OCTOBER 10 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS EVENT
On Thursday, October 10th, Rochester Woman Online had an incredible THINK PURPLE event and panle discuss for Dmestic Violence Awareness at the Rochester Wedding Barn and Events Venue in Rush.
The over 2 hour panel discussion featured DV survivors or “victors” as they called themselves, moderator and appelate parole attorney and Diva #1 for RWO, Cheryl Kates, Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley and our truly inspirational Key Note Speaker, Maisha Beard just to name a few.
I wanted to take a moment and showcase these amazing panelist in case you couldnt be there with us. It truly was a night of inspiration and strength and true “victors”!
CHERYL L. KATES, ESQ.
Cheryl L. Kates, Esq., attended Syracuse University College of Law, graduating in 2002. She also has a Bachelors Degree from St. John Fisher College in Political Science.
Cheryl completed her Masters Degree in Public Administration from Walden University. She is currently a Licensed Practical Nurse and has been since 1990. Cheryl has completed the requirements for a certificate in Investigative Criminal Profiling studying with renowned Criminal Profiler Pat Brown.
Cheryl is the former president and co-founder of Edge of Justice. This was a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advocacy of inmates. The NFP was dissolved in 2007. She also served as the Interim Director of the NY Civil Liberties Union in Syracuse, NY, on a volunteer basis.
After becoming an attorney, she continued on with the organization as part of the legal team in both Rochester and Syracuse, NY. Ms. Kates is formerly a professor of law at Bryant and Stratton College and Rochester Business Institute teaching paralegals.
In 2004, Cheryl L. Kates, Esq., received the Martin Luther King Drum Major of Justice Award from the Statewide Coalition of Families of Prisoners for her outstanding courage, commitment, and leadership for advocating for inmate families. This is an award that she values dearly.
Cheryl L. Kates is also the editor of Rochester Woman Online. She is a print ad and runway model. Her duties at the publication include marketing, live reporting, creative direction and runway coordination.
Additionally, she is also a promoter in the Hip-Hop genre in her spare time.
A licensed cosmetologist and educator of 28 years, Maisha Beard has become a well-respected entrepreneur within the Rochester community. She has coached and trained other cosmetologists so that they may become successful stylists and business professionals in the beauty business industry. A woman of great compassion, empathy, strength and a continual willingness to serve, Maisha utilizes her gifts of poetry and inspirational speaking as a way of reaching those who may share similar life experiences.
Maisha pursued higher education and earned a Bachelor of Science in English/Creative Writing from The College at Brockport in May 2018, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English/Creative Writing. She is also an Urban Fellow/Graduate Intern at the City of Rochester’s Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Education Initiatives. Maisha’s goals include: becoming a college professor, writer for major publications, and speaking and inspiring audiences around the world.
Some of Maisha’s volunteerism includes: Mayor Lovely Ann Warren’s “Inspiring Women” event where she mentors young women between the ages of 16-21 on career choice, goal attainment, and intrinsic motivation, panelist for the “Cool Women-Hot Jobs” mentoring program at the Young Women and Girls Charter School, the Genesee Valley Women’s Foundation, “Voices of Experience” after-school educational program, and an inspirational speaker for REOC’s cosmetology department. Maisha also speaks at events that bring awareness to Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer.
Maisha’s dedication to the prevention of Domestic Violence is due to her childhood experiences. Growing up in a household fueled with poverty, drug/alcohol addiction, and domestic violence, Maisha found herself defending her mother from her father as early as the age of 12. During those horrific times, she developed childhood depression, and low self-esteem.
Inspiringly, Maisha’s mother escaped the violence of her father and began the healing process. Maisha’s father ultimately checked himself into a rehabilitation program in the 1980’s and as of now, he has changed the lives of over 10,000 men in the California jail system. Dr. James Beard, a former batterer, has dedicated his life to DV prevention and travels around the world speaking and educating as a Domestic Violence Intervention Specialist. Maisha’s mother is a Nurse and has dedicated her life to serving her community.
One of Maisha’s missions is to speak about how DV affects children, by sharing her family’s story of trauma, redemption, and healing. Her brand, “Mai’ Musings” is where Maisha offers her expertise as a writer, speaker, and author. Her mission is to help people, specifically women, synergize life, love, and purpose. Maisha’s love for humanity is the driving force of her life.
Abused for 25 years, one could say Maria Chiarilli is The Face and now the Voice of Domestic Violence. After being attacked on January 22, 2011, survived by God’s Grace and Mercy, she vowed to make a change. That night, she claimed a new life. Seeing a Heavenly Site was when Maria recognized that the lack of awareness, support, education and involvement/action weren’t the only things wrong with society, … this world as we know it. There is a missing piece to this whole domestic violence epidemic, and that “that” piece is Jesus!
Maria’s life should have ended on that dreadful night, but instead her Faith in God and the power of His Love have helped her to overcome this calamity. Today, she inspires everyone she meets with her courage, convictions and indomitable spirit. As she was once a Victim, she is now a Survivor, … a Warrior, a Victor! She has a Mission, a Passion, a Purpose, a Goal, a Dream. Despite the devil being a constant obstacle, always working overtime, Maria continues to strive and thrive.
As an aspiring author, she persists in writing her book, “Silent Me”, a story much bigger than most people’s own personal narrative. She believes that what she went through, she went through so others wouldn’t have to, …. So that all her pain, trials, as well as mistakes, will enlighten others, encourage and give strength to them to overcome and get through, … to survive and thrive. “We don’t have to be Superwomen, but when we put all our Faith in God, and let Him handle His business, we can sure feel like one”!
Maria also continues to persevere as an aspiring Motivational Speaker, hoping that sharing her story, experience and expertise will inspire, empower, motivate and give strength to that certain someone who needs help. A non-profit, “Domestic Choices, is in the future, which will provide alternative options to the victim who is trapped in unusual, less common situations, that keeps them in an unsafe environment. Real life situations are not always so cut & dry. Domestic Choices was created to give women a greater awareness of the choices they can make to free themselves from the “Silent ME” lifestyle. Maria works hard on her efforts to make Domestic Choices a Doorway to Freedom. And as crazy as this may sound, Maria says, “despite the horrific attack, and all the other trial and tribulations and negative experiences I has gone through in my life, I wouldn’t trade any of them for nothing in this world, because they put me on the path I am on now, and they inspired me to be the person I am today.”
Maria Chiarilli, who also goes by 15ANG3LS, is also the mother of 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls. …along with several grandchildren. She lives in the country in the family home, with her youngest son, Chavez, who was disabled in a devastating car accident in 1998, that left him paralyzed and on a respirator. Though he can’t walk or even move his arms, Chavez’s strength and determination continue to inspire those around him. His sister, Tiffany, once wrote on a Instagram post, with a picture of Chavez: “I have 4 brothers, 3 of which are steadily keep in the gym, but Chavez turned out to be the strongest”. “This” would be the same strength that Maria uses to justify every aspect in her life, when there is a question of her Faith or courage. Chavez is Maria’s inspiration.
Maria has several “invisible disabilities”, from the attack, that keep her down a lot. She says, “This has taken all the normalcy out of my life. I get so very frustrated.” So now, she is looking into the possibilities of combining “Invisible Disabilities” with “Pain Awareness” and somehow making them part of “Domestic Choices”, which is currently just about domestic violence. She goes on to say that “three” go together.
Maria says her mission is To Help The “Silent Me’s” Find Their Lost Voices. And Her message is;” It’s Not Your Fault and Don’t Waste Your Pain.
15ANG3L’S website is currently under construction but will be published soon. The address is: www.domesticchoices.life
NANCY SUNG SHELTON
“Mommy when I grow up, I want to be just like you!”
When these words hit my ears, it shattered the fragile glass that was my heart. My Sun, the child who I carried for 9 months with no one knowing. The child that I gave birth to at the tender age of 15 years, all alone and by myself in my bedroom. My gift, the SUN that walked next to me as I ran away from the nurturing home provided by my parents and into poverty and pain.
I remember the wall of achievement that my mother had in the dining room. It was a shrine of all my scholarly successes. That wall was crowded with my awards, plaques, and medals, my parents celebrated me and invested in my future success. I was a top student, a leader among my friends, never got in trouble, I was a happy and well-adjusted suburban kid.
I met an older man and he convinced me that I was beautiful. He was charismatic, smart, and had an edgy sense of style. I was fascinated with him, and just could not believe that this older guy would find me equally as interesting. This man treated me like a woman, and when he asked me what I bought him for his birthday, all I had to offer was the gift of my innocence. My first time being with a man resulted in my sweet little SUN who at 4 years old, told me, “Mommy when I grow up, I want to be just like you!”
After my Sun’s father abandoned us, at aged 16, I left home to live with a new man. This man gave me instructions on how navigate the system and poverty, what to say and not to say to adults, how to hide the fact that he was living with us, and who to go to for this or that. He trained me on how to be his tool. It didn’t take long for his grooming to turn to violence. Unbeknownst to me, he was struggling with addiction and in my naïve state, I didn’t understand why he would become irrationally angry. Chastising me like a child, berating me for my mistakes, and constantly accusing me of cheating on him, I was confused, I didn’t have the skill to battle his manipulation and viciousness. His slaps, chokes, slams, punches, kicks, scratches, spittle, dominance, stature, and soul tearing words killed me little by little. While beating me in the middle of a crowded street, I heard the laughter of the onlookers, I realized there was no help for me and he would eventually cease my existence. My beautiful Sun saw all of the abuse and cried quietly as I soothed him to silence to not draw the attention of this man.
I was a high school drop, a welfare recipient, a teen mom, a runaway, a domestic violence victim, a hopeless, broken person.
“Mommy when I grow up, I want to be just like you!”… this was a pivotal moment.
NO! I need to be a better representation of a mother, woman, and person for my Sun. I did not want this life for him. I found the dormant courage in my spirit and just left… I went back to school received my G.E.D. and then several degrees. I regained control and resumed the path that was destined for me. I am no longer a “survivor”, as I fight against injustice and victimization of others every day in the work I do, I am a thriving as a community “WARRIOR” and “CONQUERER!”
Sierra Monaé, a Rochester native, is one of the hottest radio personalities in upstate NY that’s heating up the airwaves.
Sierra who has been deemed “The voice of the city” by her listeners and has always been a public figure.
Her background in hosting major events and concerts in the Rochester area, made her domestic violence situation a lot more difficult because she was in the public eye constantly.
Fear of ridicule and public backlash has kept her quiet about the abuse for 2 years. Until now, when she decided to speak as a panelist at the RWO Domestic Violence Awareness THINK PURPLE event.
She is a true “victor” and has been an amazing member of the Rochester Woman Online team.
We congratulate Sierra for having the strength and courage to tell our audience her true story of survival and inspiration and how she had the courage to stand up to her abuser and say no more!
Lucy Sacchetti, Founder of Rebuilding Shattered Lives, decided to launch the support group after her son’s tragic ordeal with a heroin addiction which ultimately led to his shooting and prison term in 2014. The motivation behind her efforts came with the stark realization that families in crisis were not only struggling with the continuous upheavals’ addiction brings to one’s doorsteps, they were also thrown to the “wolves” with stigmatism. During her very public ordeal, she was faced with a lack of empathy from a very opinionated society in which she was somehow to blame for her son’s choices.
This led to a passion to somehow change mindsets and educate the community on the struggle’s families face during such trials.
Lucy Sacchetti, formerly known as Annemarie Zagari, passionately set out to understand what had just happened to her life which was torn apart from the inside out. A suburban mom of two, whose life seemed “perfect”, turned into a nightmare in which there was no escape as she struggled to keep her son alive while a society raged on his choices.
During this tumultuous time her father had developed terminal cancer and she now faced another heartache in which there was no control. “I only knew to pray” were her words as she made the decision to become an Ordained Minister with the intention to spiritually guide the brokenhearted, lend a compassionate heart where there seemed to be none.
Rebuilding Shattered Lives started out as a group for those who needed a shoulder to cry on with no judgement. Over the years efforts to rally, change laws, meet with elected officials and simply help people understand what parents face during crisis, the group transformed into a safe haven for those who felt abandoned by society as they mourned their loved ones.
With the passing of her father in 2016, Lucy took a step back to mourn the loss of a very important presence in her life. Since then she quietly started reach out to people who just needed to be heard and spiritually counsel families on loss, helping them to grieve with out judgement and helps to educate those who need an understanding in a place of heartache where most feel lost and lose a sense of identity. In 2017, Lucy separated and divorced her husband of twenty plus years and faced another spiritual loss. Her identity was forever changed, but one thing remained the same. Concentration of “why me” was a theme that was present in each tragic event and the healing process was never fully complete until she realized that she was her biggest enemy. With each loss she faced she realized that no matter the event, the pain is the same. “We all have to go through the stages of grief no matter what. When the soul dies, all we know is that we are in our own grave and we either decide to get up or stay put. I decided to get up and change my story”. Today she spiritually guides those who need an understanding of self. She helps those who are willing to transition from victim mentality to survivor mentality and keep going forward with a renewed sense of love…self-love. “I want to help people to come to a place where the biggest love of their life is themselves, one of the hardest battles amongst anyone facing crisis is self-love.
During my darkest nights, I never questioned anyone else’s behavior, it was always “why me? When I stopped asking “why me” and changed the story to “What am I missing in myself? What is it that keeps me from moving forward and staying in a stagnant position in life, with the same people where I keep getting knocked down? When do I decide it’s time to stop falling into that self-made grave? When I changed the questions, I changed the outcome! Today!
By the Grace of God, and blind faith I climbed out of that grave and became a survivor. When I decided to stop abandoning myself, my life changed!”
Chastity Singletary is a mother of one child. Her daughter is in the 5th grade. Chastity is an MCC Alumni. With having received her Associate ‘s degree in Human Services and is also a Bachelor’s degree grad from American Intercontinental University, she has waited many years to write her book and tell her story. Fearing judgement of those she loved if she did. But then that day came, she finally did it.
After finishing her second degree, she felt it was time to tell her story. It was time for others to hear her story. After writing her first book that speaks up against the Sexual Mental and Physical abuse within families, she immediately began writing her second book about Domestic Violence. With now selling over 400 copies since her release of her first book in April, she believes that breaking stigmas and educating families on the seriousness of Sexual, Mental and Emotional trauma is key to decrease many Mental Ailments such as PTSD, Anxiety/Depression just to name a few. Chastity is a Victim Advocate for Rape, Domestic Violence and Discrimination. Her business is called Gidae. Gidae means HOPE in Korean.
She believes that in life, we ALL have hope for something. And for Victims, sometimes having HOPE is their only chance at surviving the obstacles that maybe hindering them and leaving them in a debilitating state. With receiving many certifications such as a Hypnotist Consultant, Reiki Master and Life Coach, Chastity has done this all in the name of Advocating and spreading knowledge through her speaking for her Community. While just recently launching her Podcast that speaks on topics such as Stress, getting real about Anxiety and much more, she is set to launch her first Magazine spread next month. Her magazine will be of Diversity and Inclusion. Men and Women coming together and speaking their truth.
Sharing their stories and obstacles. This magazine will show the world that if they can overcome, that others can also. Chastity works tirelessly in her Community as well as in her family. Giving when she can and continuing to better herself. Connecting with many like-minded individuals and spreading awareness of Diversity and Inclusion. There are many future projects that Chastity is currently working. One project includes Collaborating with the City School District to increase awareness within the Health Education department.
Speaking on topics they do not cover in current Health Classes such as Mental Health and Self-Care. Chastity’s life has not always been this accomplished. She has struggled in her past of Domestic Violence herself, Anxiety and Sexual Trauma, it took her on a road of despair, insecurity and debilitating depression that overshadowed her life. It took perseverance and learning to reprogram and refocus on her life and learn self-worth from within for her to overcome those obstacles. Believing and learning to love herself first. Now that she has learned this skill. She wants to motivate, empower and encourage others that they can to overcome any obstacle that may come their way. The most important thing to remember is Unity and Support. These are big factors that can bring people together. Increasing in numbers, advancement and education.
There is POWER when we speak affirmations, knowledge and wisdom to others. There is POWER when we encourage and motivate others. Never stop the fight of trying to do good. Our Community needs us along with many Communities. Chastity will never stop fighting to spread the knowledge. She will never stop fighting to let others know her story and to learn others story along the way. So, lets EMPOWER and ENCOURAGE one another on the way.
Tiffanie Tartaglia is owner and stylist if Salon Bella Vita in Pittsford, NY.
Born and raised in Fairport New York, Tiffanie pursues her hairstylist career 24 years ago after graduating from Shear ego cosmetology school.
She was hired by Redken 5th Avenue as a traveling hairstylist educating thousands of hairstylists across America.
She became a color specialist and design specialist a few years of becoming an artist for Redken 5th Avenue. Working the larger scale shows bring away 5 times to 7 times a year ,6 days at a time for 19 years she decided her children’s activities needed her attention.
She stayed in Pittsford opening a salon and let her children be the stars to shine. She will go back as promised when her children leave for college.
Tiffanie and her two children ,Rocco 14 Emma 12 are survivors of domestic violence.
Finally after 14 years Rocco was listened to and Emma as well, giving both the children the choice to be around the verbal and physical abuse . They are finally free. T
iffanie is pursuing her second run at Mrs. New York State with Domestic Violence, and Willow Domestic Violence Center as her platform and focus.
She feels she can represent this problem and be a voice for the voices that are silent, or that have been silenced. There’s a long road ahead, but she feels there needs to be more laws for prevention and more protection for children.
Abuse is experienced in many forms – sexual, physical, emotional and even mental. Far too often those experiencing abuse don’t know it. The people around the abused aren’t always aware of the signs or don’t know how to be supportive. In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. (NCADV) Domestic violence statics continue to rise, especially in communities that are not educated on the signs or provided with actionable solutions. Nicole Simone Backus is working to address this epidemic in her community and beyond with her company Sunmoonrising Films LLC.
Nicole Simone Backus is an American actress, writer, producer, director, and SURVIVOR. With her pen and through her lens, she brings narratives to life that not only reflects her personal experience but also those in her community. Nicole’s third feature film, “A Friendship That Binds,” is the story of two friends bound by loyalty defying society’s take on acceptable relationships and boundaries. This newly-released film highlights several forms of abuse and how the experiences impact the lives of each character. Nicole knows too well how abuse can affect a person’s life. She experienced sexual abuse by the hands of a family friend and domestic abuse during two long term relationships that caused physical, emotional and mental anguish. This eventually pushed Nicole into a downward cycle of poverty and digression in her career. This cycle also took a tremendous toll on her children causing rebellion in the household.
Nicole refuses to view herself as a victim but a VICTOR! She believes her voice can inspire other women to help end the cycle of abuse through film, self-love and empowerment. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York until the age of nine, Nicole moved to Glens Falls, New York where she fell in love with film. After many years of doubt and low-self esteem, Nicole found the strength, courage, and faith to start over. Nicole gives credit to the strong women in her life who became her pillar of strength and the village she leaned on in her time of need and encouraged her to see her worth through her struggles.
Her inspiration to write her second series, “These Streets Don’t Love You Like I Do,” was due to her periods of homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty. Nicole found that writing and producing that series allowed her to overcome those burdening obstacles in her life. Founding her company Sunmoonrising Films LLC. in 2018 was a dream come. Nicole continues to work behind the scenes with a screening and project set to release later this year. For more information on Nicole and her latest projects, follow her on Twitter @SMR_FILMS, Instagram @Sunmoonrisingfilms and online at SunmoonrisingFilms.com.