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Domestic violence survivor organizes support group that talks, then learns to box

Support group and boxing training combined
Neisha Himes.PNG
Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 22:49:47-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - After being beaten and abused, a Chesapeake woman said she was able to escape domestic violence, using boxing as a way to help her grow.

It’s been nine years since Neisha Himes said she was last assaulted in a domestic violence situation. She said, “which was the worst and most violent of assaults, so I always think about that around this time.”

Himes escaped the volatile relationship and left the man who was abusing her.

“Boxing has been very instrumental in my journey as a survivor."

The journey started wanting to learn to defend herself and putting on a pair of boxing gloves.

“It wasn't long after leaving that abusive relationship and just saying, you know, I never want to feel like I can't defend myself,” said Himes.

Shannon Brown has been her coach for the past five years at MatchBout LLC, a boxing and fitness group in Chesapeake. He has watched Himes improve and grow her skills.

“That’s the biggest development... has probably been her mental toughness and her hand speed," Brown said.

Himes started the G.R.O.W. Foundation, an organization that helps domestic violence victims. Now, she’s combining a sport that’s helped her so much with a support group for others.

The third Saturday of every month, they will meet up at MatchBout. For first hour, they will talk and share, then get in the ring to learn how to box for the following 45 minutes.

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Related: Domestic violence survivor and advocate publishes adult coloring book to help victims

“I know that the woman that I was before I started boxing and the woman that I am now are two totally different people,” said Himes. “I think most important for survivors is just convincing yourself that you can climb in that ring, and you can stand up and you can put your hands up and you can defend yourself, and you can box.”

For more information about the upcoming domestic violence support group, email info@growfoundationva.org

Click here for more information about the G.R.O.W. Foundation.

Click here for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.