Local News

Domestic violence survivors talk with teens at St. Augustine's College

Posted July 14, 2010 11:25 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2010 9:41 a.m. EDT

— Two women who nearly lost their lives to domestic violence shared their stories of survival Wednesday with a group of teenagers at St. Augustine's Upward Bound summer camp program.

Carolyn Thomas' longtime boyfriend killed her mother and shot her in the face in December 2003. After undergoing 11 reconstructive surgeries, Thomas began speaking about her ordeal, hoping to educate others about domestic violence.

“He shot my mother first, shot her in the abdomen area and then dragged me into the living room and shot me in the face at point-blank range,” Thomas told teens in the Upward Bound program, which caters to low-income high school students from Edgecombe, Halifax and Nash counties.

DeeAnna Morgan-Alexander's husband also shot her in the face and then killed himself in front of her in October 2006.

“I might look OK on the outside, but I got holes in the top of my mouth. Sometimes I can't breathe,” Morgan-Alexander told the teens.

The women's stories of survival touched two teens in the audience personally. The young men had both experienced domestic abuse.

“It had me mature a lot faster than what I needed to, and I’m thankful for that, and I am also very thankful nothing ever happened seriously,” 18-year-old Victor Lopez said.

“Anything that has happened in my life happened for a reason, and for me to know that will help me become a better person in life, and that's the path that I want to choose,” 18-year-old Jaron Fields said.

Thomas and Morgan-Alexander said they hope their stories will influence a new generation to choose healthy relationships.

“This is the reason why I survived that,” Morgan-Alexander said.

“There’s hope and there's life after the abuse,” Thomas said.

After surviving her ordeal, Thomas founded Voices 4 All, a foundation that helps domestic violence victims. Morgan-Alexander is pursuing a degree in child psychology.