Pittsburgh Steeler player William Gay recently opened up to the Pittsburgh community about his personal experiences with domestic violence. Gay, a fourth-year cornerback, told a local news anchor that he was 8 years old when his stepfather murdered his mother before killing himself. Gay decided to go public after volunteering at a local domestic violence shelter over Thanksgiving.
After his mother’s death Gay describes experiencing a great deal of emotional distress and behavioral issues after his mothers death. Gay stated, “I went through a period, probably like five years, of just hatred. I hated the world. I was wondering why this happened to me. Why my mom had to be taken.” While Gay discusses the difficulty in working through the pain of losing his mother, he describes an eventual healing that allowed him to turn his life around and speak out against domestic violence.
Barbara Nicholas, of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, said Gay’s willingness to share his personal experiences with domestic violence will go a long way toward helping others. Gay’s willingness as a celebrity to speak about his own experiences around domestic violence will hopefully de-stigmatize the issue of abuse and allow for more open and honest conversations about it. Gay’s voice also functions as one of inspiration to younger children and adolescents struggling with abuse in the home. Hopefully his voice will be one which lets them know they can ask for help and that the abuse in their home is not their fault.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an abusive relationship call our hotline at 919-929-7122 or come into our office to speak with an advocate. Our advocates are ready to listen and work with all types of survivors. No one deserves to have to suffer in silence.