Rob Konrad: Conversations
017. Raped at Age 14, She Became a Right-Wing Extremist - And Turned Her Life Around
When she was 14 years old, Shannon Martinez was raped at a party by two men who took advantage of the fact that she was intoxicated.
Overwhelmed with self-hate and anger, her life spiraled downwards - and she joined a violent right-wing extremist organization, where she would channel her rage and emotions against anyone who was "different".
Luckily, after several years in this supremacist organization, she was saved by a family who took her in and helped her to deal with her trauma - and showed her that there is a perspective for her beyond violence.
Now a mother of seven children, she is passionate about building empowered families and communities and believes that we all have the power to enact profound and fundamental change in our lives.
Shannon Martinez is now developing community resource platforms aimed at inoculating individuals against violence-based lifestyles and ideologies.
She has worked in at-risk communities teaching and developing dynamic resiliency skills, for school systems, nonprofits, and community organizations and has participated in programs organizations such as the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center, Hedayah, The Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, UN Women, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
Her story has been featured globally, including: The TODAY Show, NBC's "Left Field," the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Marie Claire magazine, Quartz, Al Jazeera America, and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought" program.
She has been a commentator on such news outlets as HLN, CNN, Canada One and BBC radio.
Shannon Martinez has also assisted in training law enforcement officers, building programs for educators, and collaborating with tech companies like Google and Twitter.
Watch the video of our conversation, get the show notes and full transcript here: