FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A woman who survived an abusive relationship with a high-profile entertainer said she has gained strength by sharing her story.
Andrea "Drea" Kelly was the keynote speaker for the Marjaree Mason Center's Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business Awards event, which was virtual this year.
Kelly shared her painful story of abuse at the hands of R&B singer R Kelly.
R Kelly told his then-wife he kept her out of the spotlight to protect her from fans and the paparazzi.
Drea Kelly said, "Now looking back at it, no, actually it was to keep me isolated so that no one would know about the abuse and also I felt so distant and separated from the world that I didn't feel empowered to speak out about it."
Fed up with victim-shaming, Andrea Kelly said she almost took her own life by jumping from a penthouse balcony.
Kelly explained, "I think the thing that really kept me from jumping and saving my life was hearing my children in the background and they were saying, 'Mama, mama, why did she jump, why did she leave us'."
The event was a fundraiser for the Marjaree Mason Center, a women's shelter.
Among the women honored was Aileen Rizo, whose fight for equal pay for women led to Governor Brown signing the Fair Pay Act.
Rizo said, "When we stand up for ourselves, we stand up for others as well."
Bitwise co-founder Irma Olguin, Jr. was also honored, as was Design Science High Principal Tressa Overstreet, who has helped kids living in poverty chart a course for college.
Overstreet said, "100% are admitted to four-year universities. This last year we had four admitted to Stanford. all first in their families to go to college."
Tina Rodriguez received an award for her work with domestic violence programs, which has taken directly into valley prisons so offenders understand the pain they have caused.
The other women honored were Jeannine Campos Grech of Campos Brothers Farms, Joyce Fields- Keene of the Central California Faculty Medical Group, Inc., Lupe Jaime- Mileham from the Fresno County Office of Education, Lisa Nichols, Vice Principal on Special Assignment with Fresno Unified School District, Clovis Community College Dean of Student Services Gurdeep Sihota Hébert and Central Valley Community Bank Senior Vice- President Dorothy Thomas.
Moss Adams LLP was honored as the business of the year.
ABC30 was a sponsor of the event.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
R. Kelly's ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, shares her painful story of abuse
Fed up with victim-shaming, Andrea Kelly said she once almost took her own life by jumping from a penthouse balcony.
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