Brooke Axtell's own story - and the heartbreaking
and stunning way she tells it - helps give voice
and hope to all other victims of abuse
and human trafficking.
Brooke's own story and voice rang
out across the globe in her appearance
on The Grammy's with Katy Perry in 2015 -
where her gifts as a writer, poet and activist
stunned the world:
"After a year of passionate romance with a handsome,
charismatic man, i was stunned when he began
to abuse me. I believed he was lashing out because
he was in pain, and needed help. I believed my compassion could restore him, and our relationship.
My empathy was used against me.
I was terrified of him, and ashamed I was in this position.
What bound me to him was my desire to heal him.
My compassion was incomplete - because it did not include me.
When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape.
I revealed the truth to my mom, and she encouraged me
to seek help at a local domestic violence center.
This conversation saved my life.
Authentic love does not devalue another human being.
Authentic love does not silence, shame, or abuse.
If you are in a relationship that does not honor and respect you,
I want you to know that you are worthy of love.
Please reach out for help. Your voice will save you.
Let it extend into the night, let it part the darkness,
let it set you free to know who you truly are -
valuable, beautiful, loved."
View Brooke's Grammy appearance address:
Since then, Brooke founded SHE IS RISING,
to provide a healing community for survivors
of rape, abuse and sex trafficking.
Brooke herself was trafficked by her nanny when she
was 7 years old. And this experience made her more vulnerable
to experiencing domestic violence later in life, she explains—
a major risk factor for entering abusive relationships
is sexual abuse before the age of 18.
"I founded SHE IS RISING because I believe in
the unconditional worth of women and girls
who face the trauma of violence and exploitation,"
Brooke says. "I believe in their dignity, resilience,
creativity and vision for the future. SHE IS RISING
empowers survivors to become leaders."
Join Julie Ann and Brooke as they explore the ways we can all help inspire young women to reclaim their worth
and express their power to create a more compassionate world.
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