( ENSPIRE She Did That ) How One Woman is Fighting Back Against Abuse Culture
ENSPIRE Contributor: Petra Wolf
Yolanda Gardner advocates for victims of abuse throughout her adult life. Gardner started as a Texas Entrepreneur and founded Yolanda’s Hand in Unity in 2013. She aimed to help victims of domestic violence. Now this non-profit provides victims of assault across the state of Texas with dental and medical aid. She also expanded with her new companies, Speak Up Yo LLC and Victims of Abuse Inc, to focus solely on incestual abuse. A survivor of incest herself, Yolanda published a book about her experiences in 2022 to help bring awareness and encourage others to speak out.
Victims of Incest offers a confidential hotline for anyone to discuss their experiences and ways to send out support. They network with schools and organizations to give talks about abuse to raise awareness. Yolanda’s book, “Hush! Keep Quiet and Don’t Say Anything” details some of the red flags of abuse. She aims to show the signs so both those who are suffering and those outside the abuse can understand. These are just a few of the ways Yolanda is building a support network within her Texas community.
ENSPIRE met with Yolanda to talk about her impact and her major milestones. When asked about how she wants her story shared she said, “I envision my story and advocacy reaching people all over the world via television, radio, plays, magazines, social media, a movie, and my book.”
Yolanda aims to help others heal by speaking up and letting others know that they have a voice by showing them they are not alone. She has taught individuals how to heal through her book, business, and nonprofit. She also warns people of some misconceptions. Like the idea that a mother would always protect the child from abuse. Or that it only happens to people of a certain race or gender.
Yolanda is grateful for the people in her life who have helped her through this journey, people like her family, significant other, friends, and publicist. She knows about what happens behind closed doors, and how it can happen to anyone. She makes sure to pay attention to all interactions she has with children and adults. But despite the hardships she is grateful for it. “It has made me a stronger person and able to help others that are survivors heal and forgive (if they are willing).”
Yolanda Gardner recently has been promoting her book again. She wants to encourage others to learn the signs and speak up when it comes to abuse. She uses social media to bring awareness to as many as possible. By preparing others with warning signs of abuse, she continues to uplift survivors and use her own experiences in a healing way. Yolanda makes speaking up the focus of her talks and nonprofits, making sure no one feels silenced or shunned again.
The hotline for Victims of Incest is here.