One of the things I want to do is to be a bigger part of the community and try to make a difference. This month I want to shed the light on some unspoken but realistic things that are happening everyday around us sexual and domestic violence. As women we always try to come across as strong, capable and that we can take on anything but we all need to let our guard down at times to let people in. This is something that is very important to me and very close to home but unlike two strong women I know I am not ready to tell my story. I have recently been working with Forsyth Family Services and I wanted to share two real stories with you. Here is our first story.
First I would like to introduce you to Briana Sherrod a 27 year old mom and wife, who was raised in a typical family who raised her to be a strong independent woman who no one would mess with. But in November 2013 this all changed, she always remembered her mom "“Park under a street light in the parking lot so your car is well lite and you can see your surroundings!" which was exactly what she did, so she felt safe. But this is where her story really starts "I get about 5 steps from the dormitory entrance when out of the corner of my eye I see a man running toward me with his hood over his face. He grabs my arms and threatens to shoot me if I scream. Remember how my parents taught me to stand up for myself?...yea that all went down the drain because I froze and just did whatever this random man told me to.
We proceeded to my car where he then made me drive out into the county of an area I am unfamiliar with (this is not where I grew up I was just here to slimily get an education- but ended up meeting my husband, we were engaged at this time) he said he just wanted money from me and If I pulled down this road then there would be an ATM there. Well as I turn onto this dirt road, I knew better! He forced me to park my car at this abandoned house where he proceeded to rap me multiple times and then forced me to leave without even letting me get my pants up yet. We drove for a while until we got to an ATM where he still proceeded to rob me and Jonathan for all we have, then made me take him to the store where he bought cigarettes with MY money!
I dropped him off wherever he told me and drove as fast as I could back to the dorm where my friend was. Thank God for an off-duty cop that was on campus that night, she was also the one who held my hand during the rap kit! They found this man within about 3 hours thanks to him leaving finger prints on my cellphone! We went to court about a week later and he was sentenced to 26 years minimum in prison. That gave me a little closer but what helped me the most was my faith in God, and clinging to him because he was the only one that could’ve saved me that night! The sheriff’s department and police station worked well together for my sake and to help me with this random attack. I thank God for our officers and detectives, I feel like I have a second family now that I can count on to protect me! It took me a couple years to get where I could share my story; I think this is because I’m not one to want a lot of attention and for people to feel sorry for me. I had to realize that if I let this situation be for nothing then that man wins, and that’s what he wanted is to keep me quite and for him to get away with whatever he was trying to accomplish that night."
Since then Brianna has vowed to help others, she remains a strong, independent woman who wanted to bring awareness to other women who may have experienced anything like this. In 2014 she got married and welcomed her son in 2015, they give her a reason to fight for what is important in life. it is time to do something, this didn’t happen for any reason! She felt that "something good has got to come from this!” So she hosted a Walkin’ The Park to End Sexual Assault as her first fundraiser event and all proceeds went to Family Services for them to use in their victim’s advocate program. This year she is back at it, along with a group of close friends have created a name for themselves #WeAreFearless and they are hosting a dinner event on April 26th at 6:30 in Clemmons at The Barn at Taglewood Park! Tickets are available for purchase until April 19th.
Here are some words from her. Thank you for listening to my story and how I’ve overcame this obstacle in my life. That’s right; it’s just a speed bump, not a stop sign! Use what you’re going through or went through to help others and encourage them and it will end up helping you more than you know! If you aren’t comfortable with that or don’t think you’re ready, try writing it in a journal first to get your thoughts out then when you’re ready, start to share! I know this isn’t a domestic situation, but I still want to encourage you that you’re not alone and you can get through whatever situation you’re in!