Did you know there are more animal shelters than shelters for abused women and children? Did you also know a battered woman is in the most danger when she leaves her partner? Most people do not and that is a huge issue! Meet Rhonda Thompson, a survivor of domestic violence and the CEO/Founder of Rose of Sharon Transitional Living for Women. The Rose of Sharon is an organization dedicated to providing services and resources for victims of domestic violence. This amazing woman has dedicated her life and found her calling not only in service to others, raising awareness to the cause. “I am a survivor I’ve been on this journey for a very long time, but i did not find the strength or the boldness to start the organization until 2000.”
As aforementioned, Rhonda has not always been involved with domestic violence awareness, prior to 2000 she lived a very different life. “I was not always doing the work, I started in ’97 and then I stopped in about 2000. Then it wasn’t until I continued to see the amount women impacted by domestic violence and decided to go ahead and do something I was supposed to do a long time ago, but I ran from it. I actually just started to use my own voice this year. Although I’ve been working, I had not been able to put myself out there and the reason why was just more so I felt like this is the past and I got over, but there is a level of pride and strength that comes with being a survivor. And I found I wanted to be more relatable to the women that I served. I wanted them to look at me as them. I’m not better them, no worse, I just made it through…”
Besides Rose of Sharon, Rhonda and her associates have come together to put on a masquerade gala, Living Behind The Mask. There, survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse are recognized for their tenacity and overcoming incredible odds. “…it’s very well put together and very well orchestrated and the proceeds from the gala go towards Rose of Sharon. Our purpose is not just to bring awareness to domestic violence , but to provide housing for women and children…we have over six hundred volunteers working tirelessly…the attire is very elegant so think white tie and ball gowns…” Pictures from last year’s gala look great.” We definitely encourage you all to donate to the gala and learn more about Living Behind The Mask by clicking here.
Needless to say, we are in awe of Rhonda Thompson and everything she has accomplished. As a survivor turned CEO her story and life’s work are captivating and inspirational. Domestic violence and sexual abuse are issues that literally hit close to home. You or someone you know have either gone through this or know of someone who has. Rhonda advises anyone who is dealing with these issues to seek help. “Victims need to know they can be survivors too and that they are not alone. Others have gone through this and come out. They can too.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence and sexual abuse please use The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or their website, http://www.thehotline.org/.