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a survivor’s story One Remarkable Journey to a Lifes’ Purpose After years of experiencing roadblocks and hardships, including a series of unhealthy relationships, Brenda Gonzalez embarked on a journey to turn her pain as a domestic violence victim-turned-survivor into a life purpose. Brenda enjoys mentoring, volunteering, and promoting health and wellness in effort to make a difference in society. As a speaker, author and coach, Brenda believes that self-love is the key to true happiness. She is a proud mother of two beautiful children. Discovering her true self through God, she has allowed Him to hold her hand and guide her towards the next steps of her life. Her life experiences and challenges have made her stronger each day. Inspired, she has found strength to finally speak up and help others to make a difference. What was the final act that led you to leave your situation for good? While drunk, he kicked me in front of my brother and sister-in-law and tried to put my children in his car. I knew then I needed to find courage and get out before it was too late. I was not willing to wait and see if things would get better. It had been ten years and the situation only kept getting worse. People on the outside looking in are often unaware of a domestic violence victim’s plight. What would you say to people who ask “Why didn’t you leave sooner?” I would tell them that they would have to walk in a victim’s shoes before being judgmental. For victims, it is a cycle and we think it’s normal, because it’s all we know. We also feel shame and fear and it is not that easy to leave. No matter what, however, one thing is for sure – it is never our fault. What would you tell someone who is a new survivor to inspire them to heal? I would tell them to take all the time they need. To allow enough time to heal their wounds properly. To seek and get all the help they need and to never be ashamed. Your children are also survivors! How are they doing now? I learned the essence of building them up after witnessing traumatic scenes. I send them daily text messages telling them how amazing they are. They are now all grown up. My daughter is in college and son my son in high school. Thank God they are doing

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great. You mentioned you have two writing projects underway. What is your progress on those and when can we expect them? Yes, I’m so excited. I decided to write my memoir and turn it into a teaching book. I want to empower women and inspire them to find courage. I also want to bring awareness and expose some of the signs to look for. I’m hoping to complete it by the end of this year, and publish it in early 2016. I am also taking part in a book project where twelve survivors collaborate to tell their stories. This book is to be published in December. After coming out of your journey, what are you most grateful for? I am grateful for life, happiness and inner peace. I am grateful for the strength and courage to talk and share my story with others. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. Leave us with some final words to describe your journey to survival and where you are now. It was a struggle to be a single mom, and shoulder the blame for breaking up our family. My kids resented me for a few years. I had to find strength each day to overcome my journey. Last year I gave myself to the Lord and he transformed my life. I found my purpose in life and began my journey in becoming a Life Coach to help others using my own life experiences. n Janine Lattimore

Classy Chronicles, November 2015, Issue 7  
Classy Chronicles, November 2015, Issue 7  
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