April 12, 2018 4 min read
Here at Liv & B we love to feature women who embody empowerment, success and beauty within. I want to introduce you to a lovely woman named Rhonda Kuykendall. I had the pleasure of meeting Rhonda at my favorite Nail Salon LAVO Natural Nails in Fulshear, TX ( if you haven't tried it, you are missing out, and you will be ruined for life!) They are the BEST!
I felt an instant connection with her lovely soul. She is soft spoken and full of passion when she speaks. I wanted to get to know her more since she was quickly becoming a frequent customer and I genuinely liked her. As I got to know her, I was in awe of her background. I asked to feature her as a woman who has been through a lot and was able to rise to the top and become a successful empowered woman. I would love to share her story and maybe help other woman in the future.
"I grew up really rough, the middle of three girls. We were trafficked by a repeat child sex offender who later we found out had been convicted four times in three different states. By the time I reported the crime I was past the statute of limitations (SOL) 28 years. My attacker was released from prison is 2006. It took him 6 weeks and he sent me an email threatening to cause serious harm because of the legislative work I was doing and talking about his case. Mark Philip Turner TDC #606569. His parole was revoked and he spent the next 10 years in prison. Every year he would come up for parole. Every year I would fight his release until I had no choice and the law said he had to be released. He was released in 2015 under SISP. Super Intensive Supervised Parole which means he is tracked in real time GPS tracking. If he goes missing, I am notified immediately. After one year, they began putting him under review to remove the SISP. I now fight for them to keep him on SISP every single year. That is where I am now. It is infuriating and wrong for victims to have the burden of keeping predators tracked or in prison. The laws need to be changed. So.....what has given me strength. My faith and my children have shown me a new world of what normal is supposed to be. I met my husband at 12 and married him at 16. He was never ashamed of me. It was through his eyes that I gained the strength to fight, to know that it was not my guilt to carry. It is not easy being married to a victim of sexual abuse. It isn't. He has always been my biggest champion and my supporter. In those early years my children were very young. I would drop them off at my mother in law's home, drive 2 1/2 hours to Austin, work all day and drive all the way back to pick them up and head home. I recently read my journal and it was a very dark time for me. I was searching for purpose of why I went through it. My husband, my daughter and my son struggled with me. In the middle of the night I wrote these words on 5/12/2005. "Children who are sexually abused will show no outward signs: no black eyes or bruised cheeks. For the victim, their signs are fear, mistrust, drug addiction and anger. With every misdeed they commit, it only reaffirms their belief that they were to blame from the very beginning." Then Representative Jose Menendez read those words during the Texas House debate to add abolishing the SOL to Jessica's Law. No one argued against it. It sailed through. For many victims, they could not speak. Those who are able must speak. That is why I did and I still do. If my attacked has a next victim, I want to be able to look her in the eye and tell her I did everything I could to stop him. I can't control what the Texas Department of Criminal Justice decides to do but I am not going away and I will keep fighting."
"US Representative Pete Olson gave me the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2014 for my work in advocating for child abuse legislation. Today I volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Child Advocates of Fort Bend. I am blessed with an amazing job as the Staff Photographer for a local magazine where I experience exciting stories of families and careers and celebrations. There is way more goodness in the world than sadness. It is our job as humans to pave the way for others and help however we can."
What an amazing woman!
Rhonda has her favorite go to Liv & B pieces, but her ultimate is the Madelines.
"Can you tell what is my favorite? Yes, born in June my birthstone is a pearl. The Madeline gold are my go to earrings but I also love my bar necklaces and matching bar earrings. I keep trying to branch off into the other lines but I am in awe of the Classic line. So much fun!" Rhonda Kuykendall.
The link to the Madeline is https://livandb.myshopify.com/collections/earrings/products/madeline-silver
Isn't she lovely?
Thank you Rhonda for sharing your story, a true Liv & B Beautiful moment.
To have your story heard please contact me to be featured next month.
Liv & B Beautiful today!