There are some moments that we will carry with us for a lifetime. The evening of the Survivors to Thrivers Fashion Show at the Powerful Women’s Summit was no exception. As the models walked down the runway emotions were felt in abundance, as the women all displayed a piece of her story that depicted the tragic experienced in her past. Then a moment of significance and empowerment happened for each woman. Right on the runway, those models who had suffered did a dramatic act of leaving behind their pain. For example, a domestic abuse survivor shredded an image of themselves – from the hospital after being thrown through a glass table – in half to show that they no longer allow that violence to dominate their life anymore! Tears were shed in the audience and applause broke out. It was almost as if we could see them morph from the inside out as a fragile-being into a woman of unbreakable strength and unstoppable courage. All of those brave souls who chose to crawl out of a place of vulnerability from each type of tragedy suffered to confidently, yet with purposeful emotion walk down that runway were truly an inspiration that many would be so moved to have seen. The stories that were told went beyond abuse to women who had survived sickness, horrific accidents, and for example – Shevelle McPherson – the amazingly iconic lawyer who refused to become a statistic after being a teenaged mother. All had triumphed above the pain. What a scene to have witnessed!
Education to Make a Difference
According to current statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” This is a hard thought to take in, when considering this is happening so often. So much pain being inflicted from one human being to another, it seems incomprehensible. Yet, the women who showed up to put on a brave face to shine on the runway at the Fashion Show showed a level of survivorship that many are hoping to one day live to achieve themselves. Those women stood up after all they endured to be a beacon of hope for victims, to let them know they can go from victim to survivor, that they have it within themselves to be able to endure and overcome.
Arlene Roth was an attendee at this event and was there in support of her daughter who was invited as a model. Roth’s main focus was to emphasize the work her daughter has been doing to help empower victims through a nonprofit she is starting! “It was a complete reclaiming of my power,” stated Samantha Roth of her experience from the evening. This is a heartfelt response to a meaningful night for so many.
A survivor who came to the runway with a story of escalated emotion was a woman and Global Sisterhood Exec. Board Director named Lori Paul. During the fashion show the image held by Paul was an X-ray showing the damage to her skull. Why? This was due to the alleged abuse inflicted on her as she was punched and kicked in the head. When reflecting on the fashion show Paul stated that it, “Almost felt like a ceremony to bid farewell to the heavy baggage of that time that I continually carried.”
Each woman who took to the red carpet runway to shine her light was truly a hero in her own right. They were no stranger to affliction and found strength along the way to rise up and let the world know that their story is worthy of being told, and that through putting it out there, someone somewhere just may find it within themselves to realize they too can overcome exceedingly traumatic circumstances. The collaboration of so many women coming together to stand as a united front allowed for an atmosphere of pure intensity filled with powerful camaraderie.
The implementation of information, with the intention of taking action to effect change was part of the evenings agenda for the fashion show soiree. Dr. Shellie Hipsky, the Executive Director and Founder of The Global Sisterhood 501(c)(3) emceed and organized this profound fashion show that went deeper that the beautiful gown to touch the hearts of the audience through storytelling of obstacles conquered and lives reclaimed.
The Beauty in Coming Together
Bringing together people from all different backgrounds and varying degrees of professional expertise for a worthy cause, is a beautiful way to exemplify the power of what the human spirit is capable of. All of those who poured their hearts into making the event a success were a part of something so much bigger than just themselves. This night hit so many at such a deep level that one would be hard pressed to find an occasion to match the sentiments and bonds created that very evening.
If you are someone who finds yourself in a devastating environment, or has just experienced a horrific trauma of any sort please find a tribe of women that you can connect with. If this event showed one thing, I think the realization of the magic and power that is felt and created when women vow to ban together and strengthen one another is a force to be reckoned with!