DVAM - Santresa Weldon's Survivor Story
There are two moments in Santresa Weldon’s life that she will never forget, the NBA playoffs in June 2017 and the 4th of July that same year. These dates mark the moments that Santresa’s husband — the person Santresa thought loved her the most — attacked and tortured her.
Following six months of wedded bliss, Santresa’s husband began suffering from grand mal seizures. While hospitalization and medication seemed to keep the seizures at bay, another side of Santresa’s husband had been released. After watching the NBA playoffs at a relative’s house, Santresa’s husband came home and began accusing her of being unfaithful. No amount of logic or rationale could assuage him. Santresa’s husband assaulted her for the alleged transgressions then punched her brother, who then broke her ex’s nose in defense. She managed to get her husband out of the house and tried to seek shelter in a safehouse but was turned away without a police report.
Two weeks after the attack, Santresa noticed that her husband’s medication listed side effects of paranoia and aggressive behavior — especially if mixed with alcohol. Being a forgiving woman and a woman of God, she helped him make more doctor’s appointments and checked in on his progress until she felt comfortable enough spending time with him again.
They spent the 4th of July with family, and it was a good day — until it wasn’t. Following a disagreement, Santresa awoke from a nap to “all hell breaking loose.” The cheating allegations began again with the implication that her potential pregnancy was a result of unfaithfulness. Santresa’s abuser retrieved a gun and began torturing her in an attempt to elicit a confession. He not only beat her, but also played “Russian roulette” with her, pressing the gun to various points of her head and body.
After nearly three hours of abuse, relief emerged when he received a call from his brother. Santresa seized the opportunity and screamed for help, pushing past her abuser and running out the door while his brother tried to talk him down. Santresa sought refuge at a neighbor’s house until the police arrived to arrest him.
He pled guilty and is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Houston County with a possible release date coming this January paired with an additional eight years of probation. Thanks to Marsy’s Law for Georgia, Santresa has received notifications for every court proceeding, which allowed her to write letters and read her victim impact statements whenever he came up for parole. Law enforcement was also swift in reprimanding her abuser when he tried to reach out.
Santresa is one of the fortunate ones. She survived her attacks and received prompt and compassionate care and counseling through Georgia Victim Assistance allowing her to feel safe enough to return to her home, where she still lives today.
Following more than 130 counseling sessions, Santresa considers herself not only a domestic violence survivor, but a therapy graduate. She has emerged stronger and regained her self-confidence throughout this ordeal. Her advice to others facing similar situations is to know that they’re not alone — call the police, reach out to resources; there are people who are ready to help.
While a long-time cosmetology expert, Santresa, has used her experience to expand her horizons and has put out a gospel album entitled, “Purpose in My Pain.”