Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana the eldest of twelve children, I grew up in an emotional, physical and emotionally abuse household. While in 2nd grade, my mother met her new beau and he would turn our world upside down.
My siblings and I began a life of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. Our religion was abruptly changed, our connections to family members outside of our home were severely altered. In third grade came the separation from my siblings, followed by daily rapes committed by my mom's second husband.
Twenty-six days into my 12th birthday, I gave birth to my daughter.
When people would discover that I have a daughter as close in age to me, the knee-jerk reaction that I was fast, hot in the tail or whatever negative description they could come up with as reasons why I was a “barely” 12-year-old mother. The shame and guilt were always placed squarely at my feet.
NO ONE EVER ASKED WHO IMPREGNATED AN 11-YEAR-OLD CHILD.
Imagine living day to day with the person who raped you almost daily. Imagine after the rapes, having to brush his dentures, bring him food, lotion his legs. Imagine being forced to show him unyielding respect. Imagine laying in your bed at night wondering if he would call you out of your room. Imaging coming home from elementary school and seeing him waiting for you on the back porch wearing sandals, blue jean shorts and a white undershirt.
I lost my voice, self-esteem and many times the desire to live.
There had to be a better way!
While heading up the church’s vacation bible school, I recognized that there are others living in similar at-risk circumstances, I launched the nonprofit organization All I Know Incorporated to bridge the many gaps between government and community resources and at-risk men, women and children. Eventually, I needed to find a way to more effectively help victims of abuse find their voice, and tell their stories in an effort to inspire others. By sharing our stories of surviving and thriving, others can see that there is in fact "life after". In order to accomplish this, I created Red Petunia Productions. I then created the multiple award winning, internationally viewed talk show, Still Surviving. It has grown into a movement to include conferences and retreats that focus on mental health and emotional wellness.
It would take decades for me to come to terms with the fact that I am worthy of being loved, cherished and respected. I am now an award-winning filmmaker, producer, director, inspirational speaker, author, and humanitarian.
As a survivor of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, I am a staunch advocate for bringing awareness of childhood traumas and their global effects on society. It is my belief that when we open our mouths and speak our truths, it becomes a healing balm for both the speaker and listener.
I am currently working on the documentary "Consequence" which will take a deep unflinching look at child suicide and its effects on our global society.
I asked God to make me similar to Jesus-with the ability to heal, even from afar. And that is what I do from my many platforms.
Advocate for changes in laws, conversations and attitudes towards child abuse, sexual assault, and mental health wellness.
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