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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Author reaches out to other victims

By Eric Spikes/reporter

Angela Shelton roars onto NE Campus with a motorcade from the Bikers Against Child Abuse. The author works with victims of abuse and supports organizations such as BACA.  Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian
Angela Shelton roars onto NE Campus with a motorcade from the Bikers Against Child Abuse. The author works with victims of abuse and supports organizations such as BACA. Photo by Brandon Tompkins/The Collegian

Every two minutes in the U.S., a human being is sexually assaulted. One out of every four women has fallen victim before the age of 18; for men, the statistic is one in six.

In this country today are 39 million survivors of sexual abuse, and this number is with the crime remaining the most underreported in America.

The theater on NE Campus held a large crowd for the March 14 presentation from writer/producer/model Angela Shelton, who came to speak about her own victimization and her helping strangers get through situations similar to hers. Most stories on the subject are kept silent, but as far as Shelton is concerned, she wants her story heard.

“This is the way I feel about the world,” she said, before yelling, “AHHHHHH!”

In the next minute, the entire auditorium was standing and screaming.

“We’re gonna get kicked out, fool,” she said jokingly to the audience.

Shelton has become an all-out activist for women and men who are struggling to get past traumatic events of sexual abuse. She has become her own organization dedicated to bringing this problem out into the open.

“No way I’m not going to talk about it,” she said, “because people are in pain.”

Shelton has produced a movie, Searching for Angela Shelton, which shares the stories of other women like her.

When Shelton decided to make a movie, she pitched the idea to HBO. The cable network listened to Shelton’s idea of going across the country and meeting with various women who shared her name, but dropped the idea when an anticipated 2001 writers’ strike never happened. So she was forced to seek funding on her own.

Using AOL Search, she brought up other Angela Sheltons and began calling them, telling them about the movie and asking to visit with them.

After convincing them she was not a telemarketer, the other women began opening up about their own experiences, and a shocking trend turned up.

Shelton said 70 percent of the women she spoke to had been victimized through sexual abuse, domestic violence or rape.

What originally was intended as a comedy turned into something much different. The humor would take a backseat.

She has also written a book called Finding Angela Shelton, which expands on the movie and talks about the healing process. As a credit to her bravery and no-holds-barred originality, Shelton brought humor to the heart-breaking topic.

Like most victims, Shelton said, she did not know how to deal with the “sword,” as she puts it, that was inside of her.

“The sword hurts worse coming out than it did coming in,” she said.

A beautiful and successful person, she still bore self-inflicted wounds and suicidal thoughts.

“I was in a closet beating the hell out of myself,” she said. I wanted to kill myself.”

But e-mails from victims who had heard about her upcoming movie turned it all around. They told her to never give up.

Shelton also said she plans to perform stand-up in the near future and has her own cooking show lined up,Stirring Up Trouble with Angela Shelton.

Shelton’s hometown declared April 29 Angela Shelton Day in honor of her hard work for bringing exposure to something so dark and hidden. Shelton decided to use the date for her Report It Now campaign, and so April 29 is reserved to encourage everyone who has fallen victim to domestic abuse or a sex-related crime to go to their local police station and report it.

More information on this and many other subjects can be found on Shelton’s Web site, www.angelashelton.com.

Interestingly, Angela Shelton is not her real name. She said she picked it at age 18, as a way of distancing herself from her father forever.

“We’re not going to beat ourselves up anymore,” Shelton said to the audience. “Agreed?”

They did.

“It is very rapid in the world … not talked about ever,” Dianca Steward, a NE Campus student, said about sex-related crimes. “You could be sitting by a person and never know. [It’s] great to see someone make a stand.”

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