Domestic violence survivor Carolyn Thomas, coming to Trinidad to tell her story.
Surviving Domestic Violence - The Carolyn Thomas Story
OUTRAGED by the horror stories of domestic violence, author and social activist Carol Maharaj has been compelled to do what she can, to help abuse victims.
Maharaj will be hosting a symposium on July 21 entitled " Voices" at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya. She said the purpose of the symposium is to strengthen individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse as well as to motivate others to overcome daily life obstacles.
She said, " This event is designed to empower individuals to take action immediately, to seek help, to make a decision to be the victor and not to the victim." Last year August, Maharaj unveiled a mural in San Fernando to act as a memorial for missing persons.
The feature speaker for "Voices" will be Carolyn Thomas, a former victim of abuse. Her story is published on her website www.carolyn-thomas.org. She is the founder of The Carolyn Thomas Foundation and now spends her time encouraging other victims to become overcomers and survivors of domestic abuse.
This is Thomas's story.
"I was born in Midland, Texas, on July 26, 1970. Raised by my grandmother and mother. I grew up in a strong, faith environment and attended church on a regular basis. During high school I participated and excelled in track and drama.
I grew up carefree and enjoyed spending time with my friends and mom. After graduation from Midland High School, I moved to Waco, Texas. I attended a local community college.
I later decided to explore the workforce in Waco and worked various jobs. In 1995, I met the man who would change my life forever. Throughout our eight year relationship, I was caged from the outside world. I experienced helplessness, powerlessness, isolation, control, manipulations, fear, intimidation, and loss of self by an abusive partner on various levels. The abusive relationship progressed to a lethal plateau over time.
On December 5, 2003, I suffered catastrophic facial injuries when my abuser shot me at point-blank range. I was not expected to live. By God's hand I survived. I had 11 reconstructive surgeries at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas over a two year period. While recovering I discovered my purpose, to tell my story to all willing to listen." Thomas's mother was shot and killed by the same person who attacked her.
Maharaj said other speakers for the event include Margaret Sampson-Browne, manager of the Victims and Witness Support Unit of the Police Service and Fizool Haniss, a retired acting superintendent of prisons.
She said Haniss who was assigned to the Youth Training Centre for most of his career, will be speaking about the effects of abuse on children.
Maharaj said " I know that there are other agencies that deal with domestic abuse but we juts wanted to do our little part.Carolyn's face is disfigured but that does not stop her from doing what she does. It is the face of a victim and a victor. Her face tells a story. We want women to be able to get over the trauma of domestic abuse. We want to show women that they can be a conqueror. There are so many others, who cry and die in silence."
Maharaj is the managing director of Care One Consultants Services.
Tickets for the symposium cost $300 and can be bought at any Francis Fashions Shoelocker outlet.