Emory Report
March 16, 2009
Volume 61, Number 23

Give hope
Help end intimate partner violence. Send checks made out to the Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation to:

The Tiana Angelique
Notice Foundation
314 Leo Drive
Gardner, MA 01440

You may also drop your check by the Center for Women on the 3rd floor of Cox Hall. For more information, e-mail honortiananotice@



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March 16
, 2009
Despair, some hope ripple through a tragedy

By Dona Yarbrough

During my first few weeks at Emory, I saw a presentation by Emory’s Intimate Partner Violence Working Group about the effects of intimate partner violence, or domestic violence as it’s more commonly called, on the Emory community. Although I have worked for many years in and with women’s centers, where violence against women is a primary concern, I could never have imagined how deeply this issue would soon affect the Center for Women at Emory and our assistant director, Sasha Smith.

On Valentine’s Day of this year, Sasha’s sister, Tiana Angelique Notice, was stabbed to death in front of her home by her ex-boyfriend. Tiana was 25 years old and a graduate student in the University of Hartford’s School of Communication. Tiana had worked at Hartford’s Women and Gender Resource Center. Like her sister Sasha, Tiana was an activist for women’s issues.

In many cases of domestic violence, victims don’t know what to do or who to ask for help. This was not the case for Tiana. She had a loving, supportive, and knowledgeable family and community to support her efforts to stop her abuser. James Carter Jr. had been previously convicted of assault and battery, but Tiana’s restraining order, her frequent calls and visits to the police after each of Carter’s violations of the order, and the security camera her father installed outside her home were not enough to save her life.

The day before she died, Carter called Tiana three times at work. He also wrote her a letter, which she took to the police department hours before she was killed. Tiana’s death is another example of how current laws and protocols fail people who are victims of intimate partner violence.

The pain Sasha and her family are facing is for most of us unimaginable. But the ripple effect of this violence has been felt by thousands. When I talked to the women’s center director at the University of Hartford to offer my condolences, we marveled at this effect. At Hartford, of course, where so many knew and loved Tiana, the waves of sorrow and anger have approached the force of a tsunami.

But her death has also touched hundreds across the Emory community. There have been many tears in our center for the past several weeks — tears for Sasha, who we know and love; tears for a young woman who lost her life; and tears of anger and frustration that our justice system was unable to protect this woman. The important work of the Center for Women has suffered. Our student workers and volunteers, who put forth so much effort to help women be safe and successful, are left confused and discouraged.

The women’s center director at Hartford told me that Tiana had an unforgettable, infectious smile, and she asked if Sasha had the same kind of smile. She does, I said, wondering when I would I ever see it again. Then I thought of Sasha and Tiana’s many siblings. Do they have the smile? How is the ripple effect flowing over them, their friends, their work places? How is it affecting their children, their children’s schools, their children’s playmates?

In their talk, IPV Working Group presenters Paula Gomes and Sheryl Heron noted that for the last five years, there has been at least one domestic violence death per year in the Emory community. The ripple effect of these deaths takes a great toll on our community in terms of emotional, mental and physical strain, work loss, and decreased productivity. Then imagine the less obvious — because often undetected — costs exacted from the many more members of our community who are currently in abusive relationships, ones that have not yet come to our attention.

But we can take heart that this ripple effect also brings with it some hope. My hope is that all who have been affected by Tiana’s death — even if they did not know her personally — will redouble their efforts to end this violence.

Tiana’s family has already put in motion this new ripple, this new hope, by establishing the Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation to help women with restraining orders and to prevent domestic violence. Many at Emory have already given to the foundation, and I invite the rest of you to give.

Imagine what we could do if everyone who has heard about Tiana gave something to help save the next woman’s life. For someone who gave so much to make the world a better place, there can be no better memorial.