Charita Goshay: Domestic violence shatters families

Charita Goshay

Domestic violence never occurs in a vacuum; there’s always collateral damage. Like a priceless object that has been shattered, the family in which it occurs is never again quite the same, even if someone manages to put it back together again.

In Detroit, a 6-year-old is recovering from six gunshot wounds meant for her mother, fired by her mother’s jilted boyfriend.

The only drama a 6-year-old should be experiencing right now is trying not to upchuck when she sits on Santa’s lap at the mall.

In Canton, Ohio, domestic violence has robbed four young children of both their parents. Their mother, Tracy Pleasant, is dead, and their father is in jail for it.


People who knew Tracy and her husband, Marcus, still find it hard to believe. By all appearances the Pleasants embodied their name: pleasant, church-going people and young entrepreneurs working hard to make a go of their respective businesses. Tracy Pleasant owned and operated a gourmet-chocolate and popcorn company. Marcus Pleasant was a roofer.

Nobody who knew them saw it coming, not even Tracy’s best friend, Sheryl “Dottie” Pressley, who is still “numb.”

Pressley and others who knew Tracy Pleasant describe her as deeply religious, but also determined to be a successful business owner.

“Her business was her pride and joy,” Pressley said. “She worked hard at making everything perfect. I was friends with her husband, too. He welcomed the friendship because she didn’t have a lot of friends here because she was from Steubenville.”

Doing something

We may never know just why Marcus Pleasant may have killed his wife. But Pressley is not engaging in second-guessing, blame or bitterness; there are children to look after. She’s organized a Christmas drive for the four Pleasant children, sons D’Juan, 14, and Bryien, 12; daughter Azariah, 5, and son Phillip, 2, who are staying with a family friend.

“We have to do something,” Pressley said. “We’re just asking the community to come out and help the kids to have a good Christmas. They lost both parents that day.”

When Tracy Pleasant died Nov. 27, there were no TV satellite trucks clogging up the street where she lived; no People magazine features or talking-head cable TV specials. There have been no candlelit pilgrimages to her northeast Canton neighborhood. No mountainous memorial of teddy bears and flowers clutters her doorstep.

Does our collective response to a person murdered through domestic violence depend on who does the dying? On Friday, let’s prove that in this community, it does not.

For information call (330) 454-8544.

Reach Repository writer Charita Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail: