Testimonials of abuse, hit home for audience

She was kidnapped at 15 and tied to a bedpost while her ex-boyfriend repeatedly beat her.Her voice cracks as she tells the story that ended in her abuser shooting at her. She speaks slowly with a light sense of fear, as if reliving the incident.The woman’s story was featured in a film, shown during a domestic violence seminar, “A Woman’s Worth” Thursday.The event, a part of S.I.S.T.U.H.S. week, attracted a diverse group and featured presentations from the Refuge House, an emergency shelter for domestic violence and rape victims and their children.The center provides several programs for its residents, including counseling, support groups and children’s services.The film, “Sister I’m Sorry,” featured monologues by famous male actors, including Blair Underwood, Michael Beach, Thomas Mikal Ford, Howard Hewitt and others, apologizing to women who have been abused. Some members of the audience struggled to hold back tears as dozens of women on the film, identified by first name only, gave real-life testimonials of their fights to overcome the bruises from physical abuse, the loneliness of abandonment, the pain of divorce and the agony from incest.Debbie, whose husband divorced her after seven years of marriage, said she felt neglected and betrayed.”When someone doesn’t want you, you feel horrible,” Debbie said.”I’m from a divorced family, so I never wanted to be divorced. I feel disposed of, a lot of anger and bitter because he wasn’t in for a commitment. I feel like I have no power in my life.”The shame Jamie said she experienced by having an abortion could not compare to the pain of going through the ordeal alone. “He was a charmer and charmed his way into my bedroom. He promised that he would not ejaculate inside of me, but he did,” Jamie said. “When I found out I was eight weeks pregnant, I was in disbelief. He wasn’t there mentally, physically or financially. I felt empty.”Veda’s grandfather began sexually abusing her when she was just 4 years old. “I would tell my grandmother what he used to do. She wouldn’t say anything because my grandfather was very abusive and my uncle would just laugh.”The years Veda suffered in silence proved just as damaging as the abuse.”I didn’t tell anybody. Eventually my uncle told me that my grandmother told him what his father had done to me,” Veda said. “I was embarrassed but it was a relief.”Veda began talking to her uncle about the abuse, hoping to seek closure from her past. Unfortunately, the solace she found in her uncle was short lived.”He tried to rape me,” Veda said. As Veda tried to pick up the pieces of a broken childhood, her healing process was once again halted by the discovery that another relative was a victim of incest.”I always envied the relationship my uncle had with his little girl, but I found out that he was molesting his daughter.” For Teniese Stubbs, 19, a sophomore healthcare management student from West Palm Beach, the seminar hit home.”My mother died two years ago from internal infection caused by domestic violence,” Stubbs said. “She was pregnant and her boyfriend beat her up. Her kidneys were the first to go, she had a miscarriage and then she had a heart attack. “Watching the movie was very emotional for me because I’ve experienced the effects first-hand,” Stubbs said.Students who wish to volunteer with the Refuge House can call (850) 922-6062.