Sharon D'eusanio, an author and nationally recognized consultant, speaker and trainer, speaking to CCJ 3660 Victimology Students, Davie Campus, on Nov. 10, 2011
On Thursday, November 10, 2011, the students in Adj. Prof. Christina Spudeas's Victimology class were honored to have Sharon D'eusanio as their guest speaker – which she has done for several years. This is her story and this is why the students are blessed to have her as their guest.
Twenty-two years ago, the life of Sharon D'eusanio changed forever. Sharon had been married for ten years and was the mother of three young children, as well as an insurance adjustor about to begin her own business, when she drove toward home one evening in the spring of 1980. When another car passed her, the driver shot at her three times. One bullet penetrated both eyes and immediately and permanently blinded Sharon. She pulled her car to the side of the road and leaned on the horn. A man stopped and offered to get Sharon to the hospital. He turned out to be the man who shot her. He kidnapped Sharon and returned with her to his apartment. There, for hours he raped and beat her repeatedly and left her for dead.
Sharon recalls thinking throughout this entire ordeal, "how am I going to get out of this one?" She concentrated on surviving. She heard her assailant get into his car and leave. Sharon mentally noted everything she touched. She left her attacker's apartment totally nude and when she got outside she started screaming. A man on his way to work noticed Sharon covered in blood and drove her to the hospital. Sharon spent five hours in surgery and several days in the hospital before returning home to live again.
Sharon's employer at the insurance company had cleared her desk even before she got out of the hospital. She recalls wondering how she would be a mother to children she could no longer see. While she recovered in the hospital she vowed that the man who had snatched eleven hours of her life would take no more time from her. Police arrested Sharon's attacker three days after his crime against her and he is still serving his 104-year prison term. Sharon couldn't prevent her husband from leaving her and their kids within a year of the attack. Sharon decided not to resent her ex-husband, but to rebuild her own life. She concentrated on being a mother and making a new career for herself. Sharon began speaking publicly about her horrifying experience within a year of the attack. Within two years she met and began dating her current husband. Together they made a new life, raised Sharon's children, and began working in tandem.
During the trial of her assailant, who was tried for rape, kidnapping and attempted murder, Sharon was not allowed in the courtroom and was only allowed to hear the closing arguments because the Judge let her hear by telephone from his Chambers. Victim's rights, as we understand them today, did not exist when Sharon's assailant was tried (and convicted).
In April 1981, she began speaking about her personal experiences and developed a new-found speaking career. She is an author and nationally recognized consultant, speaker and trainer. Sharon has appeared on radio and television programs including ABC's 20/20, Phil Donahue, Larry King, Oprah and on various BBC radio programs and television shows in Great Britain. Her incredible story of self-determination was published in 1987 in her autobiography, "Feel the Laughter," and her inspirational story has been featured in local, national and international newspapers and magazines. Sharon and her husband Raymond reside in Boca Raton and have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Sharon D'eusanio recently retired from the Florida Attorney General's Office where she had served as the Victim Assistance Administrator. She continues with consulting work and speaking presentations to highlight her story and to educate the public on the needs of crime victims.
Her story and advocacy on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7NAaFbRfCE