Survivor Feature: Ladonna Roberts
I am so excited for this new year and more opportunities to tell the stories of survivors across the world. To kick off the first Survivor Feature of 2021, I reached out to someone that I've had the pleasure of serving with for the past 3 years through her nonprofit, the Austin Tyler Foundation. I was blown away when I first heard her story at an awareness event, but even moreso inspired by her strength. Pretty Lane community, meet Ladonna Roberts.
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Ladonna Roberts (formerly Wilkerson) and I am an Investigations Manager with the Department of Public Health/Office of Inspector General and the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Austin Tyler Foundation, Incorporated. I am a VICTOR of domestic violence and I established Austin Tyler Foundation in honor of my loving son, Austin Tyler Hayslip.
Share your testimony:
I am an actual face of domestic violence. Unfortunately, my personal story and cycle ended tragically. At the age of 31, my son's father, the man who asked me to marry him, shot both me, and our four year old son, Austin Tyler. Austin was shot to death on September 21, 2004 while standing with me outside the Dougherty County Pre-K building in Albany, Georgia. My estranged boyfriend at the time, an on-duty police officer, who had taken an oath to protect and serve, was upset because I planned to move to Atlanta. Enraged, he shot me, our son, and then killed himself.
Such a tragic story. I'm so thankful for your testimony. Often times, women blame themselves for what happens to them. How did you overcome the guilt and shame many face in situations like yours?
I had to forgive myself and walk into my truth no matter how it looked to someone else.
What does it mean to you to be a Survivor and what advice would you give someone going through a similar situation?
Survivor means that I am an overcomer of a life tragic event. I would tell anyone to SPEAK OUT! Tell at least one person you know what you're going through.
What is your favorite quote/affirmation and why?
My favorite scripture is Psalms 147:3 "He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds." God showed me this scripture during my recovery.
Faith is really important to me. It's the only way I can get through tough situations. How has faith played a role in your journey?
Faith has been the foundation of my journey. If it were not for my faith, I do not know where I would be today.
Share anything you think the readers would like to hear.
God showed me 3 things needed to overcome any obstacle in life, my obstacle was domestic violence: 1) a relationship with Him, 2) Identifying the problem, and 3) Support. These were the things that got me to where I am today.
I have had the pleasure of serving with Ladonna in various capacities to impact the community through her nonprofit, the Austin Tyler Foundation. She believes that we can start with awareness while making prevention a priority. Please consider supporting her upcoming initiatives.