For Strayer Master of Public Administration graduate Onicka Daniel, learning wasn’t just a passion; it was an escape. A domestic abuse survivor, Onicka leveraged her education as a means of survival and recovery. Here she shares her inspirational story.
Onicka was a victim of an abusive relationship for 13 years. Depressed, isolated and feeling hopeless, Onicka was focused solely on survival. During that time, she knew she wanted a better life for herself and her children. So she went back to school.
Finding Hope in an Unlikely Place
School became her refuge. Only Strayer offered Onicka the flexibility she needed. At the time, she was sharing a vehicle with her abuser and was “not allowed” to stray too far away from the house. Strayer’s online classes, however, allowed Onicka to continue her education from home—as she describes it, it was the “only program that worked for me and my situation.”
Onicka loved her classes. Learning became her passion. “It gave me confidence,” she says. “I knew it was something that couldn’t be taken away from me.“ Onicka successfully graduated with her bachelor’s degree, afterwards moving onto her master’s. It was during this time that Onicka found the strength and power to escape her situation.
From “Stuck” to Published Author
It was also during this period in her life that Onicka began writing. Writing was her solace, a hobby that became part of her soul. She would write stories about home and family—stories about the life she wished she had. These stories eventually became the book: “The Holiday Boys.” Published in July of this year, “The Holiday Boys”—named after Onicka’s two sons, one born on Halloween and the other born on April Fool’s Day—is a creation of teachable lessons for children. It’s been a huge hit, so much so that a sequel, “The Holiday Boys and the Tall Man,” is due to come out this month. There’s even more in the works: Onicka plans on writing more “Holiday Boys” books, and hopes that the future book series will eventually be produced as a television show.
A New Future
Onicka’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, but she credits her education for helping her discover a new path. Now she dedicates her life to others: both to her boys and to helping women who have experienced domestic abuse. A portion of all proceeds from her book goes towards helping domestic abuse victims. To help support Onicka and her mission, check out “The Holiday Boys” on Amazon.
Let’s get it, Onicka!
Materials from Strayer University Buzz Blog. Original article “From Victim to Victor: How One Strayer Graduate Escaped Domestic Abuse and Found Success as an Author and Activist” appeared Sept. 7, 2017. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.