Journalist & Author
In April 2002, Janine Latus’s youngest sister, Amy, wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer. “Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved,” it read, “but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways. Based on his criminal past, writing this out just seems like the smart thing to do. If I am missing or dead this obviously has not protected me...” Read More >
TEDTalk: We Need to Talk
I Didn't Save Amy
A Story of Domestic Violence
Are your frontline workers burned out? Do you want your donors to dig deeper? In her I Am Why presentation, Ms. Latus tells a story so compelling that it reminds audience members why they do the hard work they do. Audience members will leave appreciated and recharged.
It's time to find the courage to tell our stories so that other people have permission to tell theirs, because the old idea that what happens in the home should stay in the home is getting us killed, and the belief that a victim of sexual assault should feel shame leaves rapists free to rape again. By telling the truth we connect with others, so that they're no longer isolated as they try to identify and escape from abuse or intervene to help someone else. By telling our stories we empower those who follow our lead, whether they're students, potential donors or employees. The bottom line is simple: we need to talk.
"Our audience was diverse including nationally prominent philanthropists, university students, gender and women's studies scholars, and a diverse cross-section of leaders from our local community. Janine spoke to all of them with a presentation that told her story, helped us all feel the presence of her sister Amy, who lost her life to intimate partner violence, and provided guidance about warning signs related to unhealthy or dangerous relationships. She is not only a great speaker, but wise and sensitive about how to tackle difficult topics with her audience. This was a talk that can save lives."
"Janine is an incredible speaker with a story that captivated a room of nearly 900 professional women at our annual Women Who Care Share Luncheon. You could hear a pin drop in the room as guests were transfixed by her emotional story. She helped us raise over $130,000 for the services we provide to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her real life stories highlight the importance of services and community support for victims. After the event many guests stopped to purchase a book and share their story or gratitude with Janine. She truly touched the lives of our guests, we are so grateful for her courage to stand up and share her story."
"I just wanted to let you know that the impact of your talk has been reverberating; like a stone thrown into a pond. The splash was fantastic enough itself, but the ripples have been sobering and hopeful all at once. Your story sparked it in a big way. Thank you for mobilizing community members who feel helpless, as well as who knows how many actual victims in the audience."
"Janine was great! It was a pleasure to have her as our keynote, and I would certainly recommend her to other groups. Our event was sold out and when Janine spoke you could hear a pin drop. Not an easy task considering our usually “very lively” audience. She was very gracious during the book signing as well."
"Thank you for sharing your touching story at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. I admire your strength and courage. It was great to hear your personal story of triumph and perseverance. I think everyone learned a great deal, and we successfully increased awareness of domestic violence."
"Janine Latus’ presentation at East Carolina University was powerful, mesmerizing. Many students—who had originally attended believing they would acquire little more than extra credit for their classes—left at the end of the hour with knowledge that may one day save their lives. Her story is at once poignant and uplifting, horrific and hopeful. Somewhere in the ether, I hope that her sister Amy knows that her own death was not in vain—her voice still lives through Janine, and it speaks to all of us."
"Janine draws her audience in from the first story and keeps them engaged throughout. She has an ability to talk about this most difficult subject, domestic and relationship violence, in a way that invokes potential for change not the customary pity. Consistently at the end of each presentation I hosted and attended I have seen the impact of her presence. Her story tells others that their story matters and change is possible. Be prepared for a transformative experience!"