Sarah Gallardo’s story goes beyond being a survivor. Her message is about overcoming adversity, defying the odds and staying positive when the world feels like it’s crashing down around you. Her charity, Sarah Speaks Up, supports women, children, men and families living free of every kind of abuse since 2015. In a society where discussions of domestic violence, intimate partner violence and spousal abuse are not supposed to be openly reviewed, she speaks up. After surviving 10 years of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband, Ms. Gallardo managed to get back on her feet and become a certified domestic violence counselor at the Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain, Connecticut. A single mother to her daughter Avalese, she has completely turned her back on that abusive relationship and has vowed to help people who suffer the same fate. She shares her story through newspaper, radio and television interviews.
In addition to this position, Ms. Gallardo founded the Veterans for Victims Program, which is designed to encourage, empower, strengthen and support domestic violence victims by connecting them with a military veteran, escorting them to and from court when facing their abuser. She was also a UN delegate for the Commission for the Status of Women in 2019, the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Currently, Ms. Gallardo is in the process of completing her memoir and another book compiling the stories of other survivors. She is a living example of the fact that people can change their lives and flourish in the wake of domestic violence.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Gallardo graduated from Berlin High School in Connecticut in 1999. She then studied vocal performance for one year at Berklee College of Music in Boston the following year. Additionally, she has studied criminology, public relations, communication and media studies at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Ms. Gallardo is also a certified domestic violence counselor.
Active with the Fresh Start Program and Soroptimist International of the Americas, Ms. Gallardo previously authored one book, “Hiding in Plain Sight: A Glimpse Into the Reality of Domestic Violence,” in 2017. Her story was also included in the short film, “From Trauma to Triumph.” Likewise, Ms. Gallardo runs a blog titled the “Sarah Speaks Up Blog,” has spoken at numerous engagements, and was interviewed and featured in multiple articles.
In honor of her myriad achievements, Ms. Gallardo was awarded the First 100 Men and Women Award by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Women of Inspiration Award by the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA and the Live Your Dream Award by Soroptimist International of Farmington Valley, Connecticut, in 2015. More recently, she was given two 40 Under 40 Awards by the Hartford Business Journal in 2018 and Connecticut Magazine in 2019, respectively. Moving forward, Ms. Gallardo would like to release the Veterans for Victims Program to the State of Connecticut, with her ultimate goal being to create a template for the program to be reproduced nationwide.