Grammy Award-Winning singer Ashanti uses her voice to get people dancing, feel the groove and party. But now because of her sister, Kenashia “Shia” Douglas, Ashanti is using her voice to talk about the dangers of domestic violence.
She was involved in a violent relationship and it was during the 32-year-old’s birthday social media post in 2020 that she revealed her battered face. Her teeth were knocked out, there was blood coming from her nose, she had a black eye, and she included video clips of her reconstruction surgery on her mouth and jaw.
The images stunned the public and at the time, 50 Cent reshared the devastating images and called out Shia’s fiancé, a man who goes by the name Slowbucks. Shia and Slowbucks reportedly dated for 13 years.
“I have a past experience with domestic abuse,” Shia told Angie Martinez. “I hadn’t spoken about it. I hadn’t communicated or even ever spoken to anyone outside of my family about what happened… It showed a lot of the real things that took place at that time. I had my teeth broken,” Shia said of her video. “I was engaged.”
Shia said that she wasn’t being abused throughout the relationship, but the last two or three years was when the violence began. Both Ashanti and the ladies’ mother were in the interview as well and their mom said she had to keep herself from going to jail. Martinez asked if it was someone who people knew and Ashanti quickly chimed in, “You know him!”
Recently, Ashanti shared pictures of her battered sister and congratulated her on being strong enough to move forward and get out of the abuse.
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“It is Domestic Violence Awareness month,” began the singer. “Words will never be able to express the amount of pain, fury and disgust I feel reliving these moments… but at the same time I am so proud of how strong, courageous, resilient and unbreakable you are. My sister is a warrior! I love you deep and infinitely. Thank you for being so brave and bringing awareness to this evil, vile and sad behavior that so many women face every day. You did it! You won!”
“Some women feel so scared that they have no way out… by sharing your story you bring hope, strength & continue to raise awareness for Domestic Violence. God continues to bless you every day as you grow, prosper… and walk in your purpose…your heart, mind and conscience are clear…you will get back EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE!!! The universe always wins! So continue to hold your head high as the sun. I’m so excited for this next chapter of your life. @wifeofcreation is only the beginning! Im here by your side always and forever with whatever against whoever! Loving you infinitely.”
Shia also shared more on the images earlier that same week.
“I thank GOD! My anscestors, angels and guides for pulling me through this Warzone alive,” Shia wrote. “It was Toxic, and it was dangerous not only for obvious reasons but also because to the outside world everything seemed fine.. but those closest to us knew! But didn’t know how to help, It got to a point where the abuse was regular behavior, and I would fight back pick up whatever I could to protect myself.. truthfully lots of us have grown up in toxic environments where the adults around us argue or fight to which we seem to normalize.. this starts the beginning of our inner child wounds and Or traumas… I didn’t have a normal childhood, and although my parents were together the circumstances of our family dynamic had me strongly wanting to do things a different way with my own family.. My undying loyalty and strong desire to create my own family had me accepting things I never should have.”
“I’ve been Punched, spat on, strangled, pushed to the ground. And been threatened with a gun”
“I look at these pictures and I hold grace and patience for the woman I was and everything she didn’t know! I love her and thank her for her role in my journey. I don’t consider myself a victim or a survivor, this is all a part of my story, my life and my journey…”
“This post is for any woman or man who has yet to truly recognize the power they possess, and finds themselves in a environment that is unhealthy, please know if they’ve done it once they will do it again.. it is inevitable! 💜 @wifeofcreation”
“This was 11.27. 2018 changed my perspective on life and changed my whole entire life forever.”
“My 8,9 teeth were broken in our last fight those 2 teeth are directly connected to the womb. Even while I was pregnant my ex use to say ‘that’s why you can’t even have kids’ I promise you! I will and they will be beautiful and nothing like you or what you come from!”
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Domestic Violence & Black Women
Unfortunately, Shia’s story is more common than you think.
According to the 2010-2012 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nationally, 45% of Black women experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The same survey found that 40% of Black men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/ or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
According to the 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, approximately 41% of Black women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime compared to 31% of White women, 30% of Hispanic women and 15% of Asian or Pacific Islander women (Breiding, 2014).
A study with a sample of 1,545 African American and African Caribbean women, found that about 40% of the sample experienced Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) sometime in her life and about 27% experienced Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in her lifetime. For the purposes of this study, IPV was defined as a pattern of physical and/or sexual assault or threats of assault from a current or former intimate partner within a context of coercive control and IPA was used as a broader term that includes psychological and emotional abuse. Consistent with prior research, having children, being younger, and having a locally born partner were correlated to recent experiences of IPV.