Members of our speakers bureau, Lift Every Voice and Speak (LEVS) never cease to amaze and inspire me. They recently brought their powerful message of hope and recovery to the My Scars Chat discussion on domestic violence. Rhachelle Johnson, a blogger I met a few years ago at the conference Blogalicious hosted the event. Rhachelle is both a mental health and domestic violence awareness advocate. She lives in Las Vegas but has been traveling throughout the West Coast hosting these discussions. Her passion for this cause came recovering from her own experiences in an abusive relationship that left her homeless with children and deeply depressed.

“I show my scars so others know they can heal,” Johnson said.

The panel included retired corrections officer and pastor Rev. Keith J. Williams, LEVS speaker Charlene Jimerson and Crystal Crowley, a marriage and family therapy intern. Rev. Williams shared his story of growing up in an abusive household and domestic violence he witnessed while working in law enforcement. Crowley spoke on her experience treating clients who have survived domestic violence.

All of the LEVS speakers gave a different take on domestic violence and overcoming trauma. Charlene Jimerson told her story of surviving an abusive relationship, homelessness and accessing resources to aid in her recovery. Horatio Finley told the audience he witnessing his mother being abused as a little boy led to him being in abusive relationships. Community resources he accessed in adult hood helped him see he was suffering from trauma. Lillian Turner talked about loving a man in her teens who her parents treated as a son, but was abusive and controlling behind closed doors.

The three-hour discussion went by so quick. People were engaged and able to open up about their own issues with physical, psychological, financial and even spiritual abuse they witnessed a child or personally experience. Healing was addressed as well. Some shared personal information they never shared with anyone. But when people saw that others shared their tribulations, it helped them to open up.

Overall, the discussion was a satisfying turnout. The dialogue between guests was honest, engaging, and inspired reflection on solutions that could positively impact others who’ve gone through similar situations. At the end of the event, guests expressed how speeches from LEVS members impacted them.