I know October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Still, I happened to be watching Fellowship Chicago’s church service last week, and Pastor Reginald Sharpe introduced this young lady to the congregation. Once she talked briefly about her story and the app, I just knew I had to try and contact her in hopes of sharing more. So today, I am chatting with Lisa Jenkins, the Chicago native, who is the mastermind behind The Slipout app. It’s a credible software application for those who find themselves in an abusive or toxic relationship. Jenkins, 47, was in what she calls “21 years of extreme verbal, emotional, and physical abuse”. Now, she is the owner and CEO of KRA Communications, a full-service public relations firm that offers services such as content creation, event planning, and social media campaigns, just to name a few. She is a certified domestic violence advocate, author of seven self-published books; including, “How to Get The F#@% Out” and “Broken Pieces Made Whole”. She is currently in graduate school pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling and will be graduating in May.
Janet: Lisa, thank you so much for allowing me this time to chat with you. Tell us a little about yourself, your childhood.
Lisa: I grew up with both of my parents, but my dad moved out when I was 13. I was really close with my dad, so it didn’t bother me when he moved out because I knew he wasn’t leaving me. We were so close because my mom was in nursing school when I was growing up. I didn’t spend a lot of time with her until he moved out. When he moved out, she started blaming me and treating me like it was my fault because he left. That turned me into a broken child, which turned into a broken adult. I was an only child, so I just learned to be by myself, be quiet, hold all my feelings in. As an adult, I did the same thing because that’s all I knew. I met my ex; he turned out just like her. That’s all I knew, so I just easily fell right into it.
Janet: When you say that he was just like her, was she also abusive?
Lisa: No, she wasn’t physically abusive. She’s a diagnosed narcissist. Not loving, not supportive, making you feel bad about anything you’re doing, always raining on a sunny day. I was already broken, so I didn’t know that I needed to get the hell out of the relationship.
Janet: The SlipOut app is our focus, but I must ask about the abusive relationship you were in for so many years. That’s a long time. Can you tell me about it? When did it start?
Lisa: I met my ex in 1992 when I was 19. About 3 or 4 months after I graduated high school. He was my first adult boyfriend. At first, he gave me a lot of attention, but the red flags started early on (about six months in). The physical abuse started about a year later, but most of the abuse I experienced was emotional, verbal, and mental. I was one to fight back, so although there was physical abuse, it was not a lot of that.
Janet: How did you manage to get out of that situation?
Lisa: Well, some other things started happening, and once I decided to get out, I knew we (my daughter and I) only had one shot to leave. I knew I couldn’t go back to my mom. My daughter had one more year of high school, and I had a conversation with her and told her that we needed to leave. This was at the beginning of her senior year, and we kept it a secret until she graduated high school. The plans were in the works for nine months, and we left a month after she graduated.
Janet: Abusive partners make it so difficult for victims to escape relationships, and unfortunately, many survivors suffer from abuse for years. Tell us about The SlipOut app. When did you first come up with the concept?
Lisa: I’ve been out of this relationship for eight years now. The app launched on September 25, 2020, but the concept came about that previous March. I’d written books about what I went through, but I wanted to do more. I’m not knocking agencies for what they do. There’s lots of information on how to leave, but not a lot of resources on what to do afterward. The Slipout app does just that.
Janet: How does The Slipout app work?
Lisa: The app includes my story to let people know that I’ve been in their shoes. I don’t look like what I’ve been through. I wanted to tell them that there’s life after trauma. There’s a checklist of all the steps that I took to get out. It’s the steps that I initially put in my first book, but I included additional steps over the last eight years that I’ve learned.
Janet: What are a few steps/tips that you include, and what else is in the app?
Lisa: When you’re moving, don’t forward your mail. Get a PO Box. Don’t change your driver’s license, don’t change your bank address, don’t tell anyone that you’re moving. I encourage counseling through the app. People need to heal after going through that and need that extra push to move forward. There’s a 911 button in the app, so you can press it if you need immediate help. There’s global resource information in the app, no matter what country you’re in. There’s a coloring book within the app. I have PTSD, panic attacks, and anxieties. Deep breathing doesn’t help me when I’m having a panic attack or anxiety, but coloring does. There’s a calculator in the app. There’s a teen page because teens deal with domestic violence also. The app is for men and women. I can also be contacted through the app, and people reach out to me regularly. Also, there are push notifications that are sent to the users phone every day and the notification is sent at a random time of the day. I think that’s great because I may not need the encouragement first thing in the morning, but I may need that extra push in the afternoon, and it’s right on time. People will reach out and tell me that they read the day’s message and it was just what they needed.
Janet: Where can people find The Slipout app? Is there a cost?
Lisa: It’s on the App Store and Google Play. No, there’s no cost at all. I just want to be able to help others.
Janet: Tell us a little about KRA Communications. When was it established? I hear it is named after your daughter, Kayla, right?
Lisa: Yes, it is. KRA Communications has been around for several years. My background/undergrad is in Journalism, so my background is in writing. I always did resumes, cover letters, and things like that for people. As I was going through my healing process, I wanted to do a little more than journalism, and I went into public relations. KRA helps businesses and brands raise awareness by making press releases, bios, billboard placements, and mission statements, those sorts of things.
Janet: What is your SwagHer? What makes Lisa, Lisa?
Lisa: I know who I am now. For a long time, I didn’t know who Lisa was. As of right now, I am maybe four versions past the Lisa who escaped eight years ago. I am confident, I ask for what I need, I learned that “no” is a complete sentence, I learned that I couldn’t pour from an empty cup, I am unapologetically me now.
Janet: I absolutely love that! Good for you! Now, there’s KRA Communications, your books, The Slipout app, being a certified domestic violence advocate, pursuing your Masters. I can definitely see that you’re busy and a success! What’s next for Lisa Jenkins?
Lisa: That’s a good question. I really don’t know. LOL! You know I get these ideas and just start running with them. LOL! I guess finishing grad school, getting my license, just holding on to my peace. I am committed to not letting anyone or anything steal my peace ever again.
Janet: Yes, peace!! There is nothing like it!! I love it!! You’re a busy person, Lisa. What is a fun fact about yourself?
Lisa: Well, I went on my first solo vacation this past June. I went to Ft. Lauderdale. I jet-skied for the first time. It was the best thing!
Janet: Yes, I’m a solo traveler myself. I love everything about it!! How can people reach you?
Lisa: For domestic violence-related issues: email@example.com, on Facebook: The Slipout App; on IG: @theslipout. For KRA services, it’s www.lisarjenkins.com or kracommunications1 on IG.
Y’all, if you know of anyone going through a domestic violence situation, encourage them to seek help. One of those ways is by downloading The Slipout app. We must stop this cycle of abuse among teens, women, and men.
Interview Done by: Janet Downs | Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community and is working towards starting her own non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health and seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is active in church ministry, a writer, and loves music, hiking, and travel.