Social media campaign shows a beautiful life after abuse

Posted at 3:30 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 16:35:05-04

It is a powerful social media campaign that not only brought survivors of domestic violence together, but is helping to erase a stigma.

“It is to bring awareness to domestic violence.  It is to show the beauty, the things that happen when we emerge, when we come out of that relationship, life on the other side so to speak,” said domestic violence survivor Jacey Gengenbach.

“Is this your life after, the studio,” asked reporter Emily Szink.
“Yes it is,” said Gengenbach.

On Friday multiple domestic violence survivors gathered at Jacey Gengenbach's fitness studio to share their stories of strength.

"I can talk to my people and they get it," said board member Paulissa Kipp. 

Last March, Gengenbach started a domestic violence advocacy group in Omaha called Survivors Rising.

“We've all been through hell, excuse the language,” said Gengenbach.

The non-profit is peer led.  It is for survivors, by survivors. 

“We need to remove the stigma from domestic violence, because these are all people we know,” said Angie Rodriguez.

Three years ago Angie Rodriguez’s teenage daughter Melissa was murdered at the hands of her abuser.  A few months ago she was asked to model for the October social media campaign called “Emerge Omaha.”

“I wanted to participate as the face of those that are left behind,” said Rodriguez.

The Emerge Omaha photo shoot was organized by Choose Courage, a foundation based in Texas, but run by former Nebraskan Rhonda Brunson.

All the proceeds of this month's campaign will go to Survivors Rising. 

“You look at domestic violence victims every single day,” said survivor Elizabeth Jones.

Board member Elizabeth Jones loves how these photos paint a beautiful picture of life after abuse.

“These pictures are so beautifully done that you can't see those internal scares, you just see these beautiful women who have risen above and just thrive,” said Jones.

Survivors Rising says they are just getting started.  On Saturday, they are hosting their first annual 5K at Miller’s Landing at 10 p.m.  To register head here

Survivors Rising is also planning a survivors retreat for November 5th.  For more information contact