Hazing, Bullying And Washington's Scandal: The Conversation That Led To Advocacy And A Tale Of Misadventures

Top Quote A casual discussion about the show, Scandal, triggers a question that leads to the unexpected: the forming of an advocacy program for women and an explosive story that reveals another glimpse of the Washington D.C. experience. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) September 25, 2014 - Pamela Sherrod's new e-book, Prudence's Adventures in Fairyland: The Bullying, Hazing and KGB Spying Chronicles, may remind some readers of the backdrop of the ABC hit Scandal. Ironically, it was a conversation about the woman who inspired the show that would initiate an art therapy program for women in crisis and the publishing of the new book.

    Sherrod was in New York, visiting an old friend, when she felt pressured by her to answer a fiery question: "What are you actually accomplishing?"

    "Many years before, Terri and I had worked at ABC News together," explains Sherrod, "and she'd never really accepted the fact that I'd walked away from the industry with no regrets."

    Sherrod adds, "Terri was later assigned to a CBS News crew that traveled with the first President Bush, and she knew many powerful dignitaries, including the maverick whose life inspired the story line in Scandal. In fact, she'd dated the real Olivia Pope's brother, back when she lived with my family."

    Terri could not understand Sherrod's motives. Why had she given up a promising career that 'people would die for,' and leave behind a world full of famous figures and dynamic news events?

    Sherrod realized that the big question really was, "As an exile, what could I actually accomplish?"

    "It was a compelling question," said the author, and it prompted a long season of soul searching. She realized that her outreach efforts were hindered by being unfocused, so she decided to scale back and redirect her energy toward one specific program. During the following weeks, Sherrod launched a plan that she'd long dreamed of, an art therapy and entrepreneurial project for women in crisis, particularly victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. It would also include a documentary component to chronicle its impact on the lives of its participants. Then, Sherrod rewrote her autobiography to help raise the funding for the program, as well as awareness of women's issues.

    Much like the show, her story retraces the unique experiences that Sherrod says, "only happen in the Capital." Her recollections of Washington D.C. are keen, and at points, very graphic, as the book reveals some of the spine-tingling dramas she witnessed during the late 1970's and early 1980's. For decades, Sherrod kept many secrets hidden, like the one surrounding the violent hazing that took place while she was pledging a sorority at Howard University.

    "Hazing was, and still is, a very dangerous activity," she says, "and one student unfortunately landed in the hospital." Sherrod admits that it was difficult to record those horrific scenes, but it was necessary in order to remove the mystique surrounding the process. She adds that, "Often, behind the fašade of love and sisterhood is something very frightening."

    She hopes to ignite new discussions on the subject, as well as effective ways to combat the physical and emotional abuse that's involved. Sherrod mentions that she wasn't shocked about the hazing-related stories connected to Miss America's Kira Kazantsev. "Hazing is like a cancer when it goes undetected. Once someone has suffered through a violent initiation, they're inclined to inflict it on others and it just keeps spreading."

    Washington offered an unexpected education on how to handle multiple crises. As a freshmen who'd just arrived to the city, Sherrod was initially unprepared for the dangerous situations that she'd soon encounter. One of the most frightening scenarios, however, would involve two friends from Capitol Hill who were investigated by the FBI for allegedly being involved with KGB and Cuban spies.

    Although Sherrod's life was tumultuous and often filled with bizarre events, she was very ambitious. One afternoon, while working at ABC News, a gunman stormed the building, taking a security guard hostage and threatening to blow it up. Despite the evacuation, she agreed to stay and help the editors and producers prepare the broadcast of the evening show. Sherrod says, "I didn't care who was in the building, I wasn't going to miss my chance to work on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings."

    It paid off. It led to her assignment to Nightline.

    There was one experience, though, that would leave a lasting impression. After a long battle with her health, and multiple surgeries, Sherrod took a position in which she coordinated crisis intervention services for women in Connecticut. There, her eyes were opened to the vulnerable nature of women's lives, and she developed a passion for addressing women's issues and the needs of at-risk girls.

    In recent years, she's devoted much of her time to producing inspirational documentaries and books, messages of hope for people dealing with grief, and projects aimed at motivating youths to reach for greatness. She's initiated projects to help girls and women 'find their voices and tell their stories,' including the late Mrs. Sammy Davis, Jr., with whom she partnered before her death. Sherrod would also write Mrs. Davis' biography.

    Sherrod now shares her own unforgettable story, revealing undisclosed aspects of her turbulent life with hopes of encouraging others who're also facing adversity. She believes that her faith and the gift of art, helped her overcome many daunting challenges.

    So, what does the author actually think she'll accomplish?

    "The healing and empowerment of women in crisis," she answers. "I've experienced many crisis situations, myself, and emerged from them with amazing revelations about life." She adds, "I believe that my message offers hope to people of all walks of life. Glamorous jobs are thrilling for a season or two, but each one of us has to find our own special purpose, at least, if we're searching for true meaning in our lives. That's what my story is about, a perilous search for a place of belonging and the hard lessons learned from the unforgettable journey."

    Prudence's Adventures in Fairyland: The Bullying, Hazing and KGB Spying Chronicles is the first in a new book series that revisits the author's extraordinary adventures. It's now available to read on Kindle, and the paperback version will be on the market by mid-October.

    Pamela Sherrod is available for speaking engagements. To learn more about her outreach programs, books and products, please visit her blog at UsePrudence.org or her company websites: www.risingstar31.com and www.womensvoicesandmasterpieces.org.

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