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After facing the harsh realities of domestic violence in her 19-year marriage, GMercyU student Tia May has been on the path to healing for seven years. A student in GMercyU’s Accelerated Business Administration program, Tia shares her journey of becoming an advocate and a student once again.
Since dropping out of college, Tia had been struggling to return to complete her education. Each time she had attempted to go back, even if it were one class at a time, her progress was stopped by her now ex-husband. Finally, Tia set up goals to assist her in getting back on track.
Tia contacted Dr. Marilyn Pendelton, a GMercyU EdD student at the time, to discuss her desire to get back into the classroom. Dr. Pendelton provided Tia with some basic information about GMercyU and directed her to Michelle Lee in admissions to get started with the process. Michelle listened to Tia’s story and offered her help, but made no promises. Tia said the process was completed within a week.
“It was a good feeling to be restored, to reestablish myself, and to get back another one of those things that was taken away from me,” Tia said.
As a minister, one of the first pieces of information Tia took notice of are GMercyU’s Core Values and the Mercy mission. She knew at first glance that her personal experience fit well with the values, but she was unsure of just how well things would fit together once she started. Tia is a huge advocate for women and children’s rights, so she was ecstatic to find a school that held the same values. The Mercy Mission and Core Values have lent themselves well to Tia and her coursework. Being able to resonate with what’s important to GMercyU has helped support Tia’s advocacy work, which she incorporates into her assignments.
Tia is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Science in GMercyU’s Accelerated Business Administration Program. She has expressed her profound fondness of the program and the scheduling.
“Ever professor I’ve had, the students I’ve interacted with so far, everything has been great,” Tia said. She has particularly enjoyed her marketing class with Professor Margaret Rakus and has described every experience as “absolutely positive”
As a survivor of domestic violence, Tia bases her school projects on her advocacy work whenever she can.
“My professors have all been encouraging. The feedback I get on the work that I do is great. I love them all and they’re so supportive,” Tia said.
In March 2021, Tia says she had a calling from God to write a book about her experience with domestic violence. Her book, Suffering in Silence, is an autobiography about surviving physical, mental, emotional, financial, and sexual violence. Tia worked with Kerri Hardy as her editor and successfully self-published her book on June 30, 2021. Hardy has her own editing business, Images Attainable, and was referred to Tia by a friend. Suffering in Silence is now available on Amazon and a few copies were donated to GMercyU’s Keiss Library.
In addition to her book, Tia has her own radio talk show also titled Suffering in Silence. She was offered the chance to do the show by Janice Providence Lucenay, who is one of the station’s producers. The two met at a Black Philanthropy Month event in Summer 2021. Lucenay is also the host of her own show, Blugh Skyy, and interviewed Tia about her book on the program. After the interview, Lucenay offered Tia a slot on the station.
The show is featured on Luv Bay, which is a Canadian-based station, and is aired every Friday night at 7 p.m. eastern time. Currently, the show reaches 110 countries around the globe. It serves as a platform to share their resources and bring awareness to domestic violence. Listeners are welcome to call in to share their own resources or talk about their own experiences. Each show features a different topic to increase awareness. Tia offers recordings of her show on her YouTube page for those who can’t listen live.
Additionally, Tia has been in contact with GMercyU’s Title IX coordinator Bob Wood about his involvement with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Wood connected Tia with a few of the organization’s members, including Mary Weasel Bear. She recently featured Cynthia New Holly, Director of the Oglala Women’s Healing Circle, on her radio show. “I try to give a platform for others to share their resources and their information for their organizations.”
After completing her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Tia plans to return to GMercyU for her Master of Business Administration. She wants to further her education by also obtaining a Master of Divinity degree. Tia recently spoke with Dr. Pendelton again, and she suggested that Tia think about pursuing a Doctorate degree in Education.
While this isn’t something she initially thought of, Tia believes that education could help with her advocacy.
“I could create educational programs around domestic violence and around the awareness of it to bring to younger people,” said Tia.
In addition to her book and radio show, Tia has created the Suffering in Silence Scholarship Fund. She partnered with an agency called the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County (DAP) to distribute the funds. She first got in contact with the agency when she needed help herself. This past fall Tia personally donated $1,000 to start the scholarship fund. The money was dispersed to four individuals who received $250 each to use for their own educational purposes. Tia plans to give out the scholarship every year and hopes for the amount dispersed to grow.
“GMercyU is part of my restoration and healing process. Now I pray that Gwynedd will help me advocate for and bring about the restoration and healing of others around the globe,” said Tia.
Be sure to follow Tia on social @tiadmay on Twitter and @SufferingInSilenceDV on YouTube.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline