During our online session with Her Time, we heard from a few of their speakers, and a few weeks ago, we welcomed Eboney to the blog to share her story with you; if you missed it, please take a moment to read it here. For those of you that don’t know what Her Time is, it was created by Detective Constable Anisha Parhar and Sergeant Sandy Avelar as a response to organized crime in Vancouver and its effects on women. Today, I am so excited to hand our blog over to Nikki to share her story on how she went from solitary confinement to becoming a coach for at-risk females!
Take it away, Nikki!
My name Is Nicola. I grew up in a tiny country town in England. My childhood was beautiful. My parents had little money but there was never a shortage of love. As a late teen, I moved to Vancouver Canada, where after a few years of hard work to start a new life things changed. I was always so drawn to the Glitz and Glam of the city life.
I met my ex-boyfriend through a mutual friend. I’ll admit he did already have a bit of a reputation with the ladies but he wined and dined me, spoiled me with very expensive jewelry and gifts right from the beginning. I was smitten. He would come and meet me at lunch and dinner times, almost every time we would go somewhere pretty high end to eat. “This was a lifestyle I could only dream of a year ago but now I’m actually living it” I would say to myself. The relationship grew intense very quickly, he was always visiting at work, or texting wanting to know where I was. I was a bit of a partier back then, I loved to drink, although he didn’t drink much. One night after a few drinks I headed back to my boyfriend’s apartment where an alcohol-fueled fight broke out and he hit me. This was the beginning of my nightmare.
Although I had heard rumours he was in a gang I chose to turn a blind eye. I was a little naive to the gang lifestyle coming from the town I grew up in.
The relationship grew more volatile and he became more controlling and the bruises started appearing regularly. I distanced myself from my family out of shame, I would be sent home from work if the bruises were visible. I began drinking more to try and self-medicate. My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I felt so alone inside my head.
After a public assault took place which police witnessed, there was a no-contact order placed yet somehow after a couple of months he managed to sneak back into my life. He managed to make ME feel guilty and said I had to prove I loved him. He told me I had to let him know if a certain person was ever around me and to let him know. And so I did … a few text messages one Sunday night he showed up at a bar as I was leaving. I never witnessed what actually happened but I ended up being arrested a week after and charged with two counts of attempted murder. Someone in his vehicle opened fire on an SUV leaving a string of bullet holes and shooting an innocent person just inches from their heart. I cannot tell you how sorry I am still to this day for what I caused all from a text message. Thankfully everyone in the vehicle survived.
After being arrested I was in solitary confinement for 6 weeks before I could even get a bail hearing. I was released with conditions including a curfew, having to live back with my parents and no cell phone. I was on bail for 5 years, I couldn’t travel, I struggled to gain employment after the media coverage of what happened. My name was tarnished. Over a decade later here I am sharing just a snippet of my story. I had hit rock bottom and clawed way back up. Now I am in a healthy happy relationship, I have a great job. Her Time has given me an opportunity to make some right out of the wrong I caused. I am a coach for at-risk teenage females. I will continue to share my experience and knowledge of the dangers of the gang lifestyle through Her Time. If only I had asked questions, read the signs and listened to people I could have prevented this.
Follow your gut always,