Vice President Joe Biden recently introduced pop star Lady Gaga at the Oscars to spotlight the issue of campus sexual assault, which is part of a White House campaign against domestic and sexual violence.
Gaga’s performance, which included sexual-assault survivors onstage, highlights a startling problem: despite immense progress, women continue to suffer spousal abuse at an alarming rate. A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States, according to Domestic Violence Statistics.
“April is Women Helping Each Other Heal Month – an empowering message to all women that there’s abundant hope if you are or have ever experienced spousal abuse,” says Aurea McGarry, a domestic violence and cancer survivor who has dedicated her life to advocacy for those in need, including abused women.
“My awakening came with my daughter, because I couldn’t bear for her to think that what I suffered from my ex-husband was acceptable.”
From that moment on, McGarry – now an Emmy-winning TV show host, charity expert and sought-after inspirational speaker – flowered. She says there are several ways women can help themselves, and others, such as.
- Go one better than surviving; put forth a mindset to “sur-thrive.” McGarry has survived the murder of her father, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, poverty, divorce and single motherhood. Having her spirit nearly broken many times, her will to survive overflowed into a desire to sur-thrive. “It’s a goal of the spirit, one that can be measured every day by positivity – positive actions, feelings and the determination for well-being for one’s life and that of others,” she says.
- Live your legacy (www.LiveYourLegacySummit.Com) now. How will you be remembered after you’re gone? What will your legacy be? These questions are better understood by linking it with your actions today. Your legacy is in your hands. Whether it’s a simple good deed among two strangers or a widely publicized global movement, the good consequences of positive action live on in time. That’s just some of what McGarry emphasizes in her Live Your Legacy Summits – events designed to inspire, inform and support women who want to start building a new legacy – now in its 10th incarnation.
- Empower yourself by empowering others. Helping others helps us feel good, according to the American Psychological Association, which indicates that volunteering with a charity boosts self-esteem and personal development. Efforts including Women Helping Women perfectly illustrate helping oneself by helping others.
- Be a positive example for your daughter, mother, sister and friends. Positivity tends to breed more of the positive. When something good happens you feel better about other aspects of your life. The same is often true interpersonal. If you are sur-thriving, for example, who wouldn’t want to join you? Be the leader in your own life, and others will follow.
Aurea McGarry is an Emmy-winning TV show host, actor, author, speaker and charity advocate, and founder of the Live Your Legacy Summit National Event Series (liveyourlegacysummit.org). Having endured tremendous hardship throughout her life, including domestic violence and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she advocates a positive message of sur-thriving.
Photograph by Seitu Oronde.