There are few things more devastating than feeling afraid in your own home. This is especially true when someone you love is causing the fear.
Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, can happen to anyone. It affects women, and some men, of all ages, races, income levels and backgrounds.
Brooke Mobley, DO, an Optum associate director in Tampa, Florida, knows about domestic violence first hand. For five years she tried to make the relationship with her boyfriend work before realizing she couldn’t fix his abusive nature. Eventually, she left the relationship to create a safe, happy life with her daughter.
Dr. Mobley was so affected by her experience, and the statistics about domestic violence, she wrote a book, “I, Too Cry Purple Tears.” Purple is the color associated with domestic violence awareness.
Dr. Mobley wrote the book to help young women avoid abusive relationships, and to emphasize that people from all walks of life can be affected by domestic violence.
Mobley met her former boyfriend after finishing medical school. She was visiting Baltimore from her hometown of Philadelphia when she met him and they continued to communicate after she returned home. The couple began to meet up for weekend trips in different cities, and she soon began experiencing what she now knows were red flags.
“I noticed that he drank heavily, and got annoyed, not only with me, but other people,” Mobley said. “Then one trip, it started on myself, grabbing me hard, throwing things, very insecure; any thoughts of me talking to someone else set him off.”
Controlling behavior is typical in unhealthy relationships, but is often construed as love.
“It might seem good, that they want to be around you all the time, call you all the time, be with you all the time,” Mobley said. “But they are manipulating your situation. Soon they may be yelling at you, talking down to you; some may even create a physical barrier to keep you there if you try to leave.”
Mobley moved to Lake City, Florida, for a job opportunity, putting more distance between her and her boyfriend, but continued to travel on weekend trips with friends. Her boyfriend often traveled to meet her, even as she started to see their relationship in a different light.
“I recognized the abuse and was hoping the distance would make it easier to break up with him,” she recalled. Then he showed up at her door, his car packed with his belongings.
“He moved to Florida before I could break up, so I felt obligated to him,” Mobley said.
While living together, Mobley became pregnant and was more determined than ever to make it work, but when her boyfriend physically attacked her while her 1-year-old daughter was nearby in her high chair, she knew she had to leave.
In 2018, almost two years after leaving the relationship, Mobley heard about Dr. Tamara O’Neal, a Black emergency room physician in Chicago, who was shot to death by her ex-fiancé at the hospital where she worked.
Mobley made sure her ex-boyfriend was not at home when she left him, and thankfully he never stalked or threatened her. They communicated by text message and phone call, and even that eventually fizzled out. She realized how lucky she was when she learned of the similarities between her and O’Neal’s respective situations.
Along with writing a book, Mobley also started the non-profit Purple Tears, LLC, in 2022. Through the organization, Mobley strives to educate others about domestic violence, and raises money to fund organizations that help victims of domestic violence.
“My long-term goal is to open a transitional home to help survivors get it together,” Mobley said. “A lot of it is finances; financially they can’t live on their own or care for their children, so I want to help them get back on their feet, get their GED, go to college, have the tools they need to improve their quality of life.”
Brooke Mobley, DO, MBA is associate medical director over skilled nursing care in Tampa Bay, Florida, and associate medical director of North Pinellas Hospitalist Medicine for Optum Care of Florida. Dr. Mobley received her Doctor of Osteopathy from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and a Master of Business Administration from Saint Joseph’s Haub School of Business. Dr. Mobley completed her internal medicine residency and a nephrology fellowship at Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware. She has been with Legacy DaVita and Optum Florida since 2013.
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