Community East Edition Local News News West Edition

Women’s conference offers hope, inspiration in 2020

SANTA FE SPRINGS — Seeking inspiration at the dawning of a new year, dozens of women flocked to the Punch Television Studios Jan. 11 to attend the 2020 Clear Vision Women’s Conference where two dynamic motivational speakers, Joy Brown and Somalie Inez, fired up the audience with their dramatic life stories. 

The two speakers’ goals were to impart hope and inspiration to women and to let them know that they can overcome obstacles and reach their dreams despite any roadblocks they may encounter. 

Brown, an author and a prophetess who grew up in the Church of God in Christ, has written an inspirational book, “Stop Cheating Yourself: Seven Steps to a Full Life.” The seven chapters include “Rest,” “Wisdom.” “Understanding,” “Counsel,” “Might,” “Knowledge,” and “The Fear of the Lord and a bonus chapter titled “Fortitude.” 

“I was born into the religious life, but when I was young, I did not fully accept it,” said Brown, who revealed that as a teen she dabbled in drugs and had a child out of wedlock. 

As she matured, Brown turned her life around and made it her mission to write an inspirational book to help others. 

Peppered with Bible verses and quotes from philosophers through the ages, the seven steps outlined in the book are hard-won personal lessons that Brown says serve as a road map to a more serene and productive life. 

“You have more potential than you think,” Brown told the audience. “Life is a mixture of joy and pain. Not until you stretch yourself can you know whether you’re able to handle or achieve anything that is worthwhile. 

“It takes sheer guts to get what you want out of life. Stop cheating yourself and get out of your own way. You can make it only if you reach out from the depths of you. You have to dig from the well inside of you.

“The world is moving faster than the speed of lightning,” Brown pointed out. “Why waste your time on things that will not make you better? Be proactive and weary of inactivity and procrastination. Do the best you can in every area of your life. Challenge yourself no matter how difficult the task,” she said.

“I want to remind you to remember — I want to ignite you. It only takes one match to set a forest on fire,” she said. 

“Reading Joy’s book reminded me to focus and to slow down,” said actress Judi Johnson, mistress of ceremonies for the event. “Her book reminded me to keep the main thing the main thing.” 

Writer/producer, community activist and humanitarian Somalie Inez kept the audience riveted as she recounted her life of trauma, sexual abuse and triumph over adversity. 

Inez has written a script about her tumultuous life titled “Broken Songs” which she hopes will be made into a movie. 

“Have any of you been in an uncomfortable situation that you had no control over and it left you silent?” she asked the audience. “This little girl was about 4 or 5 years old and men loved to inflict pain on her body for pleasure,” Inez recalled, revealing that she was the little girl in her narrative. 

“At 9, she gets gang raped by five men. She tried to fight back, but she was outnumbered.” 

Despite this traumatic event, Inez grew up to marry and have two beautiful children — but soon realized that she was trapped in an abusive relationship. She begged her husband for a divorce. Angered, her husband withdrew all of the money from the bank account and left her broke and destitute. 

Inez said that one day she attended a community block party and a stranger at the event took a particular interest in her. He chatted with her and repeatedly asked her for her phone number, but Inez refused. 

“I did not want to get involved with anyone at that time,” she recalled, “but the man was very persistent.” She relented and gave the man her number. She immediately found that there were more than 50 missed calls from this man. 

“I never picked up the phone because I was not interested in a relationship,” Inez said. “One night, as I am putting the children to bed, who were then 1 and 3 years old, I hear a persistent knock at my door. This 260-pound, 6-2 man found out where I lived and crashed down my front door. 

Inez then described how the man sexually assaulted her twice and then bit her.

The rape resulted in her becoming pregnant

“I fell into a deep depression and became suicidal. One day I was driving and I almost drove off of a cliff. My son cried out ‘Mommy!’ and I pulled the car away from the cliff at the last minute,” she said. 

“I told the doctor that I did not want the baby and I asked for an abortion. The doctor was pro-life and refused. I called an abortion clinic, and they advised me that I was too far along to have an abortion. 

“I found a couple who wanted to adopt the baby — but the rapist was still harassing me and they backed out of the adoption.” 

Inez decided to have the baby. She said that the delivery was difficult. She became paralyzed for four months and went through physical and occupational therapy. 

“I had to learn how to walk all over again,” she recalls. “The rapist was in and out of jail, but he got out and continued to harass me,” Inez said. “I forgave the man who raped me — not for him, but for me so that I would not be an angry, bitter woman and to be a better mother so that I could pour my energy into my children.” 

Inez said that that when the child turned 2 he was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent four surgeries. 

“They had to remove part of his brain,” she said. “Doctors gave him two to five years to live, but he is still here. The doctors are astounded that he is still alive. 

“Physicians around the world have told me that he is a walking miracle and still ask me for parts of his brain tissue. I didn’t tell my son that he was the product of a rape.” 

Inez said she continues to tell her story because she is intent on letting women know that no matter what heartaches or challenges they may face, they can still triumph. 

“I do not consider myself a survivor or a victim. I see myself as a fierce overcomer,” Inez said, adding, “I was protected by God who told me that the trauma that I went through was not punishment. It was to prepare me for my mission and my purpose, which is to reach out to women, children and humanity and to let them know that I’m using my voice to help women who have been inflicted with abuse and violence. 

“I want to let them know that not only do I want them to heal but I want to prevent abuse from continuing to happen. I want my voice to be so loud that it will put fear in people so that they will never inflict pain on another child or woman again.”

By Shirley Hawkins 

Contributing Writer