I was wondering if you would share your personal story of domestic violence and how you were able to get out of your situation and be the success you are today?
For me this was something that happened to me as a teenager. I went through all the emotions associated with domestic violence and finally I was able to talk about it with a friend. It was that friend who supported me and made me realize that it wasn’t my fault. I was lucky to have that friend and I was lucky to have my passion for dance. It was my options as a dancer that gave me the courage to leave my situation and to focus all of my energies on overcoming my past and not letting it affect my future.
Resources for teens:
Break the Cycle educates teens about healthy dating relationships and engages them to speak out against domestic violence. Phone: (310) 286-3383
It takes a lot of systems to help victims. Were there any systems that didn’t work for you – like, legal, law enforcement, medical, etc?
Cheryl wasn't really able to answer this question as when the abuse she endured she was a teen and many teens are unaware of opportunities and people that are there to help them. Cheryl was able to talk to friends and they were able to help her get away from her abuser and get her into a safer environment.
Articles you may be interested in:
Understanding Domestic Violence
Being on “Dancing with the Stars” has made you and your story more visible to the public eye, how have YOU been able to use this visibility to share your message with others?
Speaking publicly about being a victim of domestic violence is very new to me. It’s something that at age 26 I’m finally comfortable enough to share with people who know me and people who don’t know me but know of me. I came to realize that I have a special access to media that most survivors don’t have. And if I can use that platform to reach more people and spread awareness about the importance of talking openly about domestic violence then it’s absolutely worth doing.
Family Literacy and More is not only about reading and playing together but also Giving to Others. How can WE as individuals or families help those around us who may be in an abusive situation? Are there Do’s and Dont's we need to be aware of?
I’m not an authority on the Do’s and Don’ts to be aware of - I know what worked for me and my situation, which was talking about what was happening to me. That’s exactly why I partnered with The Allstate Foundation’s Tell a Gal Pal campaign. Talking about it made me realize that it was something that I didn’t need to be ashamed of, talking about it made me realize it wasn’t my fault. Telling my friend about it gave me the courage to change my situation and the self confidence to move on. The Tell a Gal Pal campaign encourages people to talk openly about domestic violence to increase awareness and show support for survivors. It also encourages those in abusive relationships to Tell a Gal Pal, tell someone who can help you get out of your situation because the first step to getting help is asking for it. You can go to The Allstate Foundation’s website, ClickToEmpower.org, for tips on how to start the conversation with loved in an abuse situation and other resources to help.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." --Anonymous
Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing your story and giving to others who have a need to Tell a Friend about their situation. You have helped make Domestic Abuse more of a household discussion and hopefully your story and words will help someone who needs it.
Ladies (and men too), please know that there are resources out there to help you protect yourself and your family from abuse. Please talk to a friend, your pastor, a co-worker - or anyone you think may be able to help you. For more information about abuse, please go to "clicktoempower.org" for help.
In closing I would like to share this list of organizations that may be able to help you escape an abusive situation from Women Against Domestic Violence.
Help is available 24 hours a day by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline telephone number at 1–800–799–SAFE (7233). (Or call the hotline's TTY number at 1–800–787–3224.)
Click to Empower Resources
Food Banks: Food Stamps Program