As a development professional for more than 17 years, I have worked with many celebrity guests and speakers; very few have captivated an audience and motivated the community to action like Janine Latus. As keynote speaker for the 2017 Women Against Violence luncheon, Janine took us along her tumultuous journey of sexual assault, violence, murder and ultimate survival. We sometimes forget how powerful words can be, until we hear someone as inspirational as Janine Latus. I was fortunate to see this firsthand when Janine’s words encouraged a guest at my table to speak out about her abuse and seek help. If not for Janine’s powerful delivery as a narrator, this young woman may have returned home to continued physical abuse or worse. Janine’s life experiences and the way she enthralls her audience reminds us why we chose to work in this field and continue to push that much harder to eradicate violence in all forms.

Tom HigginsDevelopment DirectorSamaritan HouseVirginia Beach, VA