Before Katy Perry took to the stage with her inspiring ‘By the Grace of God' Grammy performance, Brooke Axtell, a victim of domestic violence moved the audience with her speech ‘Your Voice Will Save You,’ sharing her personal story of triumph over abuse.
Axtell was trafficked for sex by her male nanny when her mother was in a hospital and her father was traveling for work. She was bound by chains in a basement, where she was raped and filmed, an experience that traumatized her for years. Years later, she found herself in another abusive relationship, but this time with her boyfriend. She was stunned when he began to abuse her.
“I believed he was lashing out because he was in pain, and needed help,” said Axtell. “I believed my compassion could restore him and our relationship. My empathy was used against me. I was terrified of him and ashamed I was in this position. “
After opening up with her mother, she was encouraged to seek help at a local shelter, a conversation that would change her life.
“Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame, or abuse,” said Axtell. “If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honor or respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love.”
Axtell didn’t let her past circumstances define her and is now a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) and also works in a local domestic violence shelter.
Katy Perry immediately followed her speech with an emotional performance of ‘By The Grace of God,’ from her fourth studio album ‘Prism,’ a song about finding strength and standing up for yourself. Many are calling this song the Anti-Domestic Violence anthem.