Love is not supposed to hurt

Image result for domestic violence in black community

Today is Valentine’s Day.  Dinner reservations have been made and the night will bring flowers, candy, and cards.  For some women however, the dinner will be thrown to the floor in anger, cards will be ripped to pieces, and nothing sweet will pass her lips.  For them, the night means walking on egg shells in fear and fists driven into her chest and back.  For some, the one they love, the one they call husband, boyfriend, or partner is the one who inflicts the most pain.  Pain borne out of insecurity.  Pain borne out of misplaced blame.  Pain borne out of pure evil.  Love is not supposed to hurt.  But the chances are you know a woman that is in an abusive relationship and the beatings have become her norm.

Like many crimes, blacks are disproportionately represented as victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.  Black women are 35% more likely to be victimized by a partner than white women (NCADV, 2017).  Black women are also three times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner.  Among black women ages15-35, domestic violence homicide is one of the leading causes of death.  Love is not supposed to hurt.  Love is not supposed to hit.  Love is not supposed to kill.  This is not love.  Sadly, these victims often suffer in silence.  They do not tell because they truly love their partners.  They do not tell because they are embarrassed.  They do not tell because leaving may mean loss of financial support.  And they do not tell because they do not want to hand their man over to the police, an institution that has historically brutalized black men.

Domestic violence and intimate partner violence is such a complex issue that often those on the periphery resort to victim blaming.  Further in some communities of color this phenomenon is normalized with abusers given a pass.  This behavior is not normal.  Using the body of a woman as a punching bag to work out one’s anger is wrong, monstrous, and criminal.  The black community needs to confront this issue and bring it out into the open.  Increasing awareness, knowing the signs of abuse, and providing access to resources for victims and their support system are key.  These statistics no longer need to be our reality.  Our young girls and women deserve more and need our help.  Let’s end this now.  Change the norm.  Know the signs.  Acknowledge the behavior.  Condemn abusers and help the victims.

Be safe,

Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213/@Cupids_Sting
Follow me on Instagram: @cupidssting

#ValentinesDay #love #hurt #domesticviolence #intimatepartner #violence #EndDV #abuse #violenceagainstwomen #endthisnow #crime #justice #support #knowthesigns #help #protectourgirls #protectourwomen #cupidssting #nonprofit #MeToo #TimesUp

The National Domestic Violence Hotline may be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).


Jones, F.  (2014).  Why black women struggle more with domestic violence.  Time.  Retrieved from

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  (2014).  Domestic violence fact sheet.
Colorado: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.



No Where is Safe

On Sunday, November 19, 2017 a young woman in Washington, DC was sexually assaulted by a man she thought was an Uber driver.  She was out with friends and flagged down a car with an Uber sticker so she could be taken home.  It turns out that the driver had been let go from Uber but was still driving around the city giving the impression that he was a full-fledged driver.  After the young woman and her friend were picked up, they were driven to the campus of American University where at some point, her friend got out.  The driver then circled around the campus and parked in a remote lot and raped the female passenger.  He then drove her to her dorm and dropped her off.  The female student then reported the incident to campus police who have video footage of the car with the Uber sticker prominently displayed driving around the campus.

No where is safe.  Not work, the gym, Capitol Hill, the spa, nor an Uber.  Why does this continue to happen?  Why do men continue to use the female body for their pleasure with total disregard for how their abusive actions and behavior will scar her.

This past summer, I experienced an unsettling situation with an Uber driver.  After being picked up in front of my home he immediately started asking me personal questions and staring at me through the rear view mirror.  I knew he was jerk and was trying to come on to me.  The driver was so distracted by looking at me in the mirror that he missed the turn to take me to my destination.  I told him to pull over as I was terminating the ride and as soon as I was safe, I jumped out of the car.  Prior to that however, I shared the driver information with my husband and a girlfriend and texted both about how strange the driver was acting.  The harassment is real.  It can happen anywhere.  But you have to take steps to protect yourself.  Always let people know where you are going.  If you do not show up at a designated time then at least they can back track your steps with information such as the car, plate, driver, etc.  And if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, DO NOT push that feeling away.  It means something is not right and you do not have to compromise your safety for anyone.  Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of people- known and unknown as unfortunately not everyone is your friend.  We are living in a different time.  The experiences of harassment, abuse, and misconduct faced by women are not new but now it is out in the open and it will no longer be swept under the rug.

Be safe,

Follow me on Twitter: @Cupids_Sting
Follow me on Instagram: @cupidssting

#Uber #sexualassault #rape #Washington #DC #AmericanUniversity #harassment #sexualharassment #sexualmisconduct #abuse #violenceagainstwomen #nomeansno #thisendsnow #endthisnow #crime #justice #selfdefense #protectyourself #beproactive #cupidssting #ljsamuel #MeToo



NBC Washington.  (2017, November 20).  ‘Fake’ Uber driver accused of raping DC student is released.  News4.  Retrieved from




Where are We Now? Remembering the Last Publicized Lynching in America


Greetings all and welcome to the first blog of 2017 for the You Have the Right to Remain Informed.  The United States is getting ready to embark on a major transformation with the change of the Presidential Administration.  Today’s post features guest blogger Tammy Holt who shares a very personal story from her childhood in the Deep South.  Pay attention as we cannot allow history to repeat itself.

This has been a story hidden deeply in my memory bank since I was a little girl.  I remember living in Mobile, Alabama, and being told I could not go outside because a man’s body was hanging from a tree.  Of course, I blocked it out, but I always wondered was it really true or was it something that I remembered ‘incorrectly’, or did I dream it?

We stayed off Dearborn Street, a few streets over from Herndon.  The long story short is this young man was killed and hung by the KKK.  The KKK was mad that another black man was not convicted of killing a white police officer (the case was a mistrial).  So, in retaliation of the verdict, the KKK saw Michael Donald (I never knew his name) on the street, kidnapped, hung and cut his throat.  A gruesome murder.

This ties into current day news with Senator Sessions and his hearings for Attorney General.  He was on the team for the prosecuting attorney’s office back then.  I was reading up on all the issues surrounding him and his racial comments and found his connection to this case.

In that Washington Post article (to give you the down and dirty), Sessions went all the way around and back again, saying he said some things, didn’t say others, said some things were taken out of context…yadda, yadda, yadda….my final opinion:  it’s between him and God.

But, I just wanted to share this information…you just never know how things in our lives will come full circle or how the news applies directly (or indirectly) to us.  I’m glad I can put some closure on this memory, but angered by the evil in this world.

I thank Tammy for having the courage to share her story and I leave you with this brief thought.  If the aim is to make America great again, does that mean that we have to go back to times such as these to achieve that goal?  I truly hope not.  As my friend Tammy has said before, “to be great, you have to be a servant.”  Thus, it is our hope and prayer that Sessions and the rest of new Administration will serve all people remembering equity and fairness.  As when you do right, we all benefit, grow, and evolve in the greatness God intended for us.

Be safe,

Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213
Check out what’s new in 2017 at

#race #racism #raceinamerica #1981 #lynching #MichaelDonald #Alabama #deepsouth #hate #love #black #white #civilrights #trial #Senator #JeffSessions #fear #light #healing #change #makeamericagreat #administration #crime #violence #criminals #justice #criminaljusticesystem #courtsystem #2017 #ljsamuel #cupidssting

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The Truth about Domestic Violence



According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), approximately 33% of women have been victims of domestic violence.  This figure is misleading as it is based on official reports.  Many victims do not come forward for fear of greater violence.   If the 33% figure does not resonate with you, let me put it this way- your sister, mother, friend, cousin, co-worker, mentor, teacher, or loved one has probably been abused at some point in her life.  She has been pushed, punched, slapped, yelled at, demeaned, and threatened by the person she calls ‘partner.’  That’s not true, you say?  They would have told you, right?  They didn’t even tell the police.

After the smoke cleared, they picked themselves up off the floor and washed the tears off their face, put peroxide on their wounds, left a message for their boss to let them know they would not be at work the next day, then proceeded to make their abuser dinner so that he would not get angry again.

The truth is that this crime is being perpetrated in households all across the United States.  Domestic violence does not discriminate.  Whether you live in the most expensive house or public housing, violence may very well knock at your door.  Rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, domestic violence knows no bounds.  And so the victim puts on her mask and follows her script as society expects her to do.

For those of us on the outside, we think that if we were ever violated by a husband, boyfriend, or partner, we would never stay.  I can just hear it now.  “Girl, if he ever puts his hands on me, that’s it!  I’m walking away!”  Easier said than done.  Many women do not walk away.  One must first understand the psyche of victims to understand why.  The reasons are many.  Perhaps she does not have the courage to leave due to low self-esteem.  Maybe she is a stay at home mom and leaving means a loss of financial support and living in a shelter.  Then there are feelings of embarrassment.  Leaving means admitting to the outside world that she failed at her relationship and ‘allowed’ her man to hit her.  Then there is fear.  A large number of abused women are stalked by their partners while they are together and/or after they leave their abuser.  But there is constant fear that their abuser will find them and kill them because they had the courage to leave.  And lastly, there is love.  You loved him enough to stay ‘I do’ or remain in a relationship with him or raise a family together.  These are all extremely complex reasons so we cannot easily judge the actions of victims.  What we can do is support the victim and offer help.  We can increase our awareness of this terrible issue so that we know the signs if a friend or loved one is being victimized.

If a victim is scared to call the police, there are other resources available.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline for example, may be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  The Centers for Disease Control also has many resources.  Their website is:

Be a good friend.  Don’t turn your back because you never know when you may need the same.

Be safe,

Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #domesticviolence #intimatepartnerviolence #violence #stopdv #itendsnow #nomeansno #pain #safety #justice #support #assistance #help #abuse #victim #victimization #truth #police #interpersonalviolence #cupidssting #ljsamuel


Barnett, O.W & LaViolette, A.D.  (1993).  It could happen to anyone: Why battered women stay.       Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2014).  Understanding intimate partner violence        fact sheet.  Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follingstad, D., Runge, M., Ace, April, Buzan, Robert, & Helff, Cindy.  (2001).  Justifiability,      sympathy level, and internal/external locus of the reasons battered women remain in abusive      relationships.  Violence and Victims, 16 (6), 621-644.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  (2014).  Domestic violence fact sheet.       Colorado: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.






Where do we go from here?


(Source: Lorena O’Neal,

I am a black woman. I love my black men. But that does not mean I hate white men or Asian women, or Latino men. Another label I wear is criminologist. I study crime, I work with the police, I seek justice when there is wrongdoing. So I am grappling with how to articulate my feelings over the events of the past two days. Numb? So much sadness. Over what? Hate. At first I thought that race was the underlying factor but I’m not so sure anymore. We have gotten to a point where we no longer respect human life no matter the outer shell. One act does not condone another. Are we not better than that? We have to be. Or is this the beginning of our own self aniliation?

I know some are going to argue that this is history repeating itself but the Lord says “vengeance is mine.” Therefore, it is not ours. To cheer the murder or five Dallas police officers who were simply doing their job is shameless. Not one of them was responsible for taking the life of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile.  I get it. There is a feeling of helplessness but how can this be a solution? A violent response will only increase the violence directed at the very group you mourn for. This is not the way. We are all hurting. Deeply. A generational hurt. But black people are a resilient people so we must figure out a way (yes we have been here before) to heal and figure out a solution that goes beyond DOJ canned responses that breaks through the blue barrier where a respect and appreciation for all life is the starting point of where the police operate from. If not, there will be more death, more violence, more hate, more crying, more arguing, and no change.  And we will continue on this hamster wheel of violence, death, and destruction.

Be safe,


Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#police #policeviolence #policeshootings #blackmen #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #Louisiana #Minnesota #policeaccountabilty #policereform #peace #protest #DallasPolice #peacefulprotest #blacklivesmatter #bluelivesmatter #alllivesmatter #hope #change #love

The Woman Card

Woman Card.jpg

This past week Donald Trump made a speech where he stated that Hilary Clinton is playing the ‘woman card.’ All I could do was laugh. It was a very dainty and feminine laugh mind you as after all, I am a woman. What on earth is a woman card and at what point did it get easy being a woman in society? Only a woman can understand how hard it is to live in and navigate through a place and moment in time that still favors men. And for those women working in a male dominated field, the pressure and challenges are even greater. If you are too assertive, then you are labeled a b*#$h or your sexuality is questioned. If you are quiet then you may be seen as a pushover. If a man harasses you and management is alerted, it is quite possible that you could be ostracized and not viewed as a team player. No more did this ring true but in the tragic case of Fairfax County Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. Firefighter Mittendorff was reported missing the week of April 11th and after an exhaustive search, her body was found in the Shenandoah National Park where it is alleged that she killed herself.

It was discovered that Nicole was being harassed online by fellow firefighters who called her ugly names such as slut and whore, comments that surfaced even after her body was found. The Fairfax County Fire Department has opened an investigation into the cyberbullying of Firefighter Mittendorff. And let me remind you, cyberbullying is a form of harassment. Sexual comments made in cyberspace are sexual harassment. The fact that the comments are not being made to someone’s face does not diminish their impact.

Current numbers show that female firefighters represent approximately 4% of the total population of firefighters. It is a tough job and is a very difficult profession to get into. To argue that women sleep their way into these jobs is absolutely ludicrous. Furthermore, the pressure on women entering this field to succeed and to prove themselves to their male colleagues is extremely difficult. And sorry folks, I just don’t think the woman card can help you scale a 50 ft. ladder with a 150 lb dummy on your back. It just doesn’t work that way.

Be safe,

L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

Note: if you have not heard from a friend in a while and you are concerned, please check on them. You never know what a person may be going through. Let’s support and help one another out. It may prevent another tragedy such as this one. And it is okay not to know what to say. You can always direct friends and family to resources such as:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255  Samaritans 1-800-273-TALK

#womancard #womensissues #women #womeninsociety #maledominatedfields #bullying #cyberbullying #cyberbully #NicoleMittendorf #FairfaxCounty #Virginia #FairfaxCountyFireDepartment #firefighters #harassment #sexualharassment #suicide #crime #justice #reform #ljsamuel #deardiary


Cloherty, M. (2016, April 27). Investigation into cyberbullying of Fairfax firefighter to set precedent. WTOP. Retrieved from

Golgowski, N. (2016, April 27). Female firefighter’s suspected suicide sparks cyberbully probe. Huffington Post. Retrieved from







Real Talk on Domestic Violence


Chances are you know someone that has been abused. Chances are you have seen a couple argue in public.  Chances are someone has put their hands on you, shoved you, or spoken to you in a loud, harsh, demeaning manner that could only be described as verbal abuse.  However you define it, it is all abuse.  And we need to do something about it. Females are being victimized younger and younger as they enter the dating world earlier, some as early as middle school.  We do not need anymore violence against women and we do not need any more killings at the hands of an intimate partner.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, there will be a discussion on this very issue at Shaw Library in Washington, DC.  This is a free community event so come out and lend your ear and contribute on ways to combat this crime and social disease.  Bring a friend or bring a young lady new to dating or bring an older woman who is more seasoned.  We need you all there!

There will be a social hour with refreshments and an opportunity to network with other women.  Please RSVP at

Be safe,


Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213

#domestic violence #dating #violence #onlinedating #singles #singlewomen #singlepeople #DC #DMV #DCdatingscene #WomensHistoryMonth #crime #justice #solutions #dontblamethevictim #ljsamuel #deardiary