Brighter Image Lab Brings A Smile To A Domestic Violence Victim
Watch Sandra’s story about how domestic violence stole her smile. We were proud to be able to help Sandra smile again. Domestic violence is a growing epidemic in this country. Domestic violence is stealing smiles from women all across the nation, and Brighter Image Lab is fighting back.
Domestic Violence Is A Growing Problem
Domestic violence has become so prevalent in this country women are dying at the hands of men daily. You know women are imprisoned in their own home there were times that I felt like that but didn’t there were times that I didn’t because I’m a strong woman I’m the kind of woman that’s gonna fight back let’s do another one.
Guys today we’re here in North Carolina and I want to show you a little bit about this smile make over we’re gonna do. I got a story that meant the world to me and it was pretty compelling and I didn’t want to leave it. It was hard for us to get it fit it in but it almost got skipped a couple of times. But I wanted to make this happen and when it comes down to doing one you want to do one that matters to you and there’s a reason why we do what we do and that’s why we’re in North Carolina today.
Bil Meets Sandra, A Domestic Violence Victim
So I wanted to say thank you for meeting with me. Where did you go out looking for a way to improve your smile or just by googling?
I’ve been trying to pick out something for a long time but it’s just so expensive, you know, so expensive.
It is expensive. There ought to be some choices. You said you’re from Boston?
What brought you to North Carolina?
Change, and I would always say if I ever moved any where I wanted to move to Charlotte, and I came here and I’ve been here ever since.
Sandra’s Domestic Violence Smile Story
I heard you had a pretty rough marriage.
So, you’re in a bad marriage and one morning you wake up you don’t have any teeth.
Well, it wasn’t that one morning I woke up with, just one moment.
Oh one second.
Yeah, it’s just one, just a bad situation.
What do you do after? The next day? Do you just act like it’s gonna be okay?
Of course not. You know, look at me. I’m gonna tell you something, right? You know the law got involved.
There’s No Excuse For Domestic Violence
On many occasions the law got involved you know it ain’t my fault I don’t care what I say to you.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t give you the right to put your hands on somebody.
You can always leave.
Easily. He took away quite a bit of my years. He did something, it did something to me for a while, but I said I wasn’t gonna let that continue to dig away at me. You know what I mean? Because I got goals and aspirations but sometimes when you you look like this, you know what I’m saying?
Advise For Domestic Violence Victims
Oh I know. I’m listening to you that’s why we’re here. There’s gonna be a hundred thousand women that watch this thing, and a lot of those are gonna be in your same situation. What do you tell them to do when they’re in that situation that’s not good for them?
What I had to do is I pray. That’s the only thing I can share, ok? That’s what I had to do. I had to pray and ask God because that’s my belief. Everybody’s beliefs may not be the same, but whatever higher power that you believe in other than this earth you got to pray and ask for strength to go on. Because there’s so many times that I just I wanted to retaliate but I knew if I retaliated I would end up either dead or in prison somewhere.
Just bad people.
No good around you.
It would get real ugly sometimes. It would get real ugly, but this was the last straw.
Like these young girls that are listening, and they get into, they got boyfriends that are pushing and shoving.
Escape From Domestic Violence
Well they got to get out. See, you can’t, see what happens is you start thinking to yourself: ‘Okay, we won’t work this out because I know him one kind of a way. Now all of a sudden, I’m seeing a different person. So maybe we’re gonna try to work this out. I’m gonna do what I can do on my end to try to work this out so that this can stop, gotta..’ Can’t do that.
When it happens the first time, you gotta roll out.
Just get out. Get out of there.
That’s right because whatever it is in a, in a person man or woman whatever it is in a person that drives them to be physical with somebody unless they get help for themselves it’s gonna be a continuous thing. There are many support groups out here for young ladies, for men, because they’re men that are being abused as well. There are plenty support groups out here. The bottom line is you gotta find something within yourself to say I don’t deserve this.
Sandra’s Story Hits Home
When I read your story I I felt like you were my people. Like you were where I come from I come from pretty tough neighborhood, too. I was in a situation where I heard a lady one time say I won’t make him do that to me again, and that never left me. I hate today bothers me so bad, but I hate thinking that this lady’s in North Carolina trying to do better and I thought this is my lady. This is, these are my people. This is the lady that I want to be on, this is the one that I want to work for.
The case that we had was really challenging to build you a smile, but I when I stayed up I stayed up late to get it. Me and her live on the same street and we’re neighbors as far as I was concerned. Have you ever thought about what would be different if you didn’t lose your smile?
What wouldn’t be different? There’s so many things that I could have done. There’s a lot of opportunities that I think that I missed out on not feeling like I look good enough, you know what I mean? I don’t think that I’m a bad-looking person, you know, but look at my teeth.
You Learn Not To Smile
Yeah, and you learn not to smile. And when you learn not to smile you teach people not to smile.
It makes people take different directions in life.
People Look At You Different
But now, you know, not only that, you know, is I’ve gotten used to this but you know for a long time, you know. I would sit and not talk to people and you can see people look at you. It’s almost like they’re saying if only she would fix her teeth. You know? You know, people just look at you different. They look at you different, you know what I mean?
What I love about your story is is that you say, “I’m getting up. Oh, I’m getting up. I’m not staying down.” And I like that it means the world to me that I help people who try to help themselves and we hope that we can help people and seeing yourself as that person you would have been all these years. Who would she have been and I’d like to know you would say Ms. McGee in the Church is very awesome has to beautiful smile cause I think they would have said that minus one guy getting mad at you. You’ve overcome all these obstacles and the one thing that’s out of reach is a cosmetic dentist is just not affordable. Just couldn’t do it. Might as well buy another house.
We Had To Make Sandra A Smile
I didn’t want you, I got the feeling that if we didn’t do it it probably wasn’t gonna happen. And so, I don’t think any dentist was gonna do it for you, and I think the cost is going to be too big, and I thought let me design this for this lady. I’m with you that’s why we’re here that’s why I wanted to come to North Carolina.
And I thank you so much.
But let’s see what we can do. I don’t have my gloves today so I’m going to let you grab this thing, then…
Let me get my glasses.
So, if you can, let’s start with that one?
We just go upper?
Upper, yeah. Let’s see what we’ve got.
Yeah, it’s supposed to be real tight.
Okay, look at me for a minute.
Is that right?
Oh my God it’s right. Feels weird to have teeth doesn’t it?
It looks amazing, oh my God!
It looks so…
They can call back! Oh my goodness, look at that! It looks Good!
It looks amazing. Let’s look right here.
Oh my goodness!
We’re doing it.
It looks so good!
I gotta to say something.
They look amazing. Let me see. Chin up a little bit. Oh my God!
I love it and they’re white! They look good I like it!
They look amazing, thank you.
Sandra Smiles Again
Let me see again. I love it. I can smile now! Look at that! I know I have to get used to it and that I understand.
You haven’t had anything there in 6 years.
That’s better than that any day.
I got some teeth now! I love it! Let me ask you a question. Suppose I lose weight will that make a difference?
You’re going to lose weight everybody I deal with in six months are a different person.
Are you serious?
Yes, because what’s happening is they start walking, they start learning, they get on the internet, they go out, they see people. You’re going to be a different person!
Sandra’s New Outlook
I’m going to have a new attitude! I love them! Wait until I take a picture and show my mother!
You look beautiful. Okay, you gotta get used to them first.
I know like what I thought you know how you can see like the gumline like what oh my goodness it’s like it’s fits right with my gum. Child, it’s on.
You look beautiful. You look like a college professor.
Oh you’re too much! I love them!
We’re going to make it.
Lord you have me crying out here.
No, we’re not going to cry, we’re going to be happy today.
Let me tell you something, this is awesome.
Nobody has to pay that kind of money for these. Child these right here you know my mother 80 years I’m gonna get a picture.
We’re going to take a picture in a few minutes, yeah. The people you know in the future are never gonna know the lady that got her teeth knocked out.
Yeah when I feel comfortable with it in my mouth already.
We’ve Never Met Before
Now here’s what I got to ask you some things. We know we never met each other did we?
We don’t know each other?
No, we do not.
You never tried these on before today?
This is the first time, and that’s the truth.
Dental Veneers Are Secure
Do you feel like they’re gonna fall out?
Do you feel like they’re loose it’s like they’re too loose?
No, they’re secure. They’re up in there, honey. Yeah, yeah, up in there.
Yes, I got one more thing I got to ask.
Hard To Make An Impression
There’s dentists out there all over the country telling people they can’t take their own impression, they can’t…
That’s not true!
You did it yourself?
I’m gonna tell you why because I thought like that too I felt because I’ve been to the dentist before and I’ve been in a situation where you got trained dentists that had to do it one or two times. I’m telling you Child I’ve got that look that little blue ball and that white ball rubbed it together and and then I was kind of before I even did it I sat at the table. I was like oh my god I only got two shots let me get this thing right. Okay, and then the mixing part you know I was like it wasn’t hard to mix it at all then when I put it in that tray it was it was easy.
Considering it saves people tens of thousands of dollars you know like you could go and pay thousands of dollars and let it Dentist do it or you can do it yourself at home.
And honey this is what you get.
Learning to Adjust
It’s amazing in no time at all you’re going to learn how to adjust yourself. It’ll adjust your wardrobe, you know, adjust your style, you’ll adjust all these things and you’re going to be able to smile to people. I guess you make a lot of money working with the public?
You’re going to be so much more confident.
Talking to people and saying hello.
A Smile Ready For Special Events
Let me tell you something we just had a big event that came here in Charlotte and you had all kind of men that came to Charlotte. You had tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones, ugly ones, they was just all over the place honey. Yeah, I wish I had these teeth last weekend.
Oh yeah, and then you go and let me tell you, you look so beautiful with your smile. I’m gonna ask you to spend some time practicing smiling. I promise you if you’ll just get some pictures of yourself, you’re gonna fall in love with them. I’ve seen two different people and I’m seeing a lady that deserves to smile. You have an amazing smile.
Smiling All The Way To Church
I can’t wait until the church sees it.
Lord have mercy when I roll up with these pearly whites right here…Let me tell you something you have to love what you do to come this far to do this for me, little old me.
I think people have a purpose and if you following your purpose things would work out.
You’re a blessing to me.
I hope so.
Not A Domestic Violence Victim Anymore
The video at first I was like, nah you know, I don’t want to tell because everybody is going to know my business but I don’t care about that anymore I’m past all of that because if I can do something or say something to help somebody else just like you’re helping somebody I’m gonna do it.
I’m thinking today the biggest thing you’re going to do is there’s somebody in the situation or somebody’s hitting on them and you’re they’re gonna take your message and go I’m not going to get hit on anymore. I’m not going to let someone take my smile.
Yes, yes, six years.
Setting Sandra Up For Success
But you’re set. I think you see you’re like you’re I’m just so proud of it like I know you’re going to. You haven’t seen yourself yet other than just a mirror, but when you get home and you’re able to have conversation you’re gonna go WOW. And it’s gonna make you want to do all the things that you normally pass on like, it’s not worth it, oh that’s not good enough, I’ll find my people oh he’s a good guy. I’m telling you I see it too many times they always come out of there they bloom and I can’t wait to see you.
Oh my God.
You’re smile is amazing. It means the world we’re gonna wrap it up today guys. There’s two messages here. One, just don’t let anybody take your smile. I think things have a purpose and I came here for a reason and I hope that you get that. The second thing we tell them is we’re gonna put all that behind us. We’re going forward.
We got, you’ve got a lot of plans, you’re gonna…
…Send pictures to your mom.
Send Us Your Photos
You’re gonna be probably making Facebook posts and Instagram posts and Choir posts, and all I ask is just send me one.
I will I can’t wait we’re gonna get some more pictures and we’re gonna break it up.
The fact is it’s not so much about how great it is it’s that you no longer have to worry about it standing out. I know but look at this though even if I don’t do a half-smile it is so lined up with my gum…
That is perfect! Yeah!
Let’s get one for mom. Hey mom!
We hear countless stories from domestic violence victims in area like Jacksonville, FL, Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, Memphis, TN, Baltimore, MD, Louisville, KY, Atlanta, GA, Virginia Beach, VA, Raleigh, NC, Miami, FL, New Orleans, LA, Tampa, FL, Lexington, KY, Greensboro, NC, Orlando, FL, Durham, NC, Saint Petersburg, Norfolk, VA, Winston-Salem, NC, Hialeah, FL, Chesapeake, VA, Baton Rouge, LA, Richmond, VA, Brimingham, AL, Fayetteville, NC, Montgomery, AL, and Columbus, GA
If you are a victim of domestic violence, we urge you to seek help. One Safe Place is a family justice center bringing together a multi-agency network under one roof, dedicated to providing coordinated services to victims of domestic violence and their children.