We dotted all the i’s. Crossed all the t’s. The paperwork is complete, and now we celebrate because… Break the Silence: Victim to Victory is an official 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization!!!! What in the world. This feels so surreal!
So for the backstory: in 2012, I began my journey in the Miss Arkansas Organization which is a part of the Miss America Organization. As the largest scholarship provider for women in the world, the participants must have a platform in order to compete. Because of my own story of childhood sexual abuse, I knew my platform would be “Prevent Child Sexual Abuse,” what later became “Break the Silence.” From 2012-2015, this platform became infiltrated into every aspect of my life, whether I was wearing a pageant crown or not. From public speaking, volunteering, networking, to jobs and mentoring, it seemed as though every decision I made was to further my platform and raise awareness.
I closed the pageant chapter of my life in 2015, and began to further my education through a Masters of School Counseling program. Once again, I realized that what started as my platform for pageants was now a part of my life’s mission, and God continued to open doors for Break the Silence. In 2013, I vividly remember telling my academic advisor that I felt lead to non-profits, but I never thought that would mean starting one. In spring of 2018, a mentor told me that Break the Silence should be a non-profit, and I completely shrugged her words to the side because I absolutely felt incapable of doing so (still do at times!).
Next thing I knew, doors started to open faster than I could have ever imagined, and it became evident to me that Break the Silence as a non-profit made sense. So, I did not want to pass up the opportunity God had given, and away we went!
I would love to see the day that there is no more child abuse in our world, but sadly, we live in a fallen world where that just is not likely. While I have every intention to educate others on prevention, my personal story also lends me to see the “other side” of this issue. I see the side of so many breaking their silence and sharing the trauma that they have endured. I see the side where victims of abuse feel as though they are simply victims of their abusers. I see the side of pain, hurt, fear, shame, and so many more inexplicable emotions. Because of this, I decided the official name should be “Break the Silence: Victim to Victory” in hopes of helping others see that we are NOT just victims, we are SURVIVORS!
It is my hope and prayer to see so many rise from the chains of victimization to living freely and victoriously, finding freedom when the chains that keep us captive for far too long are finally broken. My hope is to educate others on how they can prevent child abuse around them, empower others to stand up and speak out, and equip others on how to live in joy despite the horrors they have endured.
This absolutely would not be possible without the work the Lord has done in my life, and I am so grateful. I count all of this as a blessing from Christ, even the struggles that are seen and unseen through it all. He has given me a village of people who help me through the joys and struggles I face : my mom, who has believed in me from the beginning and has fought for me every step of the way; my husband, who has encouraged and pushed me to keep going especially when I want to give up; my consultant, Justin, who sees the potential in all of this even when I am discouraged and afraid; my board members who jumped on board (no pun intended ha!) and have been willing to do whatever we needed; those who help with the website, social media, clothing lines, events, and so much more. From friends to strangers, to you who are reading this, each of you are a vital part and I will NEVER be able to say THANK YOU enough.
So, please join me and so many others in saying Happy Birthday to Break the Silence: Victim to Victory!
Educate. Empower. Equip.