Loren's Badass Chick: Erica Cole

Domestic abuse survivor and women's advocate.

October 5, 2018
Loren's Badass Chick

Erica Cole

As we kick off October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I'm proud to highlight this week's Badass Chick Erica Cole, a domestic abuse survivor and women's advocate. 

Erica and her (now ex) boyfriend dated for five years, and she'll be the first to tell you that she fell for his romance and wooing. Everything, she says, moved very quickly from the beginning but when they moved in together, everything changed. She faced mental abuse over and over again until one year ago when the relationship ended with him physically hurting her after a night out celebrating her birthday. In an instant, Erica lost her home, some friendships, and even her job. As she says, she became a professional couch surfer until she found herself a new job and got back on her feet. 

As is so common with victims of abuse, the idea of speaking out and bringing charges against your attacker seems nearly impossible, especially if they're powerful and well-known in the community like Erica's ex boyfriend... but she did it. She brought charges, went to court against him and even had the courage to face him in court and give a statement. She remained outspoken in the media regarding his partnerships with the city of Portland, Maine, and affected real change within the community. (Read Erica's powerful letter here. Within a few days it had reached over 50,000 views and over 8,000 shares on Facebook. She was invited to speak with the Mayor and the City Manager, which culminated in a re-vote/different decision regarding the city's contract with her ex boyfriend's company). 

Her ex boyfriend ended up taking a guilty plea despite still publicly declaring his innocence, and now one year later, the incident is set to be wiped off his record. But Erica is focusing on the positive. She said that she went from crying every day to now being in a relationship with a man who respects and loves her, and the most phenomenal thing about her whole experience is that she was able to find her voice. Which reminds me of a quote that I hear every week at yoga: "of all the things we have in life to fear, please don't let the sound of your own voice be one of them." Erica certainly didn't, and I know she's a beacon of hope for many survivors of assault. 

Loren's Badass Chick of the Week highlights local women and girls giving back to the community, following their passion and/or breaking stereotypes. If YOU have a Badass Chick you want to see highlighted, email [email protected]!

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