Latosha D. Barnes

Ellen Richardson | September 20th, 2021
Latosha D. Barnes

Latosha D. Barnes

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope – Romans 5:3-4 (New International Version).
When trying to envision the bigger picture of your life or career, I imagine that few of you see yourself going through pain and feeling hopeless before becoming an accomplished professional. Although most of us would prefer that we coast through life on easy street, the truth is that no one accomplishes anything in this world without the scars to prove it. This is definitely the case for inspirational domestic violence advocate Latosha Barnes.

The founder and director of Patricia’s Place domestic violence shelter, serving Chicago’s west side and south suburban communities, knows firsthand what it is like to endure the pain and scars of domestic violence.

“My first experience with abuse occurred when I was a young girl, who experienced my mother Patricia being beaten and introduced to drugs by her ex-husband,” said Barnes. “Despite my grandmother attempting to shield me from this violence, it would not take long before I realized what was going on.”

Although Barnes hoped never to endure the kind of life that her mother, whose namesake is now a beacon of hope to the hurting women of Chicago, chose to overcome, it would not take long before her family’s history caught up to her. At the age of 20, four months after marrying her first husband and now a mother of two young children, Barnes began to experience the traumatic experience of spousal abuse.

“I had started some classes at a local junior college in South Holland and had to ask a male friend of mine, who I went to high school with, to give me a ride home,” said Barnes. “Although I told this jealous man that I took the bus home, he apparently saw me get out of this guy’s car, and when he realized that I was fearfully lying to him, he slapped me for the first time.”

Despite her ex-husband’s mother and grandmother sitting close by, neither woman decided to do anything. After attempting to walk away before the abuse got worse, Barnes would run to the woman who was always there for her growing up.

“My grandmother was very strict, but she has always been there for me, that is until that fateful night,” said Barnes. “Although I showed up to her house with my two children and carrying a third and fourth at 2:00 a.m., she told me that I had to go home – back to him and the abuse – because I was married now. This experience actually stuck with me for decades before she finally told me that she was also a victim of domestic violence.”

Barnes tries to explain how she, her mother, and grandmother stuck out relationships that would lead to broken bones, hospital stays, and multiple calls to local police. She even watched her ex-husband go after one of her daughters as she attempted to protect Barnes from yet another attack. Enough became enough, and Barnes finally got the courage to file for divorce.

“I knew that this was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done. I realized that I was stuck in a pattern started by my grandmother, and now seeing one of my kids endure her first form of abuse, God made it clear that it was time for me to walk away,” said Barnes.

After walking away, Barnes’s future of success would begin to take shape. Beginning with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, and master’s degrees in both criminal justice and addiction studies, Barnes also started to put her efforts into helping other women, men, and children escape abusive situations. “Before opening our brick-and-mortar shelter, my 501C3 community-based organization would begin as a referral source for those who were leaving abusive situations in 2016,” said Barnes. “While I dreamed of owning a shelter to help women escape abuse, for several years, it wasn’t until last year that my new husband and I were able to open an emergency shelter for up to 10 women, children, and their small pets. This temporary haven provides not only a safe place to stay but also provides clothing, food, legal counsel, and other supportive services to those who need someone to care and help them through this traumatic experience.”

Along with opening the kind of safe home that she and her family had always dreamed of, Barnes is quickly becoming a voice for the voiceless through her recently published a book, Un-Veil: Surviving Domestic Violence, a memoir and 10-step self-help activity and resource guide for surviving spousal abuse. She is also in the process of publishing her second book entitled, Pieces of My Childhood, which will share an in-depth journey of her life and will be available through She Publishing, LLC in the next few months.

“Through Patricia’s Place I have begun several domestic violence teaching and counseling programs such as the S.T.A.R. Program (Surviving Traumatic Abusive Relationships) and Purple Power. These tools allow women to learn what resources and support are available for them,” said Barnes. “We have also started a program for kids who have lived in a family of domestic violence. My goal is for women to feel the love and respect that I did not receive when I was going through this.”

This empowered woman has also begun doing her part to have local politicians pay more attention to this ongoing issue. “I have recently approached a well-known councilman about the possibility of moving National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to another month so that this cause is not lost in the celebration of another important cause.”

We are so proud of Latosha Barnes for finding her way out of the ashes of abuse and using her newly empowered voice to help others find the strength and victory necessary to overcome abuse.
To learn more about Patricia’s Place and Barnes goal to work towards the elimination of Domestic Violence against female victims, please visit their website.

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