Domestic Violence Survivor Invites Women to Learn From Her Facial Scars

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High-Profile Victim of a 2003 Domestic Violence Shooting Speaks at Women's Personal Safety Conference near Fort Worth, TX; Sisters S.O.S. Dir. Elsie Allen Calls Women to "Realize They Are Not 'Shack-Up Honeys' or 'Desperate Housewives!'"

In December 2003, Carolyn Thomas of Waco, TX narrowly survived a gun-shot wound to her face. Her cruel story of domestic violence, how she lost her mother and 80 percent of her face when her ex-boyfriend tore into a jealous rage and opened fire in her apartment, has been covered by Oprah, CNN Headline News and in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Four years and 11 plastic surgeries later, Thomas will publicly show and tell Metroplex-area women about the expensive price of staying in abusive relationships. On Saturday, September 8, she will deliver a 45-minute keynote address at the Women's Safety Personal Conference & Expo, sponsored by Sisters S.O.S (Sisters Overcoming Situations), a faith-based nonprofit group based in Ft. Worth, TX.

The Women's Personal Safety Conference & Expo will be held at Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, and will also feature a variety of workshops, demonstrations and exhibits from 8 AM to 2 PM. Thanks to local sponsors, tickets are complimentary and being made available online a http://www.Sisterssos.com, by phone at 817-446-6116 and at the door. The address is 7312 Forest Hill Drive, Forest Hill, Texas 76140.

According to statistics, nearly one third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. (U.S. Dept. of Justice Bureau Statistics, 2003). And almost 1,300 American women are killed by an intimate partner every year, and another 2 million are injured. (Tjaden and Thoennes, 2000)

"I don't think God was being mean--everything happens for a reason. I was left to tell women you don't want to stay in an abusive relationship," says 37-year-old Thomas, who is determined to help other women learn from her experience. Currently, Thomas ramps up to launch The Voice4All Carolyn Thomas Foundation (http://www.carolyn-thomas.org), a nonprofit she will use to warn women, "You could lose a loved one, your family member or your face!" The ultimate goal of the foundation is to construct a shelter that addresses all the excuses victims use to stay with their abusers.

During the program, Thomas will speak candidly about warning signs she was blind to during her 8-year relationship with a man she once described as "quiet" and "shy." She tells how he physically and emotionally isolated her from family members and randomly lost his temper. "I got physically abused once for dying my hair blond like Jada Pickett Smith," she said.

A video presentation showing the progression of Thomas' facial transformation will accompany her as she shares her nightmarish account. Then, Thomas will open the floor for questions and answers to allow her audience to get an up close and personal look.

Former Ft. Worth Policewoman Elsie Allen, founder and executive director of Sisters S.O.S, says, "I pray that Carolyn's message will cause women and young girls to rethink poor choices that make them vulnerable. They have to realize they are not shack-up honeys or desperate housewives, and our men need to learn how to take a stand, show respect and protect the women in their lives." In 2004, Allen, who is also survivor of domestic violence, began Sisters S.O.S at a time when she was heartbroken by the increase of violent crimes and vicious attacks on women and girls in her community and throughout the U.S. Her contribution to her local community won Allen "Woman of the Year" Award given by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1989 and a prestigious nomination as "Outstanding Woman of the Year" in 1993.

The mission of Sisters S.O.S. is to provide women with biblically-based information and tools to enjoy a safe and secure life. Starting October 5, Sisters S.O.S. will resume its regular meetings, held on the first Friday of each month at Wood Haven Country Club in Fort Worth. For additional information, visit http://www.Sisterssos.com.

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GREGG WOODING
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