RPD officer’s personal mission after heartbreaking tragedy

RICHMOND, Va. -- Survivors of domestic violence gathered Saturday evening for the Carol Adams Foundation's Purple Carpet Affair at Richmond's Royal Manchester Center.

The event honors lives of those who have made it and also remembers the countless victims of domestic violence.

Sonja Holt, a domestic violence survivor and president of Second Chances At Renewing Self, said the night allowed women to  breathe, laugh and "just really have a good time."

Holt said support is crucial to breaking the cycle and surviving.

"You have to talk, you have to tell somebody -- even if you're scared. It's about opening your mouth, and letting somebody know,” Holt said. "You have to get over the fear, and the shame, the guilt."

Saving others from domestic violence has been lifelong goal for Richmond Police Sgt. Carol Adams, who witnessed the death of her mother when she was a teenager.

"Her life was taken at the hands of my father ad so that's why the Carol Foundation exists,” Adams explained.

The personal tragedy inspired her to spread the word.

"That's why I have this internal drive to educate people, so that other children won't have to grow up in a household like I did,” Adams said.

Over the years, Adams has helped hundreds of people and the annual gala has raised more than $20,000 over five years for victims.

"We have some private donors who donated," Adams said. "We have a transitional house and we have a safe house that's going to open up next month. If a victim leaves today, we have furniture we can give them. If they get an apartment, we have clothes for their babies. So if they leave with nothing, the goal of the foundation is to be able to provide them with... a new start. "

The groups aim to help victims of  domestic violence escape the cycle and get back on their feet.

"We don't want anymore statistics," Holt added. "We want victories. We want overcomers. We want survivors."