Thirty-two-year old Veronica Gonzalez comes across as loving and confident. She giggles a lot; she projects her voice across the room; she likes to throw her shoulders into a dance every time she’s satisfied with something, and says “thank you, thank you, awww” on repeat.
This show of strength, she says, hides the years of overcoming misfortunes.
While she was in college, in 2004, Gonzalez fell into an abusive relationship with a man she once thought she wanted to have a family with. She was raped, she says, and became homeless for five years, and eventually pregnant. She’d sleep in hospital emergency room waiting areas at night, pretending she was waiting for a friend in care. Her partner would beat her and abuse her emotionally,and once threw her backpack with her only possessions under a bus, ruined forever, to “teach her a lesson” after a fight.
“What I have experienced won’t ever go away, it has changed me forever,” she says. Yet she has survived, and found refuge in her art, music, and other forms of expression.
In fact, Gonzalez has published thirteen poetry collections, and her autobiography, Trials and Tribulations, has just come out. She’s been singing since the age of seven, including in The Change Choir with Al Sharpton, and she writes, sings, and performs. She acts and models as well, and brands herself as an activist for women’s rights and female empowerment.
Her son is now a teenager, and she’s found a new partner. Through a positive spirit, this domestic violence survivor has turned herself around.