RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Megan Whitfield says talking about her past is painful but in doing so it gives her an opportunity to encourage others who are in violent relationships the strength to speak out and get help.
"It's safe to speak up," Whitfield said.
She attended a community forum on domestic violence which was held Thursday as a result of recent deadly domestic violence cases in Palm Beach County.
The forum was hosted by the Florida Resource Center for Women and Children along with the City of Riviera Beach.
City leaders met with residents to discuss ways the community can better respond to domestic violence and elderly abuse.
"It's always about walking together...not telling someone what to do or you should of or could have or why don't you call this number. What it is...is let's talk about what you need, what your children need, what are you're plans...let us help you reach your goals," said Jane Wagley, program director of the Florida Resource Center for Women and Children.
Whitfield said she grew up moving in and out of foster homes. She says that she was first sexually molested at the age of five and between the ages of nine and eighteen she was sexually abused.
She says about six years ago she had the difficult decision of leaving an abusive relationship. "He did come after me...and...but... I got in the car and I drove away."
It was then that she realized how beautiful life is. "I never looked up to see how beautiful the sky was for so long and how all of a sudden life just started to blossom."
Organizations such as the Florida Resource Center for Women and Children do provide free services for women and their families who need help moving away from violent relationships.
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