The Youngstown woman told her story to the Youngstown Mayor's Task Force on Crime and Violence Prevention.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Cheryl Bass-Foster of Youngstown grew up watching her father beat her mother on a regular basis, thinking it was perfectly normal.
She would see her father chasing her mother down the street with a gun or watch as another man in her Detroit neighborhood beat his wife into near unconsciousness.
"We thought it happened to everyone," Bass-Foster said. "It was normal in my neighborhood."
But the scars of those experiences do not always heal, she said.
Her life: Bass-Foster did not want to live the life of her mother, but ended up marrying a man who beat her. It was after her husband tried to kill her with a hatchet and destroyed their house that Bass-Foster realized she needed to change her life.
She foundered for a while. But after discovering God, Bass-Foster said she was able to turn her life around.
Bass-Foster runs A Quality of Life Ministries, which helps local victims of domestic violence. She told her story today to the Youngstown Mayor's Task Force on Crime and Violence Prevention.
Bass-Foster, an 18-year Youngstown resident, has also published five books about her experiences as a domestic violence victim and the long-term impact it has on women.
As a victim, Bass-Foster said she had no self-esteem and thought it would be better for her if she were dead. The violence also impacted her daughter, who suffered from depression and had trouble learning because of the experience.
What changed: But after accepting God into her life, Bass-Foster said she discovered she had worth, compassion and ability.
She also decided that by sharing her experiences with others through her books and ministry, she could help them.
"God has used my pain to help others going through similar situations," she said.
Today, Bass-Foster is enjoying the 10th year of marriage to her second husband, and her daughter graduated from college and works for Community Corrections Association Inc.
"It took a long time, but I learned how to love again," she said.