Founder and Executive Director
My message to Woman Living with PTSD...
"I know how hard it is for a woman to recover from going through one tragedy after another first hand. We may not get over it but we can make it through it. It's very unfortunate but every day is a blessing for me to have lived through it all and be here to make a difference in another woman's life, so she can get help and information to resources early on and not let PTSD take over her life!"
Ms. Bender was born in San Francisco; resided in Oakland California 1974. The Youngest of two Brothers and one sister being raised by a single Mother and Family who instilled her with faith, love, strength and courage. Ms. Bender believes that life is a one time gift to everyone on this earth. "Life is love, respect and following your dreams no matter what obstacles are in your way and helping others who are less fortunate."
In 1991 Ms. Bender suffered the loss of her child's father due to a senseless act of gun violence in Oakland California (gun violence statistics). Ms. Bender was pregnant at the time of her unborn child's father tragic death. Coping with the loss of her child's father, being a single mother by force and trying to continue pursuing dreams and goals was a very big challenge but very possible because of her will, determination and faith that as time go on the emotional wounds left behind would eventually heal.
In 1993, less than two years after going through one tragic event Ms. Bender was sexually assaulted at gun point in Oakland California. She tried her best to hold on mentally constantly reminding herself of the faith, love, strength and courage her family instilled in her from childhood but it had become overwhelming and unbearable. Ms. Bender's eldest sister noticed early signs of PTSD and took the initiative to seek further help for her sister that was a few years later in fact diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Paying attention to the signs, noticing her sisters emotional behavior changes, regular psychotherapy sessions provided by The Victims of Crime of California, intensive psychiatric evaluations and follow-up care helped Ms. Bender regain her will and determination to rebuild her life once again after suffering one tragedy after another.
"I almost gave up on my own life, I felt myself not caring about people anymore and beginning to have an I don't give a f**k attitude because I was mad that years had be taken from my life and I wanted it back. I didn't feel safe in the Cities I was born and raised in, I was ashamed and embarrassed to call the Bay Area my home. I refuse to run away or become another statistic, I knew that wasn't the life God had planned for me, and trying to forget about it wasn't an option. I'm stuck with PTSD for the rest of my life but I will not let it take control of my future."
In 1997 Ms. Bender felt she had enough strength to start life again, this time with a far greater dream and goal which was to start her own charitable organization that would help women who suffer from the same loss. In this year she started taking steps in making a dream come true and wrote a children's book dedicated to her daughter, who at the time was undergoing therapy to cope with the loss of her father whom she never had the chance to be held by. The book titled The Night Before Halloween was one of Ms. Bender's ways to start funding her own Non-Profit Organization The Women with a Dream Foundation.
The Women with a Dream Foundation started in 1997, with no funding but Ms. Bender was not going to let funding be the reason she couldn't start networking and making a positive difference, so she continued to communicate with a number of women who supported her plans and in 2002 the group received recognition in The Oakland Tribune as a "Powerful Force" within the community!
"I'm a PTSD Survivor, I want to help others with PTSD by teaming up to raise social and community awareness to educate people, so they can have a clear understanding about different forms of PTSD. It's not just something veterans get when they come home from war, it's not a crazy peoples disease and no one is immune."
At this time there is no cure for PTSD, so as survivors we need to break the cycle and stop the missed guided information about the disorder making people think that it's a crazy persons disease! As PTSD Survivors we can help those who are Living with PTSD, and together we can help support in finding solutions for healing and balance while making a positive difference in our communities.
PTSD Survivors who want to be a part of helping medical/ science professionals study the key matters, focus group research and surveys in order to give effective solutions that would give highly successful results. Who better to help in finding a cure or PTSD than those who are SURVIVORS of it?
Ms. Bender is still striving to build a solid foundation that will stand strong long after she's gone... "No matter what you've been through I believe empowerment starts in the home. If we empower women in the community they can empower the family at home. Women give birth to men and women, we're the nurturers, so if we empower the woman in that broken home she can have enough love, strength, education and guidance to raise a healthy family which in turn will have a major impact in rebuilding our communities."
We are... Women of Love, Self-Determination, Strength and Motivation.
"No matter what you been through, I believe empowerment starts in the home. If we empower women in the community they can empower the family at home. Women give birth to men and women, we're the nurturers, so if we empower the woman in that broken home she can have enough love, strength, education and guidance to raise a healthy family which in turn will have a major impact in rebuilding our communities."
What also helped Ms. Bender was and still is the sound of empowering music!
"No one knew what I was going through, so listening to the right song made me feel better and at peace. Rather it was a song the dj played, a poem spoken by a strong voice, a dance performed by a group of ballerinas, a movie based on a true story or a painting from a passionate artist, the undying feeling of freedom I got from art and entertainment has always helped me feel empowered and not, so much a victim anymore."
This website is dedicated to everyone who is against violence, hate and discrimination. We need to do our part to restore our communities, define ourselves and our youth. We must build positive relationships with them spiritually and culturally before they no longer believe in themselves. Community reconstruction and participation is the key! This is a call for our youth to unite and build a sense of community. This is a call for adults to begin to help their children pursue their dreams, meet their goals and become their own positive forces in the community. We must have a mutual understanding with them but the power of that will be that of the community. Our focus is not just for those who suffer from the loss of a loved one due to the senseless act of gun violence anymore!
Ladies Luv Music Entertainment Group want to empower people through art and entertainment because it's a universal language that we all share and it has the power to unite different cultures bringing people together from all across the world. Teamwork Make The Dream Work...