PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — LaQuisha Anthony’s passion is making sure women have space to speak out.
“Many survivors feel like it’s their fault,” says Anthony, who is founder of Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences, or V.O.I.C.E. “And then sometimes, they can’t even accept that this thing happened to them.”READ MORE: Mother Of Ahmir Jones, Teen Killed Protecting Girlfriend During Robbery Near Temple University, Speaks Out
V.O.I.C.E. is a support network for those who have suffered sexual abuse.
“It comes from my own experiences,” she says.
Anthony says she was molested as a child. She was later sexually assaulted as a freshman in college. She kept the incident secret until she learned she was pregnant.
“I was very shameful, I was suicidal,” says Anthony, who was 19 at the time. “But, knowing I was pregnant, I told my family.”
She says her parents supported her decision to have an abortion, but her grandmother asked the question: “did this really happen or did you just get pregnant?”
Anthony also suffered additional trauma, her mother took sick and her grandmother was hit by a car, all within days of her reveal. So she buried the experience.
“I lived in a nightmare for 12 years,” says Anthony. “Literally I cried every single day.”READ MORE: First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Reported In Philadelphia
She attributes her healing to her faith and the counseling she received at Women Organized Against Rape.
“Going to WOAR was the best decision I ever made,” she says. “I didn’t know my own strength at that time. Now I know, ‘Quisha you can handle anything.'”
Anthony, who is an educator by trade, volunteered at WOAR for three years. She then came on board as an education and training specialist.
Today she also serves as Vice President for Battle for Children’s Charities and mentors youth at Mothers in Charge.
“To keep youth from leading down the same path I did from the trauma I was experiencing,” says Anthony.
V.O.I.C.E. supports about 250 women, some from as far away as Kenya. They reach out to Anthony because they know she understands. She’s changing the game, one voice at a time.
“Because I started with sharing my story,” she says, “it’s such a rewarding experience.”MORE NEWS: 21-Year-Old Eddie Rodriguez Killed In Road Rage Shooting On Roosevelt Boulevard, Police Say
For more on V.O.I.C.E. go to asurvivorsvoice.org.