Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photo by Rich Smith / Photos taken on location at Proof Bar and Incubator
Keosha Brewster, East Brainerd
My life started like most little girls’. I was happy, smart, social, and optimistic. I was raised by my grandmother in the projects, and every day was fun. I had a lot of friends, and, at the time, singing was my whole life. I had sung at several local talent shows and even gotten the attention of a local studio that wanted me to sing on their other artists’ records. I dreamed that I would be a household name, traveling the country for concerts and giving out my autograph.
That dream came to an end when I was 14 years old, and the man whom my family and I had trusted to help me with my music career allowed me to be raped by his adult roommate. Not only did this physically harm me, but the mental and emotional trauma would plague me for years. I was in and out of physically and emotionally abusive relationships with men who would call me fat, dumb, and ugly. They told me I would be nothing without a man, and I believed that lie for many years.
One day after a dramatic breakup, I decided to go back to school and become a cosmetologist. While I was in school, I learned that my ex-boyfriend’s violent tendencies had escalated, and his next relationship had ended in a fatality. That shook me to my core. I knew I could never date another abusive man. I freed my mind and body from abusive relationships through writing, focusing on school, and surrounding myself with a lot of positive people.
As the years went by, women would come sit in my chair and talk about similar situations to the one that I had experienced. They felt ashamed and like no one cared, and I knew I had to use my voice to remind survivors that they, too, deserve to be heard. I started a nonprofit called The Heard to empower and advocate for those affected by sexual assault. I realized that I was saved in order to help set free thousands of women who have been silenced. I want to encourage girls to grow stronger in their minds, bodies, and spirits, and I believe that if they find out who they are early on, when they start to date later, they will make sound and well-informed choices.
What I survived was supposed to keep me bound and broken, but I used it as fuel to lift other women up. I learned that adversity does not have to change me negatively, but that I can find purpose in the wickedness I experience. By surviving and taking back my voice, I have been able to see other women mended and thriving after abuse.