In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey will be hosting an evening with Lockey Maisonneuve, author of “A Girl Raised by Wolves,” on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill.
The free event is part of the JFCS Project SARAH, standing for Stop Abusive Relationships At Home, a movement that offers various types of assistance to men and women currently in or still struggling from abusive relationships.
Earlier this year, Project SARAH Case Manager Coordinator Hilary Platt, a Voorhees Township resident, attended a seminar where key note speaker Maisonneuve was speaking about the struggles of her past and childhood. Platt was captivated by both Maisonneuve’s story and her attitude when discussing how she has stayed positive in life afterward.
“She had everyone eating out of the palms of her hands. She was awesome; she’s funny and engaging and so much more,” said Platt. “She’s a beacon of hope and epitomizes the story of being able to heal from trauma and be able to move forward in a healthy way.”
Maisonneuve wrote her book on her true past, having been neglected, abused and sold into sex trafficking by her father, before being saved by her grandparents, only to be battling cancer herself when her mother was murdered.
Now decades later, Maisonneuve says she’s been able to overcome her past demons through discovering ways that work for her personally to decompress and continue to live life to the fullest. More important, she believes, was one key component of her personality.
“I think first and foremost it was my sense of humor,” said Maisonneuve. “If you can’t find humor in something than you’re not healing from it, is my opinion, and I’ve always been able to find something slightly humorous in what’s happened to me throughout my life.”
Having practiced yoga for a number of years, she realized that practicing it had been a meaningful outlet for her to rid the humiliation, regret, embarrassment and more that she had felt herself carry around years after the harrowing events of her early life.
Around 2013, she started talking more with others about what they might be carrying around that haunts them from their past, eventually discovering she could help by leading them to discover ways of surviving trauma they may still struggle with.
While Maisonneuve used yoga, as well as a combination of journaling, therapy, meditation and more, to handle her trauma, she understood that her way wasn’t for all, but that discovering that balance is crucial in the healing process regardless.
“I took a little bit from each practice and was able to create a toolbox of healing modalities that worked for me,” said Maisonneuve. “I noticed that everyone says it’s hard to heal from things, but it’s only hard until you make it easy, and I learned that by going through my own journey.”
Since starting to help others, she’s been able to work with mental health patients, prison inmates, gang members and more by helping to guide them in finding their own mix of activities that can help them recover from trauma.
At the event at the Katz Jewish Community Center on Oct. 24, Maisonneuve will read a portion of her book and briefly tell her story, while also answering questions and offering resources for those affected by domestic abuse.
Platt says she hopes Maisonneuves’ story is successful in showing that there is hope for those struggling with abuse.
“The bad news is that you need an incredible story to get people interested and listening,” said Platt. “The good news is that once people are there, we can show them the various resources we have available, plus her story is so interesting and compelling.”
At the event, the JFCS will have various resources available to respond to those in need. For more information on this free event, the public can register in advance to www.jfcssnj.org/sarah. For more information on Maisonneuve, visit www.lockeymaisonneuve.com/shop.