In 1989, ten-year-old Lakisha Davis-Small was interviewed for a PBS documentary about her DC neighborhood of Shaw.

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To her surprise, the documentary was entitled: “Throw Away People.” And much like her neighborhood, once overrun by drugs and violence, Davis-Small has reinvented herself; a domestic and sexual abuse survivor she’s now out to prove there’s no such thing as a throwaway person.

“I don't' accept that label, but I will use it as a platform to let people know you are not what people say you are you're only what you believe you are,” said David-Small.

But that confidence took years to build after one moment that broke her spirit. “At five years old, I was sodomized, which is rectal rape, by an adult cousin who was left to babysit me.”

She said that led to a cycle of abusive relationships, “I am a woman who has sat with a man who says ‘hey I'm going to kill you and then kill myself and I'm not playing. Not only that, I will hide your body before I kill myself so your family will not find you.’”

But she survived and is now helping others find hope and healing.

“I started a movement called Stop Stealing our Souls, putting an end to sexual exploitation,” she said.

Davis-Small wrote a book; Your Deliverance is Coming. She is also working with DC leaders on a District-wide rally on April 28, 2018, to inform and educate people about domestic and sexual abuse.

It’s a conversation that she hopes to take out of the headlines and into the homes of every DC family. “It's a disease like cancer, but if you don't find treatment, or discuss it, it keeps perpetuating itself, and that's what's happening,” she explained.