In the last 24 hours, more than 60,000 people clicked on NewsChannel 3’s story about “dependa” shaming.
One of them was Felicia Brown from Texas.
She contacted our station–after seeing her own picture on TV.
“Why me, what did I do?”
Brown says she was targeted by the Facebook page “Dear Dependa” at the beginning of April, after her picture was sent in by a woman she chatted with on a Fort Hood yard sale forum.
“She was trying to sell her truck for $13,000 and her engine was broken, so I told her I wasn’t interested, and she flipped out, saying “I’m going to send your picture to ‘Dear Dependa,’” said Brown.
The next morning, a photo appeared, taken off what she thought was her private Facebook page, showing her eating a cupcake at her baby shower.
The reason they called her a “dependa” wasn’t just the weight, but also because of her tattoo—“Dear Dependa” frequently shames wives who get military tattoos when they have never actually served.
Felicia says hers is different.
“It’s a cavalry patch. It says ‘Cav Wife,’ because my husband got injured in Iraq.”
Her husband Chris is a wounded warrior, who earned a purple heart after being blown up by a roadside bomb.
He suffers from severe TBI, PTSD and memory loss…and as his sole caretaker after he was medically retired, Felicia got the tattoo in honor of him.
“It represents something my husband loved,” said Brown.
Chris himself even tried to reason with “Dear Dependa” admins.
“I went on there and posted that she takes care of me, she is not a dependa,” said Brown. “Words can’t really describe how I feel about my wife. I would have nothing if it wasn’t for her. When I met her I was getting out of the military…severely alcoholic, mixing it with my meds, looking for a way out, and she brought me back,” said Brown.
He didn’t succeed in getting her picture taken down, but Chris hopes some good comes from telling their story.
“My goal was just to bring awareness, that some of these comments are not appropriate.”