Why the Death of a Pulse Massacre Victim Tore Her Family Apart

Season 4 Episode 423
Aired on 06/07/2017 | CC tv-pg
When a gunman opened fire on people at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, some terrified clubgoers hid in bathroom stalls while others ran for their lives. Twenty-one-year-old Tiara, however, froze. Tiara had been at Pulse that night with her younger cousin Akyra and her friend Precious, both of whom actually made it out of the club during the gunman's rampage. When they realized that Tiara was not with them, both women went back to get her. That's when all three women were shot, and Akyra was killed.

In the months since the mass shooting, Tiara has struggled to process her survivor's guilt. What's more, her family has become fractured since Akyra's death, with the young woman's parents blaming Tiara for their daughter's death.

It's a notion Iyanla challenges. "Did you take an automatic rifle and open fire?" she asks Tiara.

"No," Tiara says.

"So, what is it inside of you that thinks that you are responsible?" Iyanla asks.

Tiara's mother, who is sitting beside her during the conversation, attempts to answer: "She feels like, had she would have got out of the club, Akyra would have survived."

"You don't know that to be true," Iyanla says, turning to Tiara. "You're human. It was a natural response."

Watch as Iyanla talks to Tiara and her mother about the family's need to assign blame, and also shares her powerful advice for what can help them all begin to heal.

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