Part 2 Antoinette White: Recounting Her Pain and Abuse to Empower Other Women
Despite heartbreaking experiences in the early years of her life, Antoinette White is a survivor who is dedicated to helping others. She didn’t get sidetracked by a childhood of poverty and sexual abuse, or by an early adulthood that included homelessness and a close encounter with domestic violence. Learning from her hardships, Antoinette now is an accomplished entrepreneur, empowerment coach, motivational speaker and self-published author who is dedicated to helping other women and girls prepare for life’s unpredictable journey. Her Mission to Motivate firm helps women through self-esteem rituals and resilience training, while also encouraging self-forgiveness and healing from past experiences. Antoinette has traveled across the U.S. and beyond to help transform the lives of women and girls with her inspiring message about survival, self-love and life preparedness. In her book Who’s Protecting Me? she tells how she overcame the many obstacles she has faced. In this second of three stories, Antoinette White continues to share her inspiring story with BeGeorgeous during an interview with writer/editor Lynn Norment.
BeGeorgeous: Considering your challenges of sexual abuse, poverty and homelessness, many women would have given up and fallen by the wayside. You went on to establish a successful life for you and your sons. To what do you credit your inner strength and resolve?
Antoinette: I had some cheerleaders in my life for encouragement, both directly and indirectly, but I believe you said it best: I was blessed with incredible “inner strength.”
BeGeorgeous: What are you passionate about?
Antoinette: I want every little girl or woman out here who is/was abused to know they are not alone, and it’s not their fault!
BeGeorgeous: What has been your biggest challenge?
Antoinette: I’ve had many challenges and I’m not quite sure how to measure them and tell you which is the biggest. My challenges have been: overcoming sexual abuse by a family member, my sister’s death, being homeless and going to bed hungry while pregnant, and being a single mother and raising four children (my kids and my sister’s children).
BeGeorgeous: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Antoinette: Again, I am grateful for the many accomplishments God has blessed me with: raising my two children and assisting my mom with raising my sister’s two children, earning my MBA, and publishing my memoir, Who’s Protecting Me?
BeGeorgeous: What makes you angry?
Antoinette: When I hear stories of little girls telling their moms that they were sexually abused and the moms either don’t believe them, continue to stay with the perpetrator, or ask the child what she did to cause the abuse. That makes me angry!
BeGeorgeous: What gives you joy?
Antoinette: To know I made a difference in at least one person’s life.
BeGeorgeous: What inspires you?
Antoinette: To hear of others who overcame adversities and are doing extremely well – like Oprah, Tyler Perry, Iyanla Vanzant, J. K. Rowling. It gives me hope to keep going, and eventually I will reach the masses. Another inspiration I would like to share … I spoke at a junior high school. After I shared my story, I opened the floor for Q&As. One little girl raised her hand and said that during the previous year after I had spoken at the school, her sister went home and told their mom the stepdad was abusing her. Relieved, I said, “Okay, great!” She then said, “He’s in jail now.” I couldn’t hold my tears back, and the teacher couldn’t either. It was at that moment I started feeling that I am doing the right thing by sharing my stories … and they’re listening!
BeGeorgeous: If you had an opportunity to do something over again, what would that be?
Antoinette: Although I believe everything I went through is divine order and made me the person I am today, one of the things I would have done was pursue my education first. I always wanted to attend an HBCU.