This weekend, I received the 2017 Crime Victim Advocate of the Year award. I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award. On April 10th, I celebrated 7 years of speaking about my abuse for the 1st time in a public setting. So, to receive such an award at this stage of my life is a personal and professional joy.

My life has definitely had it’s share of peaks and valleys. It has been an honor to serve my community. When I spoke about my abuse for the first time, I didn’t plan on doing it again. At the time, I really just wanted to speak my truth in a setting I felt would help the attendees to talk with their children. The conference for which I chose to share was not a domestic violence conference. In fact, it was for teen girls to learn about topics related to careers, self esteem and etiquette. I chose to talk about domestic violence with the parents because adults who deal with the aftermath of abuse have often seen it or experienced it as a young child or teen. I felt it was important to have the parents think about having a conversation with their children about abuse. Acting out, being an introvert, suicidal thoughts, etc could be the result of an underlying problem with abuse.

From the moment I spoke about my life, I made friends that I still have today. I ran in the 5K Sexual Assault Race this weekend with one of them. I’m the Executive Director of Walking Into A New Life, Inc. I continue to speak and present locally and nationally about personal development, overcoming adversities and becoming self sufficient. I’m committed to help others to not see themselves as victims but as survivors. Victimization is a crime. I want to always be found being a voice for those who can’t or aren’t able to speak until they have the courage and opportunity to speak for themselves.