NEW YORK - Sherneice Gatewood-Ali felt trapped, alone, and in fear for her life. She was a victim of domestic violence for seven years, suffering at the hands of her abuser.
"What made me get out of it. When my three-year-old daughter, at the time, was trying to get off the bed to get me off the floor after he hit me. And that was it for me, that was it," Gatewood-Ali said.
That was the moment where it all changed – she left her abuser.
Soon, Gatewood-Ali found strength and courage and used it as an opportunity to help others - women, and men - who may be going through similar situations.
In 2015, she founded "We Are Phenomenal Women," a domestic violence awareness and empowerment organization in Harlem.
"I wanted us to know that we are phenomenal, we are great. We can get out of any situation, we just need the help," Gatewood-Ali said.
With experts by her side, and her deeply personal understanding of the issue, Gatewood-Ali began hosting support groups for domestic violence survivors.
She now also holds workshops and panel discussions across the city, teaching others how to recognize signs of abuse.
Most of all, at the core of her mission, Gatewood-Ali provides a safe space for survivors and their families and the tools to get out of dangerous relationships.
"I'm thankful for We Are Phenomenal Women and the workshop presenters they brought through, during one of the lowest points in my existence, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as an African American woman - it just really helped to bridge me to where I am now," said Lois Glenn, a domestic violence survivor.
Glenn's is one of many stories of survival that inspires Gatewood-Ali to continue her efforts.
She hopes to one day open a shelter for victims.
"I think what I went through was, I don't want to say was something I should be scared about, but what I went through helped me to be a better me to help the next person be a better them," Gatewood-Ali said.
So, for turning her own dark past into a lifeline for so many others, Sherneice Gatewood-Ali is our New Yorker of the Week.