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"These women are survivors and have overcome the odds against them. Applaud them for their strength and tenacity. We certainly admire these women greatly for their courage." - Courtney, Speak Cosmetics Founder

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Every story is different, no set of circumstances is exactly alike but there are certain commonalities. When people share the 'red flags' they saw we hope it may help others who may have similar things happening in their lives become presently aware of what's happening. Even more than that, we hope when people see that they are truly not alone they can be inspired to act. That action often begins with Speaking. Speaking out when something is not right. That is what these stories are about. 

These stories are meant to inspire others to Speak out. No more shame or stigmas but action to combat the violence.

We want others to know you are not ALONE!  As we sat and talked with all of these women and let them share their stories some admitted to never talking about their story. They never had a forum or didn't feel like they could share.

Each story is guided by three big picture questions and then there are updates to share how they are now.


What would you tell yourself, looking back, while you were in it?

What was it that helped you finally leave your abuser?

What would you want to tell others that are in a similar situation, or know of someone who might be in it?

**Some names and details may be modified at the request of the interviewee.



Courtney's Story - LOUD 



I chose my story to be LOUD since I wanted a platform to share my own experience as well as offer a place where others feel comfortable to share 

I would first like to offer my younger self a hug. I would saturate my mind with truth. I lived with someone named fear and fear is a lie. Looking back, I would like to offer myself the power wheel (see resources page for diagram) and let the signs sink in deep, to be honest with myself about what was taking place. I should never have ignored the early signs of verbal abuse and the anger that he displayed by breaking anything in sight when he was upset. My story ended up being on the news, so everyone knew what happened to me and this time I was being held accountable, for staying alive and leaving this man. 

I had such an overwhelming sense of community from my friends and family who were there for me. Hope Alliance is the crisis center where I received counseling after leaving, they were incredible giving me the space to help me heal and trust myself again. I offer this advice, reach out for help, there are powerful resources out there for free! Telling at least one person is not weak, it’s the strongest thing you can do, speaking up takes courage and could be the thing that saves your life or another.

Today I am married to a man that is helped me launch SPEAK and I cannot be more grateful for him and I thank the Lord for him every day and he says the same about me. Our admiration and love for each other continue to grow daily. Our foundation is based on our Faith and we believe in showing each other the type of love that God showed us. With a toddler son and a preteen stepson, we work hard to show them the type of love that genuine, honest and unconditional so they can love in this way as well. Our hope is that many lives will be touched by this message, product, and movement and will know they are not alone. We love you. 




Katie's Story - BOLD


Katie wants others to know no matter how bad or difficult your story may be, your story might relate to someone else.

As Katie shared her story her BOLDness struck me in that she was not afraid to go into the details of what had happened to her. Katie’s heart yearns for those who may feel like they are waiting for someone to tell them this is not your fault.  “You never have to have someone release you from your situation. It’s ok to give yourself the green light.”

Katie’s faith is a huge part of her life and while she wanted to do what was right, looking back she would have left a lot sooner, but she shared with me that she felt like she needed to have someone tell her it was time to leave. “I waited on my pastor to give me the ok to leave so I did” While she recommends guidance in the situation, it’s ok to leave the situation while you seek guidance.

Katie wanted to make sure those who have not been in an abusive situation to understand, “The comments that other people make, stick like glue. It’s never ok to say things like, well what did you do to provoke him?” Words are powerful, educate yourself on how to help a friend, co-worker, or family member.

Today Katie is happily married for over 10 years with 3 boys. She has a great appreciation for her marriage and for her husband, whom she does not take for granted.  After going through what she did she has a newfound perspective and deeper understanding of what love is.

"I don't feel harmed by my experience, I feel stronger and am always happy to use my story to help someone else. Life isn't supposed to be easy so if that's something Jesus walked me through for my purpose, I'll be forever grateful for it." 




Jane's Story - LOVE

“It’s amazing how quickly people come together to help when you reach out.”

 In hindsight, Jane said she wishes she would have given herself permission to talk to someone sooner—someone who could have given her more insight—someone on the outside looking in. There’s a long list of red flags she could share now. She had heard too many times: I’ll never hurt you again, I was just drunk, I don’t remember doing that, I’ll change, I’ll get help, you’re crazy, you’re too strong and proud, it didn’t happen, stress from the relationship made me do it, you’ll never find anyone to love you more than me, you can’t afford to leave me, I can’t go on without you, I want this family to work, I only moved you away with my foot, I didn’t kick you! I’ll snap your neck, Baby, please …


When Jane found out she was pregnant she vowed to her unborn child to break the cycle of violence. The love growing inside of her was too powerful to stay in such a dangerous situation. And as expected, the day came when she had to keep her promise. It was the last time he would hurt her. Jane reported the abuse to the police and called her family. There was no judgment like she had feared. Her family came together to support her and her son with no hesitation. Her sister contacted a locksmith and paid for all the locks to be changed. Her mother and youngest sister drove 3 hours to be there when the police arrived to escort her abuser and his personal property off the premises.


Jane wants other women to know there is support: shelters, hotlines, local churches and community centers, your best friend, your mother, your sister, your brother, your dad, your local police department. Telling one person might be the support you need to render the courage to leave.

Today Jane's focus is mirroring for her son what love and respect are in all relationships with people. She talks with her son about kindness and tolerance, self-respect, understanding the balance of friendship, and what to do if someone is hurting him or someone else. Keeping this in the forefront of her mind has helped her remember what she deserves too.  Jane said that her son giggles when she calls him her hero. He really has no idea how powerful love is yet. After three generations of family violence, she is confident she has broken the cycle. Love really does conquer all.



Amber's Story - LIFE

Amber would have reminded herself that her family is her LIFEline, to not shut them out. That anyone who asks you to do otherwise does not have your best interests at heart. Things that don’t feel right usually aren’t, listen to your GUT!

Amber chose LIFE After an unlikely event of her abuser displaying his true colors in front of others, the horror and shock by her tribe was ingrained in her mind, when she made the decision to leave, it took 30 seconds of her calling her dad that saved her life and is forever grateful for her bravery in those 30 seconds.

Amber is very vocal about not being ashamed. Being ashamed could end up keeping you in the situation much longer than you should be and could end up killing you. She also wants others to know not to judge the victim, you cannot imagine what a person goes through when their entire spirit is broken. Lastly for the victim to know you are not alone, there is nothing you did to deserve to be treated like this.

Today Amber is happily married to one of her dearest friends whom she met in college. They have a beautiful daughter named Kinsley and a puppy named Lilly together. She truly feels God has blessed her with her happily ever after. Her road was treacherous, but it was hers and as she has learned and will continue to learn, so much on life's wild journey. She is a stronger woman and a girl mom because of her journey. 



Worthy's Story - GRACE

After carefully choosing her words, Natalie Renee-Worthy-said she would like to tell her younger self, “Real love isn’t hurtful. Real love is rewarding. No expectations are too high for the right person who is willing to climb leaps and bounds to meet them. You deserve to be loved the way you dream of being loved.”

Natalie Renee shares how important it is If you are in an unhealthy relationship don’t avoid leaving because you’re scared to be alone. From any circumstance find a purpose for your pain and what you want to learn from it. Make that your new focus. Last but not least give yourself GRACE in the process of healing.

While thinking about the day that Natalie Renee left her abuser she states, “The choice to leave was not easy. With verbal abuse, the pain is not physical, it was mental. So it was hard for me to see what this relationship was doing to me. I decided to mark a calendar that had all of the days I cried in my relationship. The fights and the times my son was around. This helped me see through my own excuses. I told myself that if I’m going to cry every day I would rather cry as a single woman who is learning about herself than cry in a relationship that was holding me back from happiness.”

“Today as I reflect on my past, I'm grateful for all of the highs and embrace the growth that came from the lows. After I left my abusive relationship I was always told that my standards were too high and I had unrealistic expectations for how I wanted to be loved. I spent many years single and lonely because of that mentality. But I'm so glad I did because I learned so much about myself and took back control of my happiness. So after years of high hopes and heartache, I not only fell in love with a great man, I fell in love with myself .” Natalie Renee-Worthy



 Laura's Story - Honor

What would you tell yourself, looking back, while you were in it? 

Not only will you get through it, there is so much joy ahead of you.  What is ahead of you is more amazing then you could possibly imagine. Being 10 years removed I can think about my story clearly, not with the haze you feel right now when you are  in it and while I personally cannot go back in time my hope is someone presently will read this story and take action in their own situation. 


What was it that helped you finally leave your abuser?

I found my passion in cosmetics.  I realized that if I could set and accomplish my own professional goals while encouraging and leading women, I also had enough strength to leave for good. So I set a goal for myself to leave and I made it happen. I also had a support system in place that helped me in my time of need.

What would you want to tell others that are in a similar situation, or know of someone who might be in it?

If you are experiencing ANY type of abuse, getting out of the situation is crucial. The abuse will not only persist, but it will get worse. Leaving is painful, and it will seem like the hardest move you have ever made, but your life depends on it. Not just your physical body but your mental, spiritual and emotional well being.  You do have a purpose outside the abuse, and there are people and resources available to support and encourage you, especially if you feel you do not have a good support system. Once you breakaway you will find a life more amazing than you could have ever possibly imagined. 


Natalie’s Story - HEART

What would you tell yourself, looking back, while you were in it? To absolutely listen to your gut feelings! To listen to your family and friends and to not be afraid to stand up for yourself and protect you and your mind, body and spirit as well as your child.  I would say to be kind to yourself and know and remember this isn't just about you, it's about what your children see too.  Luckily, my experience was a fast and furious one, but still too long to have gone through that.  I would say that you can't change people or even help those who don't want it. These people truly thrive on intimidating people.   GET OUT and save yourself!

What was it that helped you finally leave your abuser?

When I saw 3 holes punched in the wall and thought “that could have been me!”  I knew that if he could damage something like that so easily, it was only a matter of time before it would be my face.  I couldn't take the yelling and him trying to take everything away from me and deep down inside, with my faith, I knew that I was not supposed to be there.  I knew my journey was to raise my child in a better, safer environment and SHE was the reason I did not need to be there.  I knew and believed that God had a better plan for me and my child.  I knew that seeing those holes in the wall was a sign from God that it was only a matter of time before I was the target and when you ask God for that sign, HE gives it to you and I knew those holes (those empty spaces) was the sign for me to save my life!   

What would you want to tell others that are in a similar situation, or know of someone who might be in it?

I would tell them to run, run as fast as they can!  To leave everything behind them and save themselves and their children if they are involved.  I would tell them that they are so loved and that there is a better world out there for them and that one day, they will see that.  I would tell them that I love them and that God wants our lives to be better and free of that stress and anxiety.  I would tell them to seek counseling and that they are not alone.  There are so many resources out there to help those in this situation and there are so many people really willing to help!  Pray!  Pray hard but also remember that only you can make that change, not only to leave your situation but to pray that God heals your broken heart and leads you to the place you belong.  You will learn how to read the signs, see the red flags and remember that you are worthy of so much more!


Migdalia’s Story - BRAVE

What would you tell your younger self looking back?

Oh Mig, you should not put of with anyone that doesn’t love you, cherish you and respect you for who you are, Give yourself time getting to know the person that might change your life forever, because this person and their actions will affect and mark your life and your loved ones forever. `

What helped leaving your abuser? 

I was deceived by a predator.  Signs were all around me, but I suppressed my inner voice that kept telling me something was off. The high felt so high, which held me hostage from the reality of how low the lows could be.  Eventually he became my worst nightmare. After waking up in the hospital after reconstructive facial surgery I had the community and connection my abuser was trying to isolate me from. Once I was isolated from him it was even more clear, don’t allow yourself to almost have your life taken from you before you take action. Reach out, tell someone, even if it feels scary and your not sure about your first step. I speak about my story to other women who are at a local crisis center, I’m a believer in the resources that are available, get help!

What would you tell others that might be facing a similar situation? 

The little things that make you feel uneasy, listen to that feeling. It could be as simple as when I met my abuser, he took my hair out of my bun and told me I should always wear my hair down, that my hair should not be hidden. This was the beginning of him trying to control me, to see what he could get away with. It made me feel uncomfortable and that was our first date. Don’t ignore your inner voice. Life can be difficult, but it doesn’t matter the circumstances be brave, be strong and courageous, trust our Lord, our God, He will open doors and people, to help you regardless of the situation,of what might seem impossible because He is able!




Staci’s Story - SPIRIT

During the time that I was living the experience with my abuser, I remember telling myself these things in my head: “Don't say anything about who I spoke to today or what I spoke about. Stay still or he will kill me. Keep calm and still when he is breaking things. He is going to kill me or my children. Don't fight back. Just pretend I am asleep. Get out now! Run away! Hide your phone or he will break it. This is going to happen again. More red roses? Nobody else will want me. I don't want to burden my friends, they've heard enough. I am a failure and a horrible mother.God, please help me.”

What would I tell myself if I was there with the abused younger me during a violent episode?

You are so strong and loved by so many.  You need to listen now with your mind and not your heart. You and your children are going to become stronger and survive. I know that this seems overwhelmingly hard and you believe that it is easier to just stay and try to fix him, but you cannot. He needs special help that you cannot give. You and your children will heal from the wounds and become stronger each day that you are gone. All the things that he has told you about yourself are not true. You are smart, beautiful, fun, talented, amazing and will truly be loved without being abused one day. Start now, don't wait because you and your children will only get weaker and weaker until you will not have the strength to get out. You are the only person that should be in control of your life. Get up on your feet and get out now, before it is too late.  There are not enough roses in the world that will heal the wounds that he has caused you and your children You alone are worth it!

What was it that finally helped you leave your abuser?

 One of the Police Officers that worked with my abuser said to me during my abuser's investigation to, "get out now!" He waited for me to pack a bag and escorted me out of the house. I was court ordered to go to domestic violence classes, where the counselor told me, " You and your children are the victim's, you need to leave immediately!" She helped me to realize that my house or things were not as important as mine and my children's lives and wellbeing.  She said to me,"if you don't leave, CPS will make your kids leave."

What would you want to tell others that are in a similar situation?

 It only gets better temporarily, your abuser will do it again. There are so many resources to help you and the last would be, your friends and family want you back to being YOU again and being happy and healthy! I am thankful to be a survivor of domestic violence. Although I don't forget what happened, the pain is almost completely gone when talking about it now. 


I also survived Courtney's abuser. She was the wife after me. He is now on his next victim. May God help her and keep her safe!



Nancy’s Story - POWER

What would you tell yourself, looking back, while you were in it?

“I would first go back to young me and promise her that everything will get better! I would say , there is more to life than abuse, fear and powerlessness. From the beginning of my life memories, all I knew was abuse. So when I met my abuser at just 16 years old, his manipulation, threats and abusive behavior were normal to me. There is life beyond abuse when you reach out for help, you learn to love yourself and you find your voice.”

What was it that helped you finally leave your abuser?

My son, Elias. At 19, after finally leaving my abuser and desperately wanting a better life, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. The odds were against me, I was without a job, I had no support from anyone and the father of my child was now after me. Becoming a mother gave me a strength that I never knew I had, I stood up for myself in ways I thought were not possible. I allowed myself to feel angry, to yearn for justice after living a life filled with injustice, and I vowed that my son would never live in fear the way I did. I vowed that although I could not yet provide everything I would want to give him, I would fight, live by faith and work hard. I learned to love myself for me so I could set an example of love for my son. I went and filed for a protective order and was given protection until my son is over the age of 18, I took back my power and obtained full custody. After this fight, I allowed myself to heal, to hurt and to want more. And today, I am proof of more to life than abuse. 

What would you want to tell others that are in a similar situation, or know of someone who might be in it?

As someone who works in the field, I have had the opportunity to help those who were in situations like mine. I remind my fellow sisters (and brothers) that there is power in loving yourself, in educating yourself and so much power in learning to say no. Part of breaking those chains from my abuse was taking back my power. I would tell him or her to take back your power when you are ready because we all know our situation better than anyone else. Love yourself enough to want more, this is not how it has to be. When you are ready, get help and if you are just getting into this relationship, listen to your heart when you feel fear, if you have doubts and are unable to say no. This is not love, this is power and control, give yourself permission to want more, to experience true unconditional love and to live free.