The Huffington Post
By Ariel Zwang
April 7, 2016
Jana Kramer, a world recognized actress, country music singer and Dancing with the Stars alum, gave a moving speech at Safe Horizon’s Champion Awards. Journalist Tamron Hall—whose sister Renate was murdered in 2004 after years of relationships with abusive men—presented Jana with Safe Horizon’s Voice of Empowerment award for her efforts to speak out against domestic violence after coming forward as a survivor herself in an exclusive with ABC’s Good Morning America last October.
“It started with little comments here and there. It started with more verbal abuse and then [it became] a push or a shove. And then it became a choke. [Jana thought] if you choke me harder than I am going to leave, but every time I tried to leave… it kept getting worse and I didn’t know how to get out,” she said to a packed house of nearly 900 attendees.
About two minutes into her speech, Jana became silent before recounting the abuse she faced at the hands of her then-husband. Through her tears, she spoke about remaining silent about the abuse she suffered because she feared no one would believe her.
She would also pray to her deceased Grandfather to “‘Please take me away,’ because I didn’t want to be this person. I was a girl full of light, energy and charm and this man just broke me down to absolutely nothing.”
Jana, who began her speech by saying she was initially scared to share her story because she didn’t want to seem broken, ended by saying “I will be the loudest voice for [Safe Horizon], to let other victims and survivors know that even in their darkest moments, help is available and there are better moments ahead.”
Before Safe Horizon’s Champion Awards, Jana visited one of our domestic violence shelters where she was visibly moved by the childcare room. She had the opportunity to meet a small handful of the 1,600 children who last year called one of our eight domestic violence shelters home.
“I have a 14 month old baby girl and I would do anything in the world to protect her, and to go in there and see these beautiful children being protected means the absolute world to me as a mother, and I know the mothers there too [in shelter] are so grateful,” said Jana in her acceptance speech of Safe Horizon’s Voice of Empowerment award.
As the CEO of Safe Horizon, I thank Jana for bravely telling her unforgettable story of surviving domestic violence and using her platform as a celebrity to help the affected women, families and children. Scroll up to watch the speech in full.