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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 19th, 2015


    Based on my book, Letters to My Sister, a lot of people  felt that they learned a lot by reading letters. Although I have not come out with book two, I have continued to write letters. Please read my letter to Nikki and know that there is help for anyone experiencing any form of abuse whether it is physical, verbal or emotional.

    Dear Nikki,

    This was a difficult letter to write, but I felt I had no choice. First, I want to say that I am truly sorry for your loss. I know that Cara was a good friend of yours. Her death was tragic, but we should use this time to pause and consider our relationships.

    My sister has always said that we have been missing the point when we talk to young people. We focus on sex and the use of condoms and when to say no. We focus on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections especially HIV infection. She says it is important to have sex education but it is equally important to have love education. WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?

    Your friend Cara thought that she was in love and that her boyfriend loved her. She thought it was love because he did not want her to talk to anyone but him. Occasionally, she could hang out with her girlfriends but she was not allowed to talk with any guy without his permission . He wanted to be her only one. Oh yes, he bought her a lot of things. I know she never lacked for anything. I know he was always saying how much he loved her. If he could not have her, no one could. He wanted to be her sole provider. When she thought about going to college, he did not understand why. He was providing everything. He felt that there was nothing college could provide that he could not. He was her main man and I believe she thought she was his main girl.

    Now look what happened. When she tried to end the relationship, he went crazy. She tried to get a restraining order and I believe she did but that did not prevent him from shooting her and then killing himself. Two young lives wasted. Nikki, what does love look like?

    I write because you have told me in the past that your boyfriend has hit you, but he really did not mean to hit you. He hit you because he was upset and you just happened to be around. You tell me he loves you but every time you ace an exam at school, he is never happy with your accomplishments. When you needed a car to travel to one of your chess tournaments, you could not find him so you forfeit the game. You did not want to take a chance and get into another person’s car for fear that he would think that you were cheating on him. You rarely go out with your girlfriends. He even has you turning against your parents. Every night he calls you and says he loves you, but is that really love.

    Nikki, I would rather have a man never say he loves me but his actions speak in such a way that the whole world knows that he loves me. I would want someone that tries his best to make me the best person that I could be and not feel threatened. I want someone who loves my family as much as he loves his family.  I want someone that does not mind me getting compliments from people, because he is confident and knows that he has the best. I want someone that when he is angry, does not ever use me as a punching bag, but can resolve his issues without violence. I want someone that also understands that we might grow apart for whatever reason and that is okay.

    I am your physician. I am not your parent. I probably need to focus on your physical health but we both know there is a powerful connection between physical and emotional health. I want to be clear with you , I am not telling you or asking you to break up with your boyfriend. I am asking you to use Cara’s death as a wake up call. A call that is asking you the following question – WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?


    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

    Every 9 seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted and beaten

    Everyday in the U.S., more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.


    For more information, please visit:

    National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224






    5 Responses to “WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?”

    1. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

      Very very important message for our girls and women. We can never talk too much about this. This is always a heart breaker for me.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Dear Chinwe,
        Thanks for your comments. We hope that our girls and women are never put in this position. Thanks.

        Dr. Ngozi

    2. chichi says:

      So sad for the loss of young lives.I strongly agree, and add that there has to be a healthy balance of body, mind and soul.
      You can’t let anyone define who you are.Words are nothing if the actions contradict it. If you are not free to be you…..then its time to let it go. And love you and know that you are loved.We are all made for more.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Dear Chichi,
        Thanks for your comments. We hope that all women can know how important it is to be loved and what that truly means.
        Dr. Ngozi

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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