Busta’s Person of the Week: Sister of victim of domestic violence shares her story in the book ‘Her Voice Beyond the Grave’

Busta’s Person of the Week: Sister of victim of domestic violence shares her story in the book ‘Her Voice Beyond the Grave’
May 05
06:23 2023

By Busta Brown

On August 25, 2014, Cheryl Bethea was stabbed to death by her boyfriend of nearly three years outside of her home in Winston-Salem. Like most victims of domestic violence, Cheryl kept silent. “She hid it well. One time she had a black eye and said she fell out of a chair and hit it on the kitchen table. He would also curse at Cheryl, and I told her that he shouldn’t talk to her this way. She said this is just how we do, ‘’ shared Cassandra Bethea Shine. 

Cassandra is Cheryl’s sister and has become an advocate for the silent voices for domestic violence victims. One in four women, and one in ten men, are victims of domestic violence. 

The other silent victims are the children who witness domestic abuse. “My sister would tell my niece and nephew, what goes on in the house, stays in the house. So, they knew a whole lot more than my family and I did,” said Cassandra. She added, as time went on, Cheryl became more isolated, which is a sign of most domestic abuse victims.

The mother of one said you don’t notice the signs of a domestic violence victim until the signs knock at your door. “I did see signs, but until it knocks on your door, most people don’t take it seriously until it’s too late. I would have never thought he would kill my sister. She was very active in the community. She was a part of Black Girls Run, very active in the church community, and so much more. So, her death was very impactful to the Winston-Salem community,” said Cassandra. 

Now that her niece and nephew are left without a mother, Cassandra and her husband Ricky Shine, opened their heart and home. “It was no question for my husband and I to take them in. He embraced it one hundred percent.” 

With this new responsibility, God has led Cassandra on a journey to educate her niece and nephew and others about domestic violence. In 2014, she started a nonprofit organization called Sound the Silence in Domestic Violence. “I was able to dive in deep and learn how domestic violence affects the victim as well as the abuser. So, I never hated my sister’s boyfriend. 

“Working with victims can be very heavy, so there were days I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. But doing this helped me get over the sad stage of losing my sister, and now I’m walking in my purpose. I didn’t know that domestic violence was so rampant in our community, so it’s rewarding and very empowering when I hear people say thank you for sharing your sister’s story,” said an emotional Cassandra Bethea Shine.

Sound the Silence in Domestic Violence nonprofit organization provides victims with financial support and education about domestic violence. The organization promotes healing through creative art, crafting, and self-empowering activities to promote self-love, increase self-esteem by empowering victims to know they are worth it, enough and more than enough. They also provide resources for domestic violence victims. 

“We’re an active partner with Family Services, Inc and Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center. We’re also committed to giving back to the domestic violence community by sponsoring an annual Pamper and Wipe Drive every October to benefit victims affected by interpersonal violence, along with assisting individuals and families affected by domestic violence in their time of crisis with grace, compassion, and integrity,” shared Cassandra. She said it’s extremely important that those who suffered abuse in silence, to sound the silence in domestic violence, boldly and unapologetically, by sharing their voice and stories without stigma or shame.

The wife of ten years decided to give us a very intimate look into the life of her sister, Cheryl Bethea. Cassandra’s book is entitled “Her Voice Beyond the Grave: A Sister’s Cry to Sound the Silence in Domestic Violence,” The book is about Cheryl sharing her story through Cassandra. “There are moments of reflections, affirmations, domestic awareness, and each section she’s sharing a different situation. This is a healing book. It asks questions such as, has your partner ever diminished you and you downplayed it? It allows women to be very transparent with themselves. When you put pen to paper, it’s a start toward healing. You’re also speaking and writing things into existence.” 

You can purchase the book on Amazon, Etsy Shop, and find it at all Forsyth County libraries. 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Cassandra Bethea Shine. “I didn’t choose to do what I do. God chose me. He has a bigger plan for my life.”

For more info or to contact Cassandra, send an email to or visit

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