Beauty From the Ashes

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(Last Updated On: January 7, 2015)

By M.L.R. Brownlow

 A violent assault that almost took Keyairra Moore’s life inspires her to launch nonprofit to help victims of domestic violence and abuse.beautyashes2

Out of nowhere, I began to speak in tongues and prayed for God to save him. ‘Not me, but him, Lord’, as he took the knife and went across my throat,” shares Keyairra Moore of the brutal assault that threatened to claim her life.

Moore, a 22-year-old student at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La., was in her first semester of law school when she was stabbed, dragged and burned multiple times by an ex-boyfriend on December 8, 2007.

Moore lived to tell her story and today speaks out against domestic violence.  She was determined not to allow the violent assault to define her, but instead to refine and change the way she would live the rest of her life.

Moore met her attacker as an undergraduate student at Southern University in 2005.  To Moore, he appeared to be a promising college student, loyal friend and a loving boyfriend.

“He was saved. His father, a pastor, and mother, a minister,” says Moore.beautyashes3

According to public reports, a person’s values, background or economic status do not determine his/her potential of becoming an abuser or victim.

“His biggest problem was he couldn’t handle where I was going. And that’s why I broke up with him,” Moore says of her former boyfriend.

Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behavior exerted to gain control over their partner by exerting physical violence, emotional/mental abuse or sexual abuse often in an attempt to stop the other person from leaving the relationship.

It is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 and females 20 through 24 years of age are at greatest risk of intimate partner violence.

According to statistics, one-third of American women will experience domestic/dating violence in their lifetimes.  An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by their partners each year and studies say the numbers are more like 5.3 million because so many assaults go unreported. (Hope House Statistics)

Moore, a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was raised in a multi- generation home with the love and support of three strong, spiritually-driven women – her 17-year-old mother, maternal grandmother and great-grandmother.

Moore was no stranger to tragedy.  At age seven, Moore’s great grandmother passed away from complications of diabetes.  Less than 10 months later, she lost her grandmother to the same illness and, a few months later, received news that her father had been shot and killed. This tragic chain of events caused Moore to become withdrawn.

“I was determined to finish school on time with my graduating class,” said Moore.

Moore persevered, accomplishing her goal of finishing high school in three years, and graduated with the Cape Central High Class of 2003. After graduating, Moore was accepted to Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. where she studied business economics and graduated in three years on December 08, 2006.

She started law school in the fall of 2007.

“But 2007 turned into a rough year for me; that was the year I was attacked,” says Moore.Keyairra

Moore never imagined that a year after graduating college, her life would be turned upside down.

December 8, 2007, as Moore lay windless on her bedroom floor, “He took a plugged in iron and laid it on the right side of my face…took a knife and went across my neck, and at this point, all I could think was ‘pray for him.’ I began to (as my friend had texted unknowingly the night before) ‘pray for a way of escape’…As I ran toward the door, he hit me across my head with my dining room chair. Like Job said, naked I came into this world, naked I will leave; I ran outside naked praising God because if it were not for God who was on my side, where would I be? Dead! sleeping in my grave!”

Still in utter shock, numb from pain, skin seared from her face, Moore immediately began speaking out about her attack and stepped up to be a beacon of light to others.

“God covered me. I stepped outside myself that day … and I still can’t believe it. God saved me. I have to tell my story. I was so thankful for my life that I stood up in church two weeks later and told my story, bandages and all,” she says, as she encourages others to share their own stories of overcoming.

“Share your story. That’s your breakthrough,” says Moore.

By sharing the details of her tragic assault, Moore has empowered many to speak up and embrace whatever it is they are going through.

At the end of 2007, Moore stepped out on faith to fulfill God’s purpose for her life, launching Steppin’ Out Ministries, along with co-founder Deashia D. Swan.  The pair also founded Sigma Omega Mu Christian Sorority on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University in April 2010.

“You don’t have to hurt alone. Don’t let the thing that happened to you hold you down. In order to rock your reflection, you have to confront those things that have scarred you. ‘Flaws and All,’ ROCK YOUR REFLECTION!” Moore shouted, invoking healing at the first annual 2012 Generation 4:12 Girls Conference “Rock Your Reflection” where Moore served as keynote speaker.

The event was hosted by The Church at Bethel’s Family’s K.I.S.S. (Keeping It Sealed and Saved) program, which encourages young girls ages 11-18 to stay pure until marriage and maintain a positive self-image.

“I can stand here today and tell you I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God. I am a 27-year-old virgin. It’s all good,” Moore told conference attendees.

Moore’s message to women, young and old, is to address the effects of physical, emotional, and spiritual flaws, so that you may overcome them. “I am scarred, but God covers me,” says Moore.

This distressful event resulted in Moore losing some skin, but she credits it for helping her to surpass her hurt with tougher skin.

Up until last year, doctors still didn’t know if I was going to be able to open my right eye… but I recognized God through it all.”

Moore’s attacker was convicted in July 2008 and is serving a 15-year sentence.

“I have no harsh feelings toward him… through God, support, and counseling, I am healed. This is my year of metamorphosis, and I won’t let setbacks set me up or sit me out… The Bible says show your scars… People don’t understand why I had to go through like I went through, but God had a calling on my life,” said Moore.