As the Founder of the Little Black Dress Society, I want women from all walks of life to be able to join hearts and hands and make a difference. Whether a woman lives in a large metropolitan city like Seattle, Washington or a small rural town like Comfort, Texas, she is able to be a part of something bigger than herself.

The Little Black Dress Society is for all women, because we all know someone that has been touched by abuse. We are a “Society” of women who love LBD’s, making new friends, networking, laughing, crying, supporting one another by sharing our own struggles and triumphs, and impacting women’s lives touched by abuse.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” ~Vince Lombardi

I hope that my battlefield is exhausting and lying beside me are many other women in their little black dresses!

Amanda GraybillFounder of The Little Black Dress Society

If you have a story that you would love for us–and other Members and visitors–to know about, please submit your story.

Survivors’ Stories

When I first met Amanda at a local networking event, I knew it was a divine appointment! We connected immediately as we shared with each other and discovered our mutual passion for helping women. When Amanda presented the concept and mission of LBD Society to me, I don’t think she even got half way through her explanation before I said, “count me in, girlfriend”!

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Life Coach & Dressmaker

Andrea K Moore

San Antonio, Texas

When I first met Amanda at a local networking event, I knew it was a divine appointment! We connected immediately as we shared with each other and discovered our mutual passion for helping women. When Amanda presented the concept and mission of LBD Society to me, I don’t think she even got half way through her explanation before I said, “count me in, girlfriend”!

I must admit that I can’t claim that my motives were entirely benevolent, as a part of the draw was definitely the prospect of being able to dress up in my favorite little black dress to spend time with wonderful, like-minded women! However , while the concept is fun and exciting and the women equally so, my desire to help women touched by abuse has always been at the heart of my decision to join the LBD Society and Amanda’s cause. I am a Life, Self-Esteem, and Image Coach and I work specifically with women. I am passionate about helping women to see the beauty in their lives and in themselves and the purpose of LBD Society is much the same.

With LBD Society, I am able to help women who’s lives have been touched by abuse…women who often struggle with loving themselves and who have been crippled by limiting beliefs and struggles that make forward movement almost impossible. Through raising funds and awareness with LBD Society, I can be a part of something much larger than myself and I can help, as is stated in our mission, to remove the blindfold caused by abuse and inspire women to love, believe, and dream again! I hope to make many new friends as more like-minded women join our cause and put on their little black dresses to have fun and help us change lives!
~Andrea Moore, Life Coach & Dressmaker of The Pearls of the Little Black Dress Society

Life Coach & DressmakerAndrea K. Moore, San Antonio Texas

I married my husband 10 years ago. He was an amazing Godly man. But after six months of being married, I felt suffocated. He demanded me to submit to him in every single thing. I couldn’t even choose what to eat in a restaurant without feeling scared and guilty. He constantly reminded me that I was lucky to be married to him, and that he could pick anybody, but he married me. Well, that was not a compliment at all. He didn’t allow me to hang out with my parents and relatives. He kept me to himself. I obeyed him, because I want to be obedient, to be submissive.

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Submission and Abuse

Astrid Suryatenggara

Jakarta, Indonesia

I married my husband 10 years ago. He was an amazing Godly man. But after six months of being married, I felt suffocated. He demanded me to submit to him in every single thing. I couldn’t even choose what to eat in a restaurant without feeling scared and guilty. He constantly reminded me that I was lucky to be married to him, and that he could pick anybody, but he married me. Well, that was not a compliment at all. He didn’t allow me to hang out with my parents and relatives. He kept me to himself. I obeyed him, because I want to be obedient, to be submissive.

I live in Indonesia, and we are taught to be silent. Even if he put me down, I would still honored him in front of people. After all, he is a well known Pastor in our society.

We have two incredible boys. My eldest son felt scared and insecure whenever his father is at home. We felt trap.

Finally, the verbal and emotional abuse escalated into physical abuse.

He would call me names, one of which is : garbage. He said that I am not valuable and it was a mistake that he married me.

Finally I was housebound for a year. Beaten up every three days, yet I still had to put on a happy smiley face in front of the conggregation.

Doormat, silenced, battered, abused, emotionally scarred…

I love Jesus, but my husband said ‘God told him to beat me up so I’d be a submissive wife’

Last month, he used knives, belts, and fire…
I had to go to the hospital, and my left eye is almost blind. He threatened to kill me and my parents if I dared to leave the house.

I finally gained enough strength to leave the house with my boys. Now I am in a better place. I have filed for divorce, for fear of my family’s life.

Unfortunately, the Christian community in Indonesia condemns me for filing for divorce. The church told me to go back home, and pray for his repentance, endure and carry my cross.

Abuse victims in Indonesia are taught to be quiet, and just live with it. Especially as Christians, we have to submit.

10 years of insecurity, filled with fear and abuse. I have endured. Now I have my strength and dignity back in tact, rebuilding my life, and dreaming of opening the Indonesian women’s eyes on what submission really means…

Love in Christ, from Jakarta-Indonesia

Submission and AbuseAstrid Suryatenggara, Jakarta Indonesia

People used to say that to me all the time. Little did they know what is was like behind closed doors. I would justify the abuse because” I made him do it” or ” I pushed him to those limits” Mostly he was controlling. Being a physcian allowed him to feel superior and he brought that home. I heard.. ” I allow you this lifestyle” ” no one would want you any way” …. It took 12 years but i finally was a shell of being and I needed to save myself. I gave my last effort and divorced him. Ironically the worst was yet to come.

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But you’re married to a Doctor…

Anonymous

Texas

People used to say that to me all the time. Little did they know what is was like behind closed doors. I would justify the abuse because” I made him do it” or ” I pushed him to those limits” Mostly he was controlling. Being a physician allowed him to feel superior and he brought that home. I heard.. ” I allow you this lifestyle” ” no one would want you any way” …. It took 12 years but i finally was a shell of being and I needed to save myself. I gave my last effort and divorced him. Ironically the worst was yet to come.
Don’t get me wrong, it was no cakewalk to leave. I would sneek out of the house, only to return because I could not leave my kids behind. I walked away from all the assets because all I wanted were my children.
Unfortunately, it was after the divorce when a heated argument turned into more. Two black eyes later he was in jail. Finally, people would know. But again, that was not the worst of it…. 8years later my son finally stood up to his dad. Although my son (6’3″) won the physical battle my ex pressed charges on his 18 year old son. We went to court, my daughter was protected, my son found innocent and but the scars this man has left behind are immeasurable.
People often react with pity when they find out even a fraction of my story. Here is what I say. Don’t pity me, be happy for me that I am in a better place, pray for my children. that they will survive this trauma and be proud of me, so I can hold my head up high. I have won a battle that so many women have lost or are fighting right now. One of my favorite quotes is ” I cam to this world to live out loud!” and I will…

But you’re married to a Doctor...Anonymous, Texas

I was in 12th standard, a pretty looking girl with many proposal and boys starring at me. I was in my teenage when girls are in love with the feeling of being in love. And so was I, fallen in love with a classmate whom i used to tease with one of my friend. But when he proposed me with that softness in his eyes and romantic words it was magical for me. He was so refreshingly funny and positive. I loved him, he was my mentor, and he was my best friend.

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Is it love??…i am still confused

Simmakshi (not original)

India

I was in 12 th standard, a pretty looking girl with many proposal and boys starring at me. I was in my teenage when girls are in love with the feeling of being in love. And so was I, fallen in love with a classmate whom i used to tease with one of my friend. But when he proposed me with that softness in his eyes and romantic words it was magical for me. He was so refreshingly funny and positive. I loved him, he was my mentor, and he was my best friend. When he started telling me what to do and what to think, I didn’t see it as a control issue, I just thought it was his way of telling me to take care of myself.
I said a “yes” without any doubt and started my journey of love. It was a beautiful feeling when I first time said “I love you”. Days started passing by and we started being closer and closer and after few months he told to his parents about me and they accepted. I was on the top of the world as I was been treated like a Princess. Sometimes I saw him getting angry on pity issues like: coming late, not calling or forgetting something but then I could manage him. We came closer and closer.
My dreams were all fulfilled and I was the happiest girl. But I dint knew what is ahead of me in my future. I still remember the day when he blasted on me shouting and screaming as I was unable to hear what he was saying on phone and he had to repeat it thrice. That was my first instance of shock and the next day he apologized for his behavior and said he loves me. And things became normal but there was a new phase coming to me. I got habitual to his loud voice on phone. Most of the time I just couldn’t recall my mistake that made him angry and I didn’t knew the reason, but I was too attached to him and did not wanted to let him go and said a sorry every time keeping his ego on top, not even knowing the mistake I made. I don’t know when my relationship turned from “you are amazing” to you are “worthless”.
One day when I was serving him food and he threw the plate off on my face as there was a dust on his plate I couldn’t believe it was real and he did that but there was an apology very next day and he said he loves me. And then series of insult started he hated me talking to my parents, sisters, and friends or going to meet them. He took my life in his hand and I became a doll who did as he said. According to him females were and are meant to serve males and are categorized lower than male, females are meant to stay in male’s foot. Our relationship turned into a hopeless cycle of me trying to change myself and please him and then him complaining about something that made me ‘never quite good enough.’ Conversations were filled with tension. I read so many relationship books, did the counseling, everything he said he needed to make the relationship work, but there was always something else.
I lost my friends and his friends became mine, I forgot my choices and things I liked to eat as it was a culture change where he forced me to eat what he wanted and was in his culture. My life got packed in his ideas and dreams. I lost my personal hood. Now shouting and screaming using the most abusive language that I never thought of was common but was always concluded by saying he loves me. I got use too, to listen that I was a bitch and he had many choices but he selected me as he was pity on me and his biggest mistake in life was to marry me.
I was shattered when I got his first slap on my face more than physically it was a slap on my insight and emotions and may be love, as I was good for nothing and couldn’t take care of his belongings. I din’t even realized when his slaps turned into throwing things like chappals, books and whatever comes in his hand but there was always a sorry after that and saying he loves me. I was always made realize that I do silly mistakes that s why he hits me by my in laws and I should just be perfect so that he is happy. I made efforts to do things that make him happy but he always found a mistake made by me whether it was forgetting a spoon in kitchen while eating or touching him while he was watching T.V as he did not wanted to get disturbed. I think it was the repetitiveness of hearing how stupid and useless I was, that I was never good enough. What I thought didn’t matter, what I wanted wasn’t important, I was never right, I was always wrong.
That day was a nightmare when he asked me about an investment I did in shares and I said I am not aware the details are with my sister in computer as she did the investment for me. He kicked me off, pulled me with my hair and beat me with his hands and foot as how could I be careless of not knowing the investment of 15000 Rs.
My life went into a trauma when he dragged me from the 3rd floor of my house and was pushing me to throw out of the house at night and I was in so much pain that it is difficult to say what was more painful the physical hurt or the mental wound. My reactions only consist of “sorry I made a mistake and will not repeat” even when I always just begged him to tell my mistake so I can correct it the next time. He was too wild when making love as he use to love leaving bites on my body all over, he always said I want to see my sign all over your body and he will bite till I don’t get a black mark that is visible because he loves me and owns me. I started finding ways to avoid having physical intimacy by pretending to sleep early or lying of being in menstruation for longer days. I was tired of those soreness in my life and hated the pain and myself.
His parents played a role of putting me wrong every time and making me realize how many mistakes I make that he becomes angry. Half the problems were because of my mother in law who always wanted him to stay away from me so that he remains close to his mother. I started to talk to myself in mirror and asking why I do so many mistakes. I was feeling as if I have gone mad and so I do these things and started believing I am wrong everywhere.
I got drained of pretending I was fine in front of my parents and my workplace and smiling, I was a bubbly girl who was full of enthusiasm and he made me a different person. I was only happy when I joined a school as a teacher. I trained myself to switch off and on my moods when I went to school. I switched on my happy mode always smiling in school. My school gave me a new life it was my 3 yr of my marriage when I joined school that was a place where I lived myself. My small kids were my stress busters and their immense love made me smile in my life. Everyone in school always gave me compliments of always smiling which I felt good also as I was success in hiding my feelings and I never shared anything with anyone…may be my biggest mistake was ‘smiling’ .
A drastic change came to my life when one of my colleagues saw me crying on phone and asked me about things and I being an introvert which people don’t believe I am, dint share anything with anyone at all, first time pondered my heart in front of him. He talked to me and gave me courage to do something for myself and the strength that he gave me made me realize that I deserve to be happy and I am not wrong. He was an angel to me and I took a big step of leaving the house and came to my parents. My parents had a shock listening to stuff. Firstly my husband came a lot of times to take me back home, he apologized, cried and even tried emotionally blackmailing me but dint work as I was overflowing with the mental and physical torture of last 3 yrs. I took various stupid steps like cutting my hand etc.
And then the blame was put on my shoulders of having an affair with the guy whom I talked. I couldn’t take the shit on my character and did the worst thing of my life. I ate 70 tablets and attempted a suicide. Even today I shiver to think how I ate those 70 tablets as getting any other option for suicide was not possible. I thought nothing will happen as there were no symptoms and I was normal. And I don’t know when I slept and I just remember those few seconds I woke up without my breath, I was just unable to breathe and was shivering I went subconscious and in those few seconds I encountered death so closely. When I opened my eyes I was in hospital with lot of wires on my body and still taking the name of my husband. I recovered slowly physically, mentally and with the police case.
Firstly my parents were not ready to send me back but the question lived with me but then sooner they changed their opinion. Still we applied for a divorce and went to the court to sign after few months, but I couldn’t sign and refused to sign that was my second mistake. His apologies made me weaker and people around me asked me to give him chance as he deserves. Even today I feel that I never wanted to give him second chance but may be the faces of my parents and constant hammering of people to give him a second chance as he deserves, made me take a decision to go back. I still remember when I said to a friend that “once i will go back I will never be able to take such a step again”.
A new journey with lot of promises started I clarified expectations and today I am living with him and we have got the VISA to go abroad. But the scenarios dint change for me and my nightmare has become worse. In the beginning he had the fear of me leaving him so he was a perfect husband but slowly his anger and ego won the battle. He made efforts on not raising his hand and not to use the abusive language but all in vain. I always wanted my husband to sit and talk to solve problems and tried hard to make him understand even asked to go to a counselor for couple of sessions to make this relation work but I could not change his thinking and saying I need a psychologist and not him because I am at fault.
Even today I don’t know what mistake I did when he screech using the abusive and horrible language and now sometimes I feel he enjoys giving me pain but always says he loves me. I always ask myself that even if I am making a mistake than is it so big that he really need to smack me the ways he does. I know he has no respect for me. I expected he will not hit me at least from the past lesson but this interpretation was proven wrong very soon. I still try to avoid and create excuses to escape from physical intimacy and fear nights. When he hit me again after my coming back he apologized the very next day and treated me like a princess making me feel everything is normal and saying he loves me which has become a cycle.
Whenever he shouts and uses those words my head goes to toss and I have started having spasm which makes my whole left side pain and it just stops working sometimes. But I am still unable to take decision of going with him abroad or leaving him, I don’t know why. May be the I am scared to leave him, I fear him and the situation that arose when I left him I was linked with other people, so I fear that if I don’t have him in my life than my talking to a male person will also be interpreted wrong. Or I just don’t have the courage…. I forgive him for hurting me so badly…I think, but the fear of him hurting me again, or just lying to me to make things better and saying he loves me eats to me.
I have again started talking to myself looking in the mirror as now again I don’t have anyone to talk to and share which I had before as I lost my friend in these mess ups and he left the job place and went away, I think I disturbed his life a lot too with mine. I always linger to talk to someone with whom I can just share my heart without thinking and ponder out my mind and thoughts and someone just listens. I am unable to discuss things with anyone and just talk out my heart as fear of being taken wrong again by people stops me. And may be so I am writing my story here as I am badly in need to talk to someone and cry hugging someone tight… so writing may solve my purpose and make me feel stronger from inside and it may give me the answer to my question – Is it love??

Is it love??...i am still confusedSimmakshi, India

Violence and abuse have been a part of my life since I can remember. I was beaten through out my childhood by my mother who constantly told me she wished I was never born. I had been molested as a child, rapped as a teen. My entire life up till then was nothing but abuse, then I became an adult. That is when the adult version of abuse came. After I got out of the military, I got pregnant and was forced to marry the father by my father. Through out the entire time we were “together” he sexually and emotionally abused me.

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Waking Up!

Leila

San Antonio, TX

Violence and abuse have been a part of my life since I can remember. I was beaten through out my childhood by my mother who constantly told me she wished I was never born. I had been molested as a child, rapped as a teen. My entire life up till then was nothing but abuse, then I became an adult. That is when the adult version of abuse came. After I got out of the military, I got pregnant and was forced to marry the father by my father. Through out the entire time we were “together” he sexually and emotionally abused me. Never physically hurt me, he was an avid adulterer, as if it was a hobby to him. I finally left, but in that I lost everything, including my children. I wasnt financially capable of fighting and wasnt able to get any legal help from anywhere, trust me I tried. At that point I fell into a downward spiral, my internal turmoil begain to boil over, I fell into drugs and alcohol, my first relationship after that was so violent, he broke my nose several times, ribs and scarred me in several places with multiple black eyes. After that one came the next one, this one liked to kick me with steel toed boots after he would beat me down, then came the third one. This one was different, his abuse was strictly emotional.

I finally, walked away from all relationships for awhile. Then I met my current, the begining of this relationship was extremely violent, then the light was turned on. The realization that maybe I contributed to the violence through my behavior. My tendency to get so sick and tired of things that I would blow up. when trying to get my point across, I yelled. I had to stop the cycle. I am still in the last relationship, I still struggle with my temper, but I have learned to control it. I have also decided that if these relationships don’t meet my needs, instead of getting frustrated I need to make the decision to leave it. His violence has stopped thank goodness to to the court system. He is an alcoholic and temporarily can not drink, but when that stops, will I have the patience to “put up” with it again. Ladies, abuse and violence in your life, entirely is your decision, stay or go. You decide whether or not you will “put up” with it. I share my story because some of us are in this same boat, you see a slim ray of light, the temporary satisfaction that maybe this is the end. Maybe it is, maybe it isnt. History has proven to us though through the ages, that it ALWAYS repeats itself. Only we can change our own history.

Waking Up!Leila, San Antonio TX

Whether she is a Cover Girl or coat check girl, every female has a chance of becoming a victim of domestic violence if she does not heed the warning signs.

I was so saddened to hear the recent news that R&B star Rihanna has “softened” the restraining order – almost two years to the day- that resulted from the beating by Chris Brown. But their incident merely casts a glaring celebrity spotlight on a topic that affects 1 in 4 women at some point in their lives.

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Life Coach & Dressmaker

Felicia Coley

New York

Whether she is a Cover Girl or coat check girl, every female has a chance of becoming a victim of domestic violence if she does not heed the warning signs.

I was so saddened to hear the recent news that R&B star Rihanna has “softened” the restraining order – almost two years to the day- that resulted from the beating by Chris Brown. But their incident merely casts a glaring celebrity spotlight on a topic that affects 1 in 4 women at some point in their lives.

I was one of the fortunate; in the summer of 2006, I literally walked away from a thriving career, posh address and my entire shoe collection in New York City. Why? Because my spirit knew that the pre-abusive behavior of my boyfriend was not healthy.

In doing so, I have been sifted, where all “earthly possessions” were removed from my world. The blessing through it all has revealed my true worth. It also lead me to publish my first book titled, “How To Stylishly Fall From Grace: Revelations From My Perfectly-Flawed Life”.

I would love to share my book’s story; although it is written as a fictional memoir, it is loosely based on my life. And while I was going through the fall, I thought all was lost. Seeing Rihanna’s beautiful face battered lets me know how truly blessed I was to remove myself from an impending situation before it came to that.

A portion of the sale of each book will benefit Say NO UNiTE To End Violence, a chapter of UNIFEM that strives to eradicate violence against women all over the world. Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman presented over 5 million signatures (as part of the Say No To Violence Campaign) to the UN Secretary General on November 25th, 2009. I rejoice in knowing I am giving “heeling power” to woman affected by domestic violence.

I pray that Rihanna finds the strenght to stay away from Chris for good. If my book can help save just one woman from winding up like Rihanna, my journey was worth every stumble-

Because “shoes to die for” should never be part of a woman’s epitaph…

Gracefully Yours,

Felicia Coley
Author of the Book, “How To Stylishly Fall From Grace”
Available on Amazon and at My E-Store

My Real-Life Head Over Heels ExperienceFelicia Coley, New Yorkwellheeledsociety@yahoo.com

My story is a bit different as I just recently left an abusive lesbian relationship. Most people see me as strong and invicible as I am very athletic and a formidible road/trail/obstacle course racer (running). I let my abusive partner isolate me from my family and friends and I let her pull me away from one of the most important things in my life–running/racing. She belittled me, degraded me, yelled at me, toyed with my emotions, used my insecurities against me and ended up physically abusing me in the end.

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Treading Water

Anonymous

San Antonio, Texas

My story is a bit different as I just recently left an abusive lesbian relationship. Most people see me as strong and invicible as I am very athletic and a formidible road/trail/obstacle course racer (running). I let my abusive partner isolate me from my family and friends and I let her pull me away from one of the most important things in my life–running/racing. She belittled me, degraded me, yelled at me, toyed with my emotions, used my insecurities against me and ended up physically abusing me in the end. I tried for months to break up with her, but her harrassing phone calls and unscheduled personal visits made it easier to just agree to re-uniting with her, that is, until May 2010. I am still trying to put my life back together and now I have more good days than bad, but I still feel as if I am stagnant–treading water. I still doubt myself and I still lose my motivation and I still feel as if I am unworthy of anything good. I don’t know if I am ready to fully come out with my story, but I feel this right here is a very important step for me. . .I am thankful for having found this organization. . .

Treading WaterAnonymous, San Antonio TX

Life is a changing commodity. It can change at any time. Not all abuse relationships start out in a negative light. I was married for (21) years and it was not until the very end of those years that the rage finally appeared. I was married to a Peace Officer, one who upholds the law and does not abuse it. In this case, it was different. I am sure there are other stories out there just the same. My story ended the night he took his city issued glock to my head and threaten to shoot.

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Life Coach & Dressmaker

Anonymous

San Antonio, Texas

Life is a changing commodity. It can change at any time. Not all abuse relationships start out in a negative light. I was married for (21) years and it was not until the very end of those years that the rage finally appeared. I was married to a Peace Officer, one who upholds the law and does not abuse it. In this case, it was different. I am sure there are other stories out there just the same. My story ended the night he took his city issued glock to my head and threaten to shoot. The only words I could think of in that moment were..”Go ahead, do it!”…how do we get to that point when all you want is to end the suffering. I had angels with me that night. I am here today with a stronger will and a definite bite to encourage other women that what may seem to be the end is only in your hands of will. I won that battle that day and went on to divorce him. I started a new outlook on life and I silently thanked him for giving me the will to never let it happen to me again. Life however has a journey for us. Six years later I re-married. A different gentleman in every aspect. I thought the world of him and for the first time thought I really did find love. We married. On August 2,2008, thirteen months after a wedded bliss that honeymoon turned into a nightmare of deceit and violence. As I waited at the police station to get photographed for the Women Shelters file, I stood there once again in shame and bewilderment as to how this could happen to me. Where did I fail, where did I go wrong? Time heals the wounds left behind. I know now that it was not failure on my part. Defeat tries to overcome your emotions but again I had angels watching over me. I am empowered with a stronger will. I still encounter the lost souls out there, the men with the controlling personalities as they walk with their strong clinched fist. I ask for strength and wisdom every day to help me walk in another direction.

A Stronger WillAnonymous, San Antonio TX

I am a female.  I’ve been a victim, co-dependent, abused, scared, lonely, threatened, divorced, sick, homeless and almost dead.  But, the best label anyone put on my life was Survivor.  I am a survivor.
I grew up in the Midwest as a country farm girl. Small town living that seems wholesome, where values, morals and family mean more than money.  Well, you know the stuff that Hollywood makes movies about and we believe.  Somehow my existence didn’t follow the prescribed script.

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I Am a Survior

Lori Sears

San Antonio, Texas

 I am a female.  I’ve been a victim, co-dependent, abused, scared, lonely, threatened, divorced, sick, homeless and almost dead.  But, the best label anyone put on my life was Survivor.  I am a survivor.
I grew up in the Midwest as a country farm girl. Small town living that seems wholesome, where values, morals and family mean more than money.  Well, you know the stuff that Hollywood makes movies about and we believe.  Somehow my existence didn’t follow the prescribed script.
My mother and I were victims of abuse by my father. I left home at seventeen on Christmas Day and moved into my own apartment, supporting myself while I finished high school.  I had to leave because I knew someone was going to die if I stayed.  My father had already attempted to kill me during one of his “black rages”.  Nothing fazed him when he was engulfed in a rage and during that particular episode; he had me on the floor, strangling me while my mother was beating him on the head with a frying pan.  The only thing that stopped him was the sound of a bullet being chamber in a bolt action rifle my brother was pointing at his head.  In less than six months, I was gone.
I married one year after graduating from high school to a man that was pretty much a replica of my father. Suffering through emotional abuse, physical violence, infidelity, marital rape and an attempt to kill me, I left him.  During this marriage, I had two daughters and was bound and determined to not let them be abused, as I had been by my own father.  It took the help of a battered women’s shelter and the police to get me out of that house and find safety for my daughters and myself.
Over the next twenty-two years, I bounced in and out of relationships, all with elements of domestic violence. There were good times, but the bad times were bad.  Finally, a few years ago after my first battle with breast cancer, I had my “Ahh Haaa” moment.  Although I had sought a relationship with God most of my life, I bounced in and out of that relationship.  But, God has steadily pursued me all my life, allowing me to live, at times thrive and miraculously survive.  Most recently, God showed himself so big and loving in my life when I survived breast cancer again and when I almost died on the operating table, he made sure I lived. I totally believe God has big plans for me. He has given me strength, character, perseverance and most of all love.  God and I are in a solid relationship today.
Today, I don’t look like I’ve been a victim of abuse, violence or cancer. I don’t look like I’ve worked on a farm, drove a semi-truck all over the United States, and won awards for my success in sales. I just want to help in bringing awareness to domestic violence and I hope reading just a small part of my story contributes to the awareness.
Today, I’m a female, loved by God and a proud Survivor.

Lori Sears
Member since 2009, Little Black Dress Society

I am a SurviorLori Sears, San Antonio TX
My Story

The Little Black Dress Society began with a vision to be a part of a group of women that loved LBDs as much as I do, who wanted to play together, network together, encourage each other and reach beyond self interest in order to make an impact on society by ending the abuse of women.

Since receiving my first LBD at the early age of four, the dress was always special to me; it hangs in a prominent place to remind me of how the vision for LBD Society started and why it is so important to me.

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My Story

Amanda Graybill

Boerne, Texas

The Little Black Dress (LBD) Society began with a vision to be a part of a group of women that loved LBDs as much as I do, who wanted to play together, network together, encourage each other and reach beyond self interest in order to make an impact on society by ending the abuse of women.

Since receiving my first LBD at the early age of four, the dress was always special to me; it hangs in a prominent place to remind me of how the vision for LBD Society started and why it is so important to me.

Given to me by a friend’s mother, my little black dress became, in many ways, a security blanket at a very tumultuous time in my life. My home life had changed when my father became disabled and lost his job, our home, and our social status. That is when the drinking started and my father’s personality changed. I found myself hiding to stay out of the way and covered my ears so I didn’t hear his outbursts of anger toward my mother. My father was a good man who unfortunately reacted the wrong way to a bad situation, which led him to become something he was not. I grew up thinking that was the way a woman was suppose to be treated.

Through a very difficult personal journey and a great support system, I was able to open my eyes, remove the blindfold and believe that I was worthy of love. Finally I mattered, and I had a purpose in my life. As a result, I wrote my book, The Little Black Dress, an inspirational fiction about a young woman who runs away from home looking for love in all the wrong places. It is a story of redemption, restoration and love that gives hope to its readers.

Even after the book was released in 2007 I still had doubts, fears, and unbelief. I am thankful for my family who kept reminding me this is what I am meant to do, and friends who wouldn’t let me give up.

Someone once told me, “Pain pushes you but vision pulls you. Let vision pull you.”

I am so glad I didn’t give up even when it would have been easy to throw in the towel! Because abuse happens. But women matter. Period.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers. Every woman’s story is different. However, I know my story and I’ve heard countless stories from other women. Coming out on the other side is a journey of healing and restoration.

As the Founder of the Little Black Dress Society, I want women from all walks of life to be able to join hearts and hands and make a difference. Whether a woman lives in a large metropolitan city like Seattle, Washington or a small rural town like Comfort, Texas, she is able to be a part of something bigger than herself.

The Little Black Dress Society is for all women, because we all know someone that has been touched by abuse. We are a “Society” of women who love LBD’s, making new friends, networking, laughing, crying, supporting one another by sharing our own struggles and triumphs, and impacting women’s lives touched by abuse.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” ~Vince Lombardi

I hope that my battlefield is exhausting and lying beside me are many other women in their little black dresses!

Amanda Graybill, Founder

My StoryAmanda Graybill, Boerne TX