From Victim to Victor: Woman Shot By Boyfriend Shares Her Story
ATLANTA - On the surface, Lamiracle Taylor's life was pretty typical. She had a college education, owned her own hair salon, was raising her daughter as a single mom. But when things started to go wrong, Lamiracle says she felt trapped -- blaming herself for the chaos that nearly killed her.
"Someone that loved me, someone I loved, shot me." says Taylor.
That someone is Nemseio Walter, who came into Taylor's life 7 years ago.
"We were friends, he was just a really good friend of mine for years," she says.
That friendship evolved into something more in 2012, when Taylor and her then 8 year old hit hard times.
"I called him and I said, 'Hey, I'm in a situation. We're staying in a hotel, I need a place to live.' And he allowed me and my daughter to go to his house," Taylor says.
For months, Taylor says, things were good. They started the hair salon together. Then, one night in the car, she and Walker began to argue. That's when, she says, "He takes my phone, and hits me in the eye with it. My eye immediately swells up. That's the first time."
Then, about a month later, Taylor says Walter hit her again. Taylor says, "Every day, I'm in there crying. Every day he's coming and apologizing. And it's just becoming a pattern." Taylor says she tried avoiding Walter, and avoiding being in the car with him, where the abuse would occur.
Things came to a head, February 22, 2014. Taylor says she and Walker were arguing in his car, about 100 feet from the salon where her daughter was waiting. She says, "I tried to get out the car, he doesn't let me out. I bit him on his chin. As soon as I bit him, he let me go. I stumble out of the car. As I pick up my purse, he shot me."
Straight through the chest. Lying on the pavement, bleeding, Taylor says, "I really thought I was gone, I thought I was dead. Right here. It was about 3 centimeters from my heart."
Brenda Muhammad, Executive Director of Atlanta Victim Assistance, says crime victims, especially those like Lamiracle, who are victimized by an intimate partner, offer struggle with long term issues.
"Those are traumatic experiences, and they don't just go away," says Taylor.
Muhammad's office Lamiracle negotiate the justice system and get counseling for herself and her daughter.Muhammad says for kids - seeing a parent hurt - can be devastating.
"You've got children in these environments who witness this. And then they have to go to school, and they're expected to perform on the same level as other kids," explains Muhammad.
Nemseio Walter was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a repeat offender. And Lamiracle says therapy helped her -- and her daughter -- come to terms with what happened to them.
At first, she says, she thought she was to blame because she allowed herself to become involved with Walker. But counseling helped her see through situation from someone else's eyes.
"Until you sit down and really speak to somebody, there's a lot you don't know. Even about yourself. And that's what I had to learn, there was so much in me that I did not know. I felt so guilty in the situation, I blamed myself. For months, I blamed myself," says Taylor.
Not anymore. Today, she can talk about what happened without getting emotional. And she feels in control of her life in a way she hasn't felt in years.
Taylor says she doesn't like to think of herself as a victim. But, she adds,
"It's my story, it's part of who I am, and I'm going to embrace it. And I'm going to make a difference, whether in my daughter's life, or someone else."
The CDC says many survivors of physical and sexual violence and stalking -- experience long term complications like post-traumatic stress disorder. Lamiracle says therapy has helped her forgive Walter.
But she says she's learned to never put herself in the same position again.
Her message to other single parents: be mindful of the people you allow into your life.
Atlanta Victim Assistance can link anyone in metro Atlanta with resources. The agency can reached at: atlantava.org