I first met Yolanda at a Domestic Violence event in which we were both honored for our courage. I remember her story vividly and it moved me to tears. This woman was so full of joy and life in spite of experiencing something so traumatic. I was in awe of her strength. Thanks to the power of social media, we were connected again recently. Her story is so important and her message of life after domestic abuse is needed to help other. I thank Yolanda for sharing a piece of her amazing story with us on this site.
On March 22, 2016, Yolanda suffered a tragic and near fateful domestic violence incident at the hands of her partner. Her partner assaulted her with a hammer. One of her son’s saved her life. As a result of this event, she lost her left eye and has endured 7 surgeries. She has a steel plate placed in her skull and now awaits facial reconstruction surgery to repair the damage from her attack. Her attacker was charged with attempted murder Although the event was traumatic it brought her closer to God, her family and more importantly her willingness to share her story with others.
This is her story…
Early on March 22, 2016 I fell victim to a Domestic Assault with a hammer by my now incarcerated ex-boyfriend that not only left me with mental and physical scars. I use my experience to bring awareness and inspire survivors to want to speak up and speak out. It’s important to know it’s not your fault. I want survivors to know how to love yourselves again and live. There is life after abuse. Don't get me wrong I struggle every day. I may not look like what I've been through but I'm so blessed to be alive today to tell my story. I just want people to know it's OK to speak up and speak out. I want to show you what a miracle looks like. The images I'm about to show is very graphic. I was left to die in my own bed. I Hope This Does Not offend you but this is life real true life stories that. That can happen to anyone.
“You have left me in a pool of blood to die. Sometimes I look at myself in a mirror, and all I can do is thank God and cry. My life has been changed tremendously." -Yolanda Carter excerpt from her Victim Impact Statement
Interview courtesy of WGN News
“All I remember is my son Joshua coming in the room," Carter said.
"I get out of my bed," Brown (Yolanda’s Son)recalls, "open my door. I run to her room. I see there is blood on the floor, blood on the door.”
Carter: “Bleeding out of my nose, my mouth.”
Brown (Yolanda’s Son) : “I just look at her. Her face is in the pillow. She’s still moving.”
Carter: “I think he was hysterically trying ... shaking me, shaking me.”
Brown: “She’s like, ‘Just don’t let me fall asleep,
Josh.’ I’m kinda crying, too. I’m trying to hold it in because I don’t want her to see me like that, and I ain’t trying to see her like that. There was just blood everywhere; her face was bloody. She just kept moaning and making noises.”
Carter: "I said, ‘What happened to me?’ He said, ‘Mama, he beat you with a hammer.’ And the first thing I said, ‘Well, why would he do something like that?’”
Brown: “As I went running in my room to get my phone, I’m coming out of my room. I see him at the front door looking at me. We made eye contact for like, five seconds. And you could see he had the hammer in his hand. There was blood on the hammer. I think, like, my soul must have came out of my body when that happened. I couldn’t stand to see nothing like that.”
Carter: “All I know is that when I went to bed, I did not wake up the same way I went to sleep."
Carter met White through mutual friends. They dated on and off for years, and he often stayed at her home. "Although he was a charmer," Carter said, "he had a dark side I didn’t know about.” Carter's daughter Tameka Gills Royston recalls the warning signs: “Later on as the relationship goes on, me and my husband always say — he wore glasses. We would always say, ‘There’s something behind them glasses. It’s too good to be true,’ but we never knew what it was.” Carter's daughter Sheabria Gills added: “Leading up to the end, he started separating himself from people, from family.” There were episodes of aggressive and inappropriate language directed at Carter and her children. "I said, ‘Look, these are my kids, these are my children,'" Carter said. "'You're here today or tomorrow. Don’t you ever disrespect my children.'" At one point in early 2016, White disappeared for days. Carter suspected he was on a drinking and gambling binge. She packed up his clothes and tried to find someplace for him to go. But when White returned on March 22, 2016, he asked Carter whether he could spend the night at her place. Carter acquiesced.
“I said, ‘Go ahead, get your shower, get yourself ready for work,'" Carter recalls. She went to bed and was awoken by the attack. Bones in her face and skull were shattered. Her jaw and teeth were left unstable. And one eye was so severely damaged that it had to be removed.
“Maybe by him seeing those clothes packed," Carter said, "that was like a trigger.”
“I walked around the bed and just was looking at her," Royston said and I’m like, "'What person can do this?' It’s just so inhumane. Where is your compassion for life? Why would you do that?” "My sister told me that they were going to take her eye," Gills recalled. "That’s when I really broke down. I didn’t think that he would do something so heinous and be a monster like that.” "I just try to keep myself built up," Carter said. "Of course, I cry when I think about it. I look in the mirror, and I see that I don’t have an eye. My face is deformed. ... I have a metal plate in my head.”
"I thank God every day that I can still wake up because there are so many that didn’t make it," Carter said. "Please, if you are in an abusive relationship, try to get out as safe as possible, because I didn’t have that chance. I didn’t know I had to get out of something I didn’t know I was in.” -Interview by WGN News (link here)
Yolanda is the mother of 5 children, 3 boys, and 2 girls, 2 granddaughters and a god daughter. She enjoyed working with people at her job at the department of human services. She enjoys cooking and helping people. She is the author of “One Eye Witness”, a domestic violence diary to help inspire women, domestic violence victims and even abusers to understand how to recognize the signs and navigate through the storm and to motivate them to get help before it’s too late. Yolanda will be honored this weekend at Truth Restaurant. Please support this event and show Yolanda some love and support if you can.
You can learn more about Yolanda and her incredible story of survival at www.oneeyewitness.com .
If you are in an abusive relationship, there is help!! Please reach out to any of the following organizations:
Resources for Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Illinois Domestic Violence Help Line
(847) 221-5680, 24-hour help line
South Suburban Family Shelter
Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network