you will see "DEP. ($600.00)" which was my understanding that I was giving a portion of the deposit upfront. Up to that point, the word, "holding fee," hadn't been verbally discussed.

I sincerely was surprised at all the personal information along with financial records that were requested by Kim Oliver and Alexis Miller for the application process. I couldn't help but think how unfriendly that was towards a senior; especially a senior newly retired and living on social security. Was this how it was going to be now for me to rent an apartment since I retired from the corporate world?

That application was quite unusual in how it spelled out different types of people who they asked whether or not they would be living with you. You specifically had to address each type of people to ensure that you were the only one to reside in the apartment. And, further along in the application, you specifically were asked about your finances and banking information which was also spelled out by type of account. I felt it was very intrusive and am still wondering ... is that legal?

I think it must have been at the end of the application that I missed an important part of the process. I honestly never read that fine print until just THIS MORNING when I got a reply from the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida. This was the first time that I was getting to see what was in the fine print. And, I am wondering, why did I not receive a copy of this the day I applied?

Why did they not emphasize that the $350 was the "holding fee" that would be non-refundable should my house not sell and should I decide to cancel. I did read that they would have refunded the $350 if I was not approved. Looking at that fine print today, I'm wondering how did I miss all that and was it underlined like that when I signed it? I do know that I was sitting in the lobby of the Reserve at Brookhaven working on the application and I was also giving my financial documentation to Kim and/or Alexis to copy while I did the application. A good question, did Kim assume Alexis discussed the holding fee with me; or did Alexis assume that Kim discussed the holding fee with me? When, in actuality, neither one of them verbally discussed the holding fee being non-refundable!

palm coast landing senior apartments rental application

My financial documentation and paperwork they took that day included: driver's license, monthly check from ex, divorce decree, bank checking statement including copies of recent checks, bank savings statement, bank IRA statement, home sales contract, and the social security benefit letter. Since my letter wasn't current within 90 days, I was taken into another room and told to call the Social Security Administration. In front of me was a yellow sticky note which said I should tell the SSA that I am sitting in front of the fax machine. Well, come to find out, I was sitting in front of a fax machine, but not the fax machine that I was asking the SSA to fax my benefit letter! I found that kind of strange. It took a while with the SSA and finally one of the girls walked into the room waving my benefit letter; she said it came in through a fax in another office.

The paperwork for the application process was finished from my end and Alexis did agree to show me an apartment in the Brookhaven complex. She said she couldn't take me to Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments because there was nothing to see since it was a construction zone. After I saw the apartment there, I said goodbye to Alexis and opted to drive around the area by myself. I did remember Alexis mentioning Central Avenue, so when I found that street, I knew the senior apartments must be nearby.

palm coast landing senior apartments under construction may 7, 2015

When I drove up to the construction site of Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments, I was "encouraged" that they did actually exist ... despite the fact that Alexis wouldn't take me to the site.

It was on a Thursday that I submitted my application paperwork for these senior apartments. I thought I would hear back within a couple of days, or maybe within 24 hours. No such luck. Early the next week, I got a phone call from Alexis or Kim saying they needed more financial documentation. That was when the red flags really went up. They wanted six months of checking statements along with a recent IRA statement [which I had already supplied]. And, they asked me to call my mortgage company to fax them a recent mortgage statement. Then, I also noticed on May 13th at 10:34am, someone from Concord Management in Maitland, Florida, was visiting my online websites to check me out further. All this for a rental of a senior apartment??

They, either Alexis or Kim, then told me that I would hear back from them the next day. I heard nothing and waited until Thursday to send an email asking the status. There was no reply to my email. I made the decision on Friday afternoon that I wanted to cancel as I felt I had surrendered way too much financial documentation for a rental application. My email went out after 4pm. Not too long after that email, I got a reply finally from Alexis that I was JUST APPROVED and would I reconsider as she didn't want me to lose my holding fee. How about that? Now, I was just approved and was going to lose the holding fee. Surprise Surprise.

All things considered, after being put through the ringer with the application process, I didn't feel comfortable living in that kind of senior apartment. Oh, and something I forgot to mention. It was at the end of the application process that Thursday that I mentioned my cat. That's when I was informed it would be $50 per month for the cat, non-refundable. You read on their website about their pet policy, "Pets Allowed. Our homes accommodate up to two pets per apartment with a maximum weight limit of 30 lbs. Please call the leasing office for pet deposit fees." However, that pet policy doesn't say how much your pet will cost you to stay in those senior apartments!! That's not pet-friendly.

Well, you probably guessed it, that I filed a few complaints against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments and their agent, Concord Management Ltd. I filed a Ripoff Report against Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments on May 28, 2015. You can read a bit more on that ripoff report about my unfortunate experience with Palm Coast Landing and Concord Management.

I have now heard back from the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and Seniors vs. Crime. It was actually the BBB reply today that got me a copy of the last page of that signed application. Why did Kim Oliver and/or Alexis Miller not give me a copy of that application? While I was filing my online complaints, I did come across a Google Review by another applicant who lost her "holding fee." Not very friendly to seniors living on social security that you need to risk losing $350 through Concord Management Ltd. should you fill out an application for a senior apartment.

Read more about MY personal experience from my other blog posts along with the ripoff report:
  1. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments BBB Complaint 
  2. Seniors vs Crime in Florida
  3. Concord Management LTD Quite Contrary
  4. Palm Coast Landing Senior Apartments Ripoff Report

Friday, April 24, 2015

Artsy Autumn Beauty Sunflower Collage

For the past few days, I have been inspired by the beautiful Autumn Beauty sunflower blossoms emerging on the first sunflower plant of 2015. Thanks to Facebook this morning, not liking my artsy collages, I am taking time to blog about it.

On April 22, 2015, the first Autumn Beauties emerged along the side of my sunflower plant.

FIRST THREE AUTUMN BEAUTIES

Autumn Beauty sunflower blossom
Autumn Beauty sunflower blossom
Autumn Beauty sunflower blossom
There are the early emergers! The three beautiful Autumn Beauty sunflowers. The color is like rich merlot or perhaps a rich shiraz and remind me of a velvet-like fabric.

For the past couple of months, I have been watching that singular sunflower plant as it weathered our freezes. I'd cover it some nights to protect it from the cold. That plant just popped up, out of nowhere, this year ... so I opted to go with it. I was daily wondering, "what color will those blossoms be?"

ARTSY AUTUMN BEAUTY SUNFLOWER COLLAGE

This very morning, I was sharing those three sunflower photos on Facebook when one of my friends, Anna, suggested that I might want to do a collage. Hey, that was a great suggestion as I have done many artsy collages in the past. A collage is a good image to compile when you find it difficult picking just one or a couple photos.

artsy autumn beauty sunflower collage on white
 
artsy autumn beauty sunflower collage on black
So, I started to create my design in PhotoShop. Once I had the first sunflower collage prepared, I thought that I needed to change the background to create a colored mat. I went first with a white background, then black ... and then thought two more ... merlot to reflect the rich color of the blossoms ... and then green, to pick up the pretty colors of the leaves.
artsy autumn beauty sunflower collage on merlot

artsy autumn beauty sunflower collage on green

I then did a short post and added those photo collages to my post. However, just as soon as I went to submit that post with photos, Facebook told me my post was blocked. And, informed me that I could submit my reason they might have gotten that wrong. Good grief! OK, it was time to get back to my blogging.

Perhaps Facebook was being an art critic? What do you think??

Say, be sure to check out the beautiful line of designer throw pillows on Zazzle. These pillows showcase my authentic and original sunflower blossoms from my very own flower garden in Jacksonville, Florida. And, all those blossoms came from plants that emerged from the humble seed. This year, I am into my third such garden. Enjoy!!


See other sunflower gifts available on Zazzle.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Bunch of Sunflowers Zazzle Designer Fabric

To know me is to know that I love sunflowers! Especially the bold and inspiring sunflower blossom as showcased on the Bunch of Yellow Sunflowers Fabric available from Zazzle. I designed my very first fabric product with a collage design of yellow sunflower blossoms with the original blossom found in my sunflower garden in Jacksonville, Florida. I opted to go with combed cotton to put the focus on the flower. Take a look at the piece of fabric as I have displayed it as a floral hanging from my Stanley yellow dresser.

Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
Are you thinking flower power like me? I've been experimenting with that fabric panel throughout my house and haven't yet committed to one placement. I see so many possibilities for it! So, at the moment, that flower fabric panel is hanging on the front of my bedroom dresser as a focal point in my bedroom. And, you get to be in on my thinking and designing process! What would YOU design with that flower fabric panel?

Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
Stepping back a bit, to take in more of the artsy and sunny bedroom, you have a view of my white overstuffed chair. And, you can see the bathroom window through the door opening. The chair and the window are my first two design subjects. I'm looking for a white window shade to fit the bathroom window and want to stitch the fabric over the shade to make a sunflower window shade. I'm also going to try making a simple window curtain to hang as a panel over the bathroom window. I think the collage of sunflowers will look fabulous letting the light shine through the fabric panel.

Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers
I personally love the idea of using the bold bunch of sunflower fabric as a cushion cover for the backdrop of my white overstuffed chair. What do you think? I'm also thinking that the sunflowers would look great covering the seat cushion. I love to be able to get a good view of the large sunflower blossoms. It's like adding a bit of art to the white chair.


Take a look at the beautiful presentation from Zazzle. If I lived in a loft apartment, I honestly think I might try presenting my sunflower fabric like a floral art panel. When I hung my panel in my bedroom, I flipped it from the Zazzle product presentation above. I've also added two additional designs to the bunch of sunflowers. You can select from Bunch of Sunflowers on Black or Bunch of Sunflowers on Teal.

Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Black Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers Bunch of Sunflowers Combed Cotton Teal Fabric by JaguarJulieFlowers

If you are a seamstress, you will love the selection of fabrics available at Zazzle. I have designed all my fabric offerings using the combed cotton. However, you might opt to try one of the other fabrics available. Explore the various fabric types available from Zazzle.

zazzle fabric options with width and price upgrade
The various fabrics include combed cotton, pima cotton, cotton twill, polyester poplin, polyester weave, ivory linen and natural linen. The fabric widths vary from 54 inches wide up to 60 inches wide. Plus the upgrade price is a bit more for the fabrics other than combed cotton.

It is time to welcome Spring! Why not pick the flowers -- the sunflowers -- and bring them inside? I live in Florida, so I am pretty much blessed to not have snow. We get a lot of sunshine. Maybe you don't live in Florida and would like a little sunshine inside? I have just the JaguarJulieFlowers zazzle fabric for you! Go ahead and browse my designer selections ... see if YOU can pick just one!



Complementary Sunflower Art

Yes! It is a bit of flower power. When I received my first fabric product that I designed on Zazzle, I thought, "that should be a wrapped canvas!" I have actually contemplated making a canvas that I can hang on my wall. But, you don't have to do that. You can get my sunflowers as wrapped art canvas in my zazzle store. Pick from three different backgrounds, white, black or teal. Pick a little sunshine for your home.


Designer Feedback

Here is your opportunity to be part of the design process! I personally LOVE to hear from my many readers; however, sometimes people are shy about leaving comments or don't know what to say. I would love to hear from my readers ... what would you design with this bold flower panel of a bunch of yellow sunflowers?

We've shared our designer thinking ... what do YOU think? Would you opt for a hanging floral art panel, bedroom dresser panel, overstuffed chair back cushion or seat cushion, window shade covering, window panel curtain, or perhaps wrapped canvas.

Some other options? Perhaps floral, three-panel room divider? That might be pretty cool. Or, I was thinking of making an outside panel that would be held by two of my five-foot wooden garden stakes. You know, sunflower art for my next sunflower garden! Let us know! Ah, hope you felt the sunshine today!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dating and Domestic Violence Survivor

I AM a SURVIVOR of dating and domestic violence. This is the first time that I have openly made such a declaration, in such a public place. Over the many years since I was abused, I might have hinted at some terrible event in my past that changed me. However, I have never really been all that open about discussing what happened to me and how I felt about it. AND, how it changed me.

In my case, my abuser was first my boyfriend at college and later my husband. Yes, I actually married my abuser. I met him on the campus of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. Our relationship spanned the Fall of 1969 to Spring 1973. He was two years older than me, 5'11" tall and weighed 235 pounds. Today, he is 6'1" tall and weighs 270 pounds. I was 5'5" tall and weighed 105 pounds. He was an ONU football player, and I was an ONU wrestling cheerleader.

In the Fall of 1969, it was an exciting time as my stepfather and mom drove me to Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. I was a freshman attending ONU and would be away from home for the first time. That previous Summer, my mom and I had spent some time at ONU for freshman orientation. That time there was a hot one, temperature-wise. It also helped to get me excited about my college life.

I didn't know much about college life or what to expect. A junior high school friend of mine, Alta, had a sister who was in college. I remember seeing a lot of stuffed animals in her bedroom at home. So, I packed my stuffed animals to take ... rather ironic that I gave up those stuffed animals soon after I arrived at my dorm. I had a roommate Becky from Columbus, Ohio, who would pledge Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Soon we would go through Rush and pledge different sororities and be on our way to new social opportunities and new relationships.

As a freshman, you wore beanies and signs on your back featuring your name and home town. You'd visit various university personnel who would autograph your sign; it was a way to introduce you to key people you might need to know. The Dean of Women, Mrs. Florine Jacobs, was one of those key people that I would soon visit for help. So, I'm glad I got to meet her first before I needed to get help from her!

The Meeting! I hadn't been on campus all that long. I was standing in the McIntosh Center bookstore checkout line when an upperclassman came up to me to say hello. Afterwards, I would get the impression that he had been "stalking" me on campus since the first time he spotted me and was looking for that opportunity to introduce himself. He would later tell me that he had told a fraternity brother that I was the girl he was going to marry. That's where it all started. He had sought me out. Before too long, we were dating and had begun a relationship that would be all-consuming.
ONU Ada, Ohio - New College Friends on the Railroad Tracks
ONU Ada, Ohio - New College Friends - October 1969
Fall 1969 quickly passed into Winter 1969. The campus of ONU can be quite brutally cold in Winter with the wind blowing over that flatland. ONU was rather out in the middle of nowhere, in a small town. It was difficult to get anywhere if you didn't have a car. It was more than a 3-hour drive home!

Those first months of college life are an adjustment period when a young girl is away from home and learning to adjust to a new social life. And, deciding if you will participate in Greek Life, you realize your relationships will change. Not all the independent girls, with which you have formed new friendships, will pledge a sorority, let alone the same sorority! About 20% of the students will decide Greek Life is for them. I found the girls I first got to know either remained independent or pledged other sororities! I was rather starting over and forming new female relationships.

After the holiday season, things would begin to change with sorority life. It was January 1970, and I was already pinned. When I attended the various fraternity rush parties, I would be wearing my pin. That meant those fraternity brothers would have a visual sign that I was taken. Hopefully, they wouldn't want to interact with me.

I don't remember the exact date and time that the violence on campus started for me. Problems started fairly early in that I hadn't yet become a ZTA, and I was still living in Stambaugh Hall. I remember the president of ZTA driving me back to that dorm as I had definitely consumed too much beer at a social function with a fraternity. That was probably the first time in my life that I had really had alcohol, and it had affected me. It was an important lesson for me in that I first learned to set limits on alcohol and never had a similar experience on or off campus. However, I do believe alcohol was not my boyfriend's friend as it served to fuel his violent behavior.

"The University affirms its historic belief that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not beneficial to the academic environment of the University." ~ ONU Student Handbook

My boyfriend was standing outside the dorm and had a couple of independents on my floor hold me up to the window so he could see me. I remember I had to throw-up a few times after that incident. I later heard that he was raging with anger and went off to find the fraternity brothers with which I had socialized. I can remember hearing how at the Sig Ep fraternity, a certain brother was locked in a closet to protect him from my angry boyfriend!
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Rush Party - January 11, 1970
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Rush Party - January 11, 1970
I was in the middle of being rushed by Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity, Delta Theta Chapter. I would pledge ZTA and continue to attend more and more social functions ... like I had never experienced in my life. It was important for my abuser that other young men knew he had claimed me!
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Pledge Class - January 19, 1970
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Pledge Class - January 19, 1970
Some of those social functions were mixers with the various fraternities. And, in some of those mixers, there was alcohol. Looking back on those mixers, I do think alcohol should never have been served!
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Campus Chest - 1970
ONU Ada, Ohio - Zeta Tau Alpha Campus Chest - 1970
Over the years, the mix of sororities and fraternities at Ohio Northern University have changed. I'm not sure of all the reasons behind why some of those organizations are no longer affiliated with ONU. Zeta Tau Alpha still is part of the Greek Life there!

ONU Zeta Tau Alpha - Delta Theta Chapter
ONU Zeta Tau Alpha - Delta Theta Chapter
In the photos I share, I have concealed the identity of my abuser with a mask. I don't believe he is ready to make amends and come forward, so I will not reveal his face.

ONU Letterman Queen Contest February 13, 1970
ONU Letterman Queen Contest February 13, 1970
Once I was immersed in the Greek life on campus, the abuse was more prevalent. There were more activities between sororities and fraternities. That posed some kind of threat to my abuser in that I would be meeting other young men through these functions. He insisted that I wear his pin so that the young men wouldn't try to get to know me.
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal May 22, 1970
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal May 22, 1970
As my boyfriend was two years older than me, I often wondered, "what about those other girls he dated?" How did he treat them? I knew he had a girlfriend before college that he told me about. I saw a picture of her, a brunette with a paigeboy hairstyle and a voluptuous figure. Was I the first, or maybe the last, to experience abuse at his hands? Surely there must be other girls. I could not be the only one!

"Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to oneself or to another is prohibited." ~ ONU Student Handbook

By the time that I became a ZTA sister and was now living at Lima Hall, the abuse had already started. That unacceptable behavior would reach a fever pitch when I lived at Lima Hall. The verbal lashings were mind-numbing and were so frequent that I probably zoned-out when they would start. Soon he was spitting at me, pulling my hair and pushing me. The punching and more physical abuse really didn't start until after we were married.
ONU Outing - Middle Bass Island May 30, 1970
ONU Outing - Middle Bass Island May 30, 1970
On one abusive occasion, I remember spending a good part of the night and early morning in the cemetery in Ada, Ohio. We were sitting in the front seat of his car. The verbal abuse and berating had gone on for hours. I had been sobbing throughout the abuse. I do not remember ever fighting back.

"Threatening, endangering or causing physical harm to any person or causing reasonable apprehension of such harm is prohibited." ~ ONU Student Handbook

When he brought me back to Lima Hall, I went to my dorm room and spoke with no one. Hours of verbal abuse would happen in the front seat of his car. And, I would ultimately come back to my dorm and tell no one. I often wondered, didn't my ZTA sisters wonder or know something was going on?
ONU Zeta Tau Alpha - Rush Party at Alpha Sigma Phi - January 10, 1971
ONU Zeta Tau Alpha - Rush Party at Alpha Sigma Phi - January 10, 1971
During the early abuse, I did seek help from the Dean of Women, Mrs. Florine Jacobs. Back in 1969-1971, there wasn't a counseling center at ONU; she was it! The advice I received wasn't much aside from her making the suggestion that I avoid my abuser and break up with him. What about my classes? ONU isn't a large campus. I do remember breaking up and also missing a few classes. But, before long, we were back together.
ONU Bearcub Wrestling Cheerleader January 23, 1971
ONU Bearcub Wrestling Cheerleader January 23, 1971
ONU Core Values - Integrity: "We expect individuals to conduct themselves with honesty, trustworthiness, and respect for others."

Relationship Violence Warning Signs

Here are some of the documented warning signs for relationship violence that I experienced countless times. I would add something additional, about the threats the abuser makes, threatening to kill you or himself. After the violent event, he would sometimes say he was sorry and couldn't believe what he had done to me. He might cry a little and then beg me to accept him back -- that he would change. He never changed; the abuse behavior only got worse. Violence was threatened if I told anyone what was happening. I was sworn to secrecy. After all that, who would believe me?
  • Tells you who you may be friends with, how you should dress, or tries to control other elements of your life or relationship.
  • Gets jealous when there is no reason.
  • Is physically violent to you or others, even if it's "just" grabbing and pushing to get his/her way.
  • Acts in an intimidating way toward you by invading your "personal space."
  • Is unable to handle sexual and emotional frustrations without becoming angry.
  • Does not view you as an equal.
  • A man who thinks poorly of himself and guards his masculinity by acting tough.
  • Goes through extreme mood changes.
  • Is angry and threatening to the extent that you have changed your life so as not to anger him.
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Turtle Dance February 13, 1971
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Turtle Dance February 13, 1971
ONU Counseling Center - "Call 419-772-2190 to make an appointment or call the 24-hour mental-health crisis hotline at 1-800-567-4673. They have counselors available 24 hours a day."

Oh no S-E-X! It didn't say on those signs, that we freshmen wore, whether or not we had yet been introduced to sex. I was a virgin and naive when it came to sexual matters. I remember finding a magazine on the second floor of McIntosh Center. On the cover, it showed a nude young man on a swing sporting an erection. I took the magazine back to Stambaugh Hall and was soon sharing it with the girls on my floor and the girls of ZTA. That was my first introduction to the male anatomy and probably the same for some of those girls.
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal - May 1971
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal - May 1971
I do recall discussing with one of my ZTA sisters about my angst over my first sexual experience. She told me it would be OK. You know, I still remember that Lima, Ohio hotel room. And, then on the floor in his study room in the fraternity house. He actually found that certain "something" that he needed as proof of my previous virginity.

"Causing or attempting to cause mental, physical or emotional abuse of a sexual nature to another, whether in the form of sexual harassment or sexual assault, constitutes sexual misconduct, which is prohibited." ~ ONU Student Handbook

I remember when he introduced me to oral sex. We were sitting in his car in the parking lot of the fraternity house one night. Without much ado, he pushed my head down on you know what. I about gagged. And, not much later, I was outside his car throwing up!

A short while later, we were sitting outside the library. The verbal abuse had continued until I was in such a traumatic state. I was sobbing. Didn't anybody hear us? Why did nobody intervene?
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal - May 1971
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Spring Formal - May 1971
ONU Student Code of Conduct - "In essence, the Code of Conduct requires students to behave in a manner consistent with the values described in the University Mission Statement. To do so, students are expected to demonstrate: Commitment to Self with maturity, openness, accountability, and self-discipline; Commitment to Others with supportive, mutually collaborative, respectful, social interactions in all living and learning environments."
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Formal - May 1971
ONU Phi Kappa Theta Formal - May 1971
By the Spring of 1971, I had become accustomed to the verbal abuse along with the spitting, hair-pulling, slapping and pushing. I guess you could say that I expected to have an unpleasant experience so I wouldn't be surprised when it happened. We had become engaged and were planning a June wedding. We still had our issues. I don't know what it was that he doubted about me. I had been "devoted" to him; I had no other relationships with any other young men on campus. I thought he would relax once we were engaged.

One of the visible scars of the abuse is a small scar on the inside of my ring finger. Sitting in his car at the back of Lima Hall one night, he had pulled off the engagement ring and threw it at me, bouncing it off my head. We nearly lost the ring as I opened the car door to leave and it dropped on the ground. The wedding would be delayed until December 1971.

The Wedding - December 4, 1971

Wedding Bridal Party December 4, 1971
Wedding Bridal Party December 4, 1971
The wedding was quite impressive. After a formal ceremony at Immaculate Conception Church in Willoughby, Ohio, the reception was held at Manakiki in Willoughby Hills. My ZTA sisters, Nan McGrane, Linda English, Debbie Bennett and Janice Mounier were in my bridal party along with my two sisters. There were several Phi Kappa Theta brothers in attendance and a lot of his relatives. We hadn't made definitive plans for a honeymoon, but were waiting to see how much cash we got at the wedding.
The Honeymoon - Daytona Beach December 1971
The Honeymoon - Daytona Beach December 1971
After the wedding, we drove to Akron and stayed in a hotel before embarking on our honeymoon. We were driving to Florida. When we arrived in Florida, we stopped off in Daytona Beach and then made it to Ft. Lauderdale for the duration of the honeymoon. I remember keeping the cash in a large white envelope. Each time we made any type of purchase, we recorded the details and amount on the side of the envelope.

Married Life

I had been working as a Tax Cashier in the Lake County Treasurer's Office in Painesville, Ohio. He hadn't yet got into the career that he wanted. We had a modest 3 bedroom home in Eastlake, Ohio. Looking at the Google Maps street view surely brings back memories! It was in that house that the abuse became physical.

Lake County Treasurer Mable Johnson Home - May 1972
Lake County Treasurer Mable Johnson Home - May 1972
I worked a full-time job, first at the Treasurer's Office and later at Picker Corporation and then Babcock & Wilcox Industrial Systems. I had to find a better paying job than county government since my husband was still getting started in his career. When I was at B&W, I would come home for lunch. Often my husband was still in bed as he would come in 2:30-3:00pm many nights. I thought that strange, but wouldn't ask too many questions risking making him angry and setting him off.

One Saturday morning, I was still sleeping and he had gotten up to go play football. He jumped on the bed, rolled me over, and then had his way. That may have been the time that I said something that he didn't like. Instead of punching me, he punched a hole in the bedroom wall outside the bathroom.

By this time, the abuse sessions included him punching me and throwing me across the room. It's a wonder that I never had a broken bone! But, I did have plenty of bruises and a black eye once. I wore plenty of eye makeup to cover that and would wear long sleeves to conceal the bruises on my arms. I have a problem with my right jaw that is slightly misaligned from being punched in the face.

It was the end of December 1972. I had invited my sister Diane to come along with us to a holiday party. Something happened at that party to set-off my husband. It could have been me chewing gum or a guy looking at me; who knows the actual catalyst. I told my sister that I was going to get it that night. Many times, I would be told, "you're going to get it when we get home" ... so I knew it would be coming. Other times, it was from the "if looks could kill" look that he would give me. That was the first time I had said anything to my family about the abuse! My sister went home and told our mother. But, mom and my family had NO IDEA about how long it had been going on and how bad it had gotten.

It was February 1973. Possibly the evening of his birthday. Something had set him off. He was in the living room doing something with our stereo unit when I let our german shepherd puppy run through the house to go outside. He yelled and came at me. I remember him yanking the door of the refrigerator and a bottle of ketchup fell out and smashed on the floor. He told me he would be dealing with me when he got home ... then he left. I quickly dialed my mom! "Mom, can you come get me?" I pleaded. "Where are you going to go?" she asked. "I don't know, but I have to get out of here." I packed some clothes and mom drove over to pick me up. On the way to her house, she told me that my sister had told her I was being abused by my husband.

Divorce! After staying with my mom and stepfather for a short time, I decided to move away from the Cleveland, Ohio area so that I would feel safer. My husband was trying to see me, but my stepfather would tell him he was trespassing. One day, my husband blew down the adjoining street and scared my youngest sister. I heard her screaming at the back door that he nearly ran her over. When I got to Columbus, Ohio, I stayed with my sister Diane for a short time. She had an apartment on Town Street. I secured a job at the Kircher, Helton, and Collett advertising agency. I was ready to put the abuse behind me and get on with my life.

Miss Columbus Ohio. Funny thing? The divorce was final in June 1973 and it was shortly after that time that I entered the Miss Columbus Day USA competition. In the rules it said a girl had to be single; it didn't say never married. My agency coworkers suggested I enter it. Much to my surprise, I was chosen Miss Columbus Ohio! Unfortunately, that meant the papers in the Cleveland area carried my photo with the announcement. One day the phone rings at KH&C; it is the president of the Columbus Day USA Association. He tells me my ex-husband's mother called him and said a few choice words about me. He asked, "Had you been married." I answered truthfully, "yes." Well, he went on to say that my ex's mother said she had a lot more to tell him. What a surprise that was; what in the world could she say? I continued in the competition, but heard from my sponsor that I wouldn't be allowed to win the USA portion. They let me continue in my role as Miss Columbus Ohio. I'm sure that irritated my ex's mother!

Catholic Church Annulment. How do you annul a Catholic church wedding? Money! It was the Summer of 1973; I had heard from my mom that my ex was proceeding with an annulment. "Can he do that?" I asked. Well, apparently, money could buy that annulment and did. I'm not sure what lies might have been told as I didn't testify in any proceeding.

Another Wedding. My ex remarried in 1975 and is still married to that same woman today! He has two lovely and intelligent daughters. I too remarried. My second husband was also a football player who played under the coaching of Woody Hayes at The Ohio State University. Although that marriage ended in divorce for us, I've often wondered what would be my circumstances today if we had stayed married. I've been in contact with him over the years and told him how much he meant to me. Then, after some 25 years of being single, I married for the third time. Our relationship spanned some ten or more years. We divorced in November 2010. I never had any children as I took steps to ensure that I wouldn't have children.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After my abusive relationship, I didn't seek counseling until several years later when I was going through my second divorce. I was still in my twenties, but I believe I suffered from PTSD. I had issues with anxiety and ultimately experienced agoraphobia which haunted me for seven years. Although I continued to work to support myself, I didn't tell people that I was dealing with a phobia. I'm sure many of my coworkers wondered about the attractive "reserved" gal. By the time I was into my early 40s, I had learned coping strategies through my counseling sessions.

Abuse Changed Me!

I've often wondered where I would be today and what would I be doing if I had stood my guns when I first broke up with my college abuser. I stayed at Ohio Northern University for two years before leaving. I didn't want to leave; I wanted that 4-year degree! For a time, it seemed that I might be able to return for the third and fourth years; however, my boyfriend was not accepted in ONU's Law School. So, we got married instead.

Help for survivors. "Abuse is rooted in power and control, and an abusive partner holds that power by minimizing their victim’s self-esteem and breaking their spirit."

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, there was still talk about girls going to college to find a husband. That wasn't my goal; it happened. That, and so much more.

Gaslighting. "You ask yourself, 'Am I too sensitive?' multiple times a day. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses."

866-943-5787 Campus Conduct Hotline
866-943-5787 Campus Conduct Hotline
"If you experience or observe what you believe is unsafe or inappropriate behavior and are unsure what to do, call Campus Conduct Hotline to report it."

I have the most difficult time TRUSTING! Throughout the past 40+ years since the end of the abusive relationship, I have dated more than my share of men. I have had a number of relationships and remarried twice. However, through each of those relationships, I was always wondering WHEN and IF ... would this man become abusive towards me. The answer? Never. No other man in my adult life, with which I had a relationship, was ever abusive towards me!

I also have a difficult time with CONFLICTS. After escaping my abusive relationship, I found that I did all I could to avoid arguments, disagreements and conflicts. For me, I now associated those differences of opinion with abuse and violence. It was a fight or flight reaction and I would opt for the latter.

Dating After Domestic Violence - If you’ve experienced domestic violence, you might have more trouble connecting with potential romantic partners, you might have a hard time trusting people or you might find that your perception of what is healthy/unhealthy in a relationship was warped by your abuser.

Fast-forward 42 years later! I was talking with my mom this past week and told her that I would be writing my story. She wanted to know where would I be writing it; would I be writing a book? "No, mom, I'm not writing a book ... but I need to tell my story."

How can abusers change

"Admitting fully to what they have done. Stopping excuses and blaming. Making amends. Accepting responsibility and recognizing that abuse is a choice." It's been a lot of years since the abuse ... I would like an apology, an explanation, and some amends from my abuser.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

ONU Business Exchange
A code of ethics! "To drive home the point of ethics, the College of Business Administration adopted a student honor code in 2008. This honor code details the college’s commitment to developing global leaders by instilling the values of integrity, leadership, teamwork, continuous improvement and community service."

As I look back on that dark time in my early adulthood, I am still mystified about it all. Why me? What was it about me? What did I do to cause that abuse? I was a quiet young girl with high standards. My education was important to me. I do remember something that my abuser said to me a couple of times, "you are not going to do to me what my mother did to my father."

Ah! That might have been it. His father had an artificial leg and often his wife would slap or taunt him when he was sitting around with his leg off. Could that have been the germ of the abuse? In high school, my abuser had suffered an injury to his foot when sliding into a base in a baseball game. His foot was totally broken and twisted around. He didn't lose his foot, but he shared a severe limb injury - much like his dad.

College Co-ed Murder Mystery

This could have been my story! As I watched the NBC Dateline episode about the brutal murder of Alexander Kogut, in her Brockport dorm room in September of 2012, it struck me that I very well could have ended up that way ... dead. Thankfully, I survived. It was this episode of Dateline that spurred me to finally tell my story so that if one girl would not go through what I did, that would be my goal.


Stop the Violence! "How do you stop violence against women and girls? First, you get people talking. It’s all about getting people talking, and then taking action."

For my protection, in December 2013, I took a Concealed Weapons Course in Jacksonville, Florida. In January 2014, I purchased a Smith and Wesson 38 revolver and have it loaded with hollow point bullets. I've spoken with the local police recently who have suggested that I take regular target practice to become one with my gun. It's been recommended that I also take some self-defense courses so that I can defend myself against an attacker.

Help put an end to dating and domestic violence. Say "NO!" Tell someone. Get help. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. I AM a SURVIVOR! Make that choice to not accept abuse of any kind. Be a SURVIVOR.