In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, Nicci Gilbert, is sharing clips from a 2016 documentary she produced From The Bottom Up, about stars who have made comebacks after falling into obscurity during the course of their careers. In one portion of the film, Sara Stokes and KeKe Wyatt speak about the domestic violence they experienced at the hands of their intimate partners, KeKe’s first ex-husband and Stokes’ husband, Tony Stokes, at the time.
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You can see what both women had to say about their experiences in the transcript and video below.
KeKe: It feels good to just talk to somebody who’s been through some of the same stuff that I been through. It was hard. It was hard.
Sara: Jesus is good because I have been through some stuff, girl. It’s all out there. That’s another thing, I know me and you have been through similar things when it comes to the domestic violence thing or whatever the heck. But honest to God, how the heck did you deal. I’ve been called crazy.
KeKe: My kids.
Sara: They get it at school too though. ‘Oh your mom is insane.’ Your daddy be whipping your momma.
KeKe: I’m the one that’s crazy because I stabbed him. And I did. I hear my infant baby in the other room, screaming, crying mommy. And I got this dude choking me. He’s high. He done been out on a binge. I had no idea this dude did drugs. So I find out he’s a crackhead on Christmas Eve. And then he comes home and he’s pissed off because I showed up at his cousin’s house and I embarrassed him. And so he decided he wanted to take it out on me with these here. And he had been drinking so he had that liquid courage. Which got him stabbed.
Sara: This is what happened with my story. Me and my husband in California, you know we moved from Michigan. We had gone out there to the hot tub. My husband, being silly, ended up trying to throw me in the pool. I was like, ’Heck Nah. It was freezing. So I tired to dart away and slid and BOOM hit my head on the concrete and slide. I ended up busting my head and after that, I don’t remember anything. My kids started to scream because I didn’t know but it was blood all over my face. Because when I hit the concrete, I scrapped all of my skin off. Everybody thought he whipped my [butt]. He didn’t… that night.
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KeKe: Oop. That one.
Sara: I don’t know how I stabbed him but it was on his arm and they said I stabbed him. No hitting is good. No relationship is supposed to be like that. With this last situation, I went to jail for two and half months for the domestic violence. I was like, ‘I hate you man.’ Because I felt like you should have been here or at least your butt in jail too with me. I felt like me and him together, if we didn’t change the situation, change ourselves it was just going to continue.
KeKe: Well from woman to woman, keep yourself safe and your babies. Don’t let no man touch you. I don’t care how many years y’all been together. It don’t work like that. [Whispers] But if you are not really and truly happy, leave him alone. Is he still hitting you?
KeKe: No! Girl, you better leave that [man] alone, I swear to God.
Two years after the clip was recorded, Tony choked choked and beat Sara. Sara was arrested again in 2014 for another fight with her husband. It was a violation of her probation and she spent 93 days in jail. Since this clip was recorded, Stokes has divorced her abusive husband, Tony Stokes, and her father was sentenced to 30 years in prison for abusing another child.
Later, in the teaser, Stokes speaks about the abuse she saw her mother endure and the sexual molestation she experienced at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend and her biological father.
According to The Daily Mail, Stokes went to live with her biological father after she told her stepmother of the abuse she experienced at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Tragically, her father ended up violating her in the same way.
‘I was like, ‘Yes! I’ve got all these Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls and all these nice clothes, and I thought it was great — until I ended up being abused by my father,”
Sara said, ‘I remember him throwing me down the hallway by my hair, knocking me out. … He was just really, really mean. He had built this image of perfection on the outside, but on the inside, it was just chaos,’ Sara said. ‘When I was 12 years old, he ended up molesting me, too. That was the point when all trust went out the window for everybody, especially men. I just felt so hurt. It felt like a gunshot to my heart because I couldn’t believe this man I looked up to from when I was 5-years-old, me thinking that he was my protector ends up doing the same thing.’
Sara turned to music to escape the pain of the betrayal. She sang in church choirs and in talent competitions. Eventually, she moved back in with her mother.
But at 17, she met her husband Tony Stokes. The two married two years later. The two share four children together.
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.
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