I recently viewed TV One’s, “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” and was utterly heartbroken at such a tragic tale. Blakely, now a prisoner for life, fell victim to an existence of prostitution and crime all before the age of 20. Her guilt in the murders of several men was undeniable as she was persuaded by her pimp and much older boyfriend, Dino, to carry out the heinous crimes. One might also attribute a lack of stability in her upbringing (i.e. sexual abuse experienced as a child and limited involvement of birth parents) to her demise. Whatever the case, Blakely had hit a brick wall in her teenage years as she would enter an unhealthy relationship with Dino. Blakely, now 33 years old, openly confesses the reality of how Dino actually treated her during those tumultuous times.
Unhealthy relationships reveal hard truths – no matter who the woman is – Blakely or anyone else. Far too often, the women involved in such relationships don’t recognize that what they are experiencing is actually unhealthy. Their suitor may be handsome, charismatic, and generous. These qualities usually overshadow the reality of something much deeper: abuse. Blakely, clearly a victim of such maltreatment, was well misinformed as she fell prey to the power of manipulation and coercion.
Hard Truth #1: A Shattered Identity
I’ll never forget the “gift” that Dino gave Blakely in the form of a necklace that bore an ornament of a “padlock.” Such a gift was blatantly indicative of the bondage that Dino would desire to place Blakely in as he took ownership of her identity. Who could of Blakely grown up to be without the likes of Dino? A teacher? A doctor? An actress? He had influence over her identity well before she was mature enough to learn differently.
Hard Truth #2: Lack of Self Worth
Blakely depended greatly on using her body for “gain.” Her worth was determined by how many suitors she could convince to pay her for “services” rendered. Dino deemed her worthless without the “proper” amount of revenue accumulated during her sexual excursions. Unfortunately, Dino’s thoughts of her became the norm for how she viewed herself.
Hard Truth #3: Forfeit of Freedom
How ironic it was for Blakely to “obey” Dino and his requests and not even receive his loyalty. Nowhere was he to be found when she was being tried in court for all of the crimes and murders she committed. Blakely’s allegiance to an unhealthy relationship came with a hefty price: her freedom. The freedom to develop into a woman, mother, purposeful citizen, and God knows what was stripped from her as she protected Dino from all potential charges. Life in prison was her fate as she will spend the rest of her days in the system without a chance of parole.
I began developing this resource for women at the beginning of 2017 and don’t deem it a coincidence as I share it today in light of the Falicia Blakely story. I outline ten relationship tips that are guided by practical and spiritual principles that will help women distinguish between what’s healthy and unhealthy. God surely has a response for relationships – even the unhealthy ones. Feel free to check it out HERE or share it with another woman who could use it. God bless you!
Benoit, Kevin. 8/28/17. Parlemag.com. “The Real Falicia Blakely Story – What the Film Didn’t Tell You.”