When Tina James was 12 years old, she said she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, and her kidnapper tried to take her life.
“When the sexual assault started at an early age, I went through PTSD and a lot of trauma. I know that I felt like I was going downhill,” James said.
According to James, other traumatic events in her life followed, like being burnt with high grease at 16, causing her to be in a wheel chair and have to teach herself to walk again.
Rather than letting PTSD define her, she started a clothing and accessories company to change its definition for herself and fellow PTSD survivors. Saturday evening James held a PTSD Awareness Fashion Show. In that show, the audience saw shirts and dresses with the acronym “PTSD” on it, but the letters instead stood for perseverance, triumph, strength and determination.
“We wanted to make sure the words represented what it does. Triumph, strength and all those things, that PTSD doesn’t have to define you as a person,” Irene Wilkins, Founder of Achievet Business Solutions said.
Wilkins handles the business side of the organization and has helped James formulate the brand’s concept. Wilkins said after meeting James at an event, she felt compelled to help her take the brand to the next level, at no cost.
“She’s been the giver all her life. She’s the one that’s had so much taken from her. And i was like, ‘I don’t feel like you’ve ever had somebody give, give, give to you,’” Wilkins said. “So I wanted to do that for her.”
James also has given out her phone number so that people dealing with traumas have someone to turn to.
“I try to help as many people as I can. When somebody buys clothes from me, I take the money back into the community and help someone who is really suffering from PTSD . I deliver to them baskets to let them know someone cares,” James said.
Wilkins said James needs more people to donate time, money and resources to continue growing it into the non profit they plan for it to be. They’re hoping to to purchase a space that can become a safe haven for survivors to share their stories and receive coaching. If you feel compelled to support James, you can reach her at 661-862-1572 or Wilkins at 1-800-371-1737.