"One of our long-time male supporters, said that he had never really quite understood the dynamics of domestic violence until he heard Taylor speak."
Taylor Armstrong starred in the hit Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Debuting to critical acclaim in 2011, the Beverly Hills franchise won a Critic's Choice Television Award for the success of its inaugural season.
But Armstrong had her own drama, and behind the glamorous façade of The Real Housewives she hid a dark secret: her husband, Russell, had been physically, verbally, and emotionally abusing her for years. Following the familiar pattern of many domestic violence survivors before her, Armstrong had also witnessed domestic violence in her home as a young child - the abuse of her mother at the hands of her father. Thankfully, she was able to break the cycle of violence; after six years of abuse with Russell, she found the courage to leave. Tragically, soon after Russell took his own life. Armstrong and her young daughter, Kennedy, found themselves starting over while the whole world watched.
Armstrong has been interviewed on Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, E!, Extra, Access Hollywood, Rachael Ray, Wendy Williams, and Watch What Happens Live, as well as dozens more, including local programs across the country. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, People magazine, US Weekly, Life & Style, In Touch, OK!, The Hollywood Reporter, The Enquirer, and others.
Taylor authored the book, Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss and Finding the Courage Within, an autobiographical account of Armstrong's life and personal experience with domestic violence, which became a New York Times bestseller. A longtime advocate for victims of domestic violence, she has been a volunteer and a spokesperson for the 1736 Family Crisis Center for nearly seven years. She recently established The Taylor Armstrong Foundation in order to further her mission; the foundation works to raise awareness, educate the public, and help victims recover and reinvent their lives.
Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss & Finding the Courage Within
In this captivating talk, Taylor Armstrong relates the deeply personal story of how she found herself in a relationship of inequality, her struggle with both deep love and fear of her husband, and how she summoned the courage from within to finally leave him. In her characteristic witty, lighthearted manner, Armstrong also shares illuminating - and even humorous - anecdotes, both about life (good and bad) with her husband, as well as her experiences as a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where she often found herself battling with friends who struggled to understand the extent of her abuse. Armstrong shares:
Contributing factors in creating a relationship based in domestic violence - self-esteem issues, financial inequality, and abuse - and how to recognize when you or a friend may be in an unhealthy relationship.
Insights for friends and family of domestic abuse survivors who may not understand the complicated relationship between abuser and abused. Armstrong illustrates this with stories from her experience on Real Housewives, where many of her own close friends questioned the abuse because she still expressed love for her husband.
The importance of finding one's voice and the courage from within to get out of an abusive relationship.
This is a must-hear speech for anyone whose life has been touched by domestic abuse, from survivors and family members to support professionals.
"If I could have a speaker like Taylor every year, I would never worry again about our Luncheon being successful – she truly was the best speaker we have ever brought in (this was our 6th year) and I’m not sure there is anyone we can bring in next year to top her."
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