The Yakima YWCA is a powerful place in itself. They help women who've survived domestic violence and their children face the world, take charge of their own lives and get back to being the women they know they are. To get back to being the mothers that they know they are, as well.

Most women who have endured domestic violence suffer from PTSD. When they have been battered so badly, it is hard to shake that.

When I learned that Taya Kyle, the widow of the famous "American Sniper," Chris Kyle, was going to speak at the YWCA luncheon Monday (April 10) at the Yakima Valley Convention Center, I could not wait. I figured her story would have to be very powerful.

Townsquare Media / Marisha Cosby
Townsquare Media / Marisha Cosby

Then I had the most overwhelming thought: Had she been battered? I was so worried about what she was going to say because I had painted this beautiful picture of Chris Kyle being a true American hero. But no amount of heroism can excuse battering a woman.

The first speaker was a woman named Malinda. She had been battered by a man so badly for nearly 10 years that she said it was hard for her to become her own woman. She felt like all of the mean things he had said to her were right. She was never going to be a good mom or a good woman. I won't go into her whole story, but I can tell you this: The YWCA made her the woman that she is today and she is now one of my heroes. Such a strong woman.

Then it was Taya Kyle's turn to speak -- and she had a tough act to follow.

As she began her talk, I was so worried. What was this woman going to say? Was she going to break my heart and tell me her late husband was a bad man?

Completely the opposite! Thank God. From the very beginning she said that Chris Kyle was a good man, a good father and she couldn't have asked for a better one. So now I wondered what else she had to say.

She then proceeded to tell us what it was like to be independent, to have a good man in your life and to also have to deal with and help someone who suffers from PTSD. To be persecuted by peers, by others in the public eye and by media. She told us her tale of great strength and how important it is to stand up for what you believe. She also offered advice for overcoming those who are telling you that you are not good enough or that you cannot handle things.

I now know why the YWCA had her speak -- to show women who have not had a voice in this world the importance of claiming one. To take charge of your life no matter what is happening. By the time she was done speaking, I was in tears. Not just because of her story, but because of the strong women who were in the audience. The ones who have had their worlds torn apart by abuse and PTSD.

Taya Kyle knew exactly what these women where going through because of her amazing husband. She had to endure the same things, but without physical abuse. She was helping her husband through this turmoil. Taya Kyle is now one of my heroes.

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