Tamiko Pugh survives domestic abuse, becomes a beacon of light for others

Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lowry-Pugh
Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lowry-Pugh

Life coach and domestic violence survivor Tamiko Pugh is hosting the 5th annual Still Standing & Stepping Out, The Purple Affair fundraiser hosted by FOX 5’s George Franco. The Still Standing Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Pugh to provide a positive outlet that empowers victims of domestic violence to become survivors and encourages self-empowerment, self-esteem, personal and spiritual growth.

With much success in previous years, the 2016 Purple Affair will offer guests light fare, live entertainment, poetry, celebrity appearances, a silent auction, and an exciting fashion show where abuse survivors will walk the runway. Ambassadors for 2016 are April Kelley, Nikki Payne, Dr. Alexcius Branch and the keynote will be delivered by Dr. Sonja Brown.

Meet Tamiko Pugh.

What is your personal experience with domestic violence?
Let’s just say this … I remember on several occasions being choked until I almost passed out. Thinking to myself, I’m about to die. My abuser beat me with words, he beat me emotionally, he beat me mentally and he beat me spiritually until I became a broken soul. But the most horrific incident was the day that I left. We were driving up the interstate and I told him that I was leaving him for good. He got so angry that he forced the car to the side of the road where he began to hit, punch and choke me. I think I passed out because the next thing I remember was being in the middle of the highway with cars swerving around me trying to prevent hitting me. Thankfully, someone saw what happened and called the police. I thought for sure I was going to die on that day. My life flashed before my eyes. I made it out, but not everyone does.

At what point did you decide it was your mission to take this tour around the country?
I always knew that I wanted to empower women, I just didn’t know in what capacity or how that would happen. It wasn’t until I was sitting in church one Sunday and my pastor preached from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and who are called according to his purpose.” The word “purpose” is what stuck out to me. At that moment I knew that my purpose and mission was to help other women around the world who were suffering in silence the way I did. I believe that whenever we have the opportunity to survive anything in life, that it’s our responsibility to go out and help others who are going through what we survived. The mission has now gone from helping just women to helping the community by advocating, bringing awareness and coming up with preventive measures. My organization, The Still Standing Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides a positive outlet for victims of domestic violence to become survivors. We are dedicated to preventing domestic violence and intervening with educational and therapeutic resources. Our coaching, mentoring, and consulting programs allow us to help individuals nationwide recognize, end and heal from the effects of domestic violence. Through various training, workshops, and speaking, we inspire and teach advocates, victims, survivors, and community partners how to identify domestic violence, facilitate change, and restore healing.

When President Obama signed the Proclamation in 2015, how did it make you feel?
Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by President Obama encourages Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need. I was ecstatic and relieved. Before President Obama made this proclamation, many did not believe that domestic violence was a serious offense, and victims had nowhere to turn for support. This proclamation enhanced the criminal justice response to violence against women and expanded survivors’ access to immediate assistance and long-term resources to rebuild their lives.

What are some of the things you’ve heard from your audience(s) about your testimony?
When I share my testimony, it gives people the opportunity to see the face of a domestic violence survivor. Until then, many have a preconceived notion of what an abused person looks like. I’ve received some really positive feedback from my audiences. People have said that they feel more educated about the topic and they leave feeling inspired to do more in the community as it related to bringing awareness to domestic violence. While other audience members gain the courage to speak up and say “I’m being abused, and I need help,” or “I too am a survivor.” My testimony gives people strength and comfort knowing that they are not alone.

Why did you did you decide to host the Purple Affair?
I decided to host the annual Purple Affair because I wanted to highlight, honor, and celebrate domestic violence survivorship while bringing awareness to the community. I didn’t want it to be a typical workshop or seminar. I wanted people to come together to have a great time while being educated and supporting an important cause. My goal was to have survivors not be ashamed of what they went through but to understand that no matter what has happened in the past, they survived and are still standing.

What should attendees expect?
Still Standing & Stepping Out, The Purple Affair is a fundraiser/gala that supports the Still Standing Foundation’s efforts to empower victims of domestic violence. Purple Affair attendees can expect an evening of networking, live entertainment, survivor spotlights, a live and silent auction, cocktail hour followed by a delectable dinner and dessert. They will have the opportunity to witness an amazing fashion show in which domestic violence survivors rip the runway to show the world that after all they have been through, they are still standing. We will close out the evening dancing to the sounds of one of Atlanta’s top jazz bands.

How can people find you?
Tamiko Lowry-Pugh
Twitter: @EmpoweringDiva
Instagram: @EmpoweringDiva
Facebook: The Empowering Diva

The Still Standing Foundation
Twitter: @ StillStandingFD
Instagram: @TheStillStandingFoundation
Facebook: The Still Standing Foundation

For tickets to the affair: The Still Standing Foundation visit www.thestillstandingfoundation.org – For ticket information visit: PurpleAffair2016.Eventbrite.com

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