( Pictured from left to right: Brenda Alexander from Victims to Victory, Kristee Lane from 103.5 WRBO, Joyce Parkinson, keynote speaker & founder of Walking Into A New Life, Inc. and Rubbie King from Family Safety Center)
I had the privilege of serving as the keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Taffi Crawford Memorial Luncheon. For those who may not be aware, Taffi’s life was senselessly lost at the hands of domestic violence February 12, 2010. Her abuser, Frank Graham, was convicted of First Degree murder in her shooting death in January, 2012. He is currently serving a life sentence.
The luncheon included a candlelight ceremony to honor those who’ve lost their lives in 2012 due to domestic violence (30 in all). Taffi’s son lit a memorial candle in her honor. Representatives from various organizations spoke about the services they provide for victims and survivors of domestic violence and their families. There was musical entertainment to go along with great food and fellowship.
In my keynote address, I talked about courage and what we could learn from Taffi’s life, as well as her death. I talked about the importance of getting involved, walking away and providing resources among other things.
I think one of the most important things to note about Taffi is that she recognized that she was in an unhealthy relationship and left. She was happy and moving on with her life. She had the support of family and friends, a career she found fulfilling and enjoyed life. Everyone spoke of how beautiful she was on inside, which definitely complimented her outer beauty. Her death is a reminder that even when an individual actually leaves their abusive situation, they may still fall victim to their abuser. No plan is 100% safe and not every abuser is willing to move on and allow their victims to do the same.
As we reflect on Taffi, Karen, Ashley and others who’ve lost their lives to domestic violence, let us remember to reach out to those who we suspect or know may be actively involved in unhealthy relationships, support them, help them transition out and follow up with them regarding their overall health and safety.