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This article contains graphic images and discussion of domestic violence.
Speaking out about domestic violence is an incredible act of bravery. It is a relief to be reminded that sometimes such honesty is rewarded not with victim-blaming but with generosity.
On Saturday, photographer and singer Darrian Amaker posted a video to the Facebook page for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Amaker’s video is not an urgent call for help, but rather a testament to survival through song.
“A few days after Thanksgiving this past year, my love went straight psychotic and beat me brutally for 10 hours,” wrote Amaker. “He had planned it out; I was supposed to die. I survived or escaped, whatever you want to call it, and spent four days in the hospital, eyes swollen shut, wondering why, wondering why.” She added that her former partner is now facing six felony charges.
One way Amaker is dealing with this trauma is through singing a song about her survival from what appears to be her hospital bed. “I don’t generally record videos of myself but it was the only thing I wanted to do in the hospital,” she explained. “I insisted—it felt important and a small triumph to make something, salvage anything from my shipwrecked heart.”
In the days since the video was posted, it has been shared over 600 times. And beyond the shares, likes, and words of encouragement, her video has inspired deep generosity.
Amaker wrote on her Facebook post that her facial bones were bruised so badly that her face is half an inch wider than it was previously. Yesterday, Mandi Edwards, the executive director of Face Forward, wrote a comment on her post offering help. Face Forward funds reconstructive surgery for survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and other violent crime, and Edwards made sure that Amaker knew that these services would be available to her as well.
“Darrian, though I don’t know the full extent of your facial injuries, if Face Forward, Inc. can assist you with any surgical, needs, please know we are here to help,” wrote Edwards, encouraging Amaker to contact her directly with questions.
In an email interview with the Daily Dot, Edwards expressed a wish that Amaker or someone she knows reaches out to them. “We do a lot of outreach with other non-profit organizations to help connect with victim survivors as well, but sometimes through the help of social media or press outlets we are able to connect with potential patients directly,” she said.
Even if they are unable to connect, Amaker’s video created a strong and powerful impression on Edwards. “Her words and song were chilling… but they resonated of a true survivor!” she continued. “The fact alone that she felt empowered enough to make the video and post it so publicly spoke volumes of her strength and courage.”
Amaker has not responded to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. However, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a statement on their Facebook page earlier today.
“We know very little about Darrian, but her sad and courageous voice touched us as she sang with beautiful and heartbreaking knowledge of abuse that no one should ever have to endure,” read the statement.
If you fear that your safety is in jeopardy due to an abusive partner, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline immediately: 1-800-799-SAFE.
Image via Facebook.com/Darrian Amaker
Carrie Nelson is a writer and documentary filmmaker. Nelson’s reporting for the Daily Dot focused on LGBTQ issues, feminism, and internet culture.