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Overcoming adversity: Local woman helps prep new TV reality show

Joyce Sartin is no stranger to hardship.

The 41 year-old Brookhaven native spent years on the run with her four children escaping an abusive husband.

Despite her travails, she managed to achieve her dream of receiving a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern Mississippi and has recently been accepted into the public health doctorate program at Jackson State University.

These days, Sartin is working to ensure others in her position can overcome their struggles and reach for their aspirations.

Eventually she intends to open her own office; in the meantime, she has been assisting those in need through social networking.

In August 2011, Sartin started an online “domestic abuse ministry” on Facebook called “Daughters of Bacca,” an Old Testament reference to a place of trials that proves redeeming in the end.

“It’s a valley of hurt and pain, but as you walk through it the water washes over you and you are able to come out different,” Sartin said. “It symbolizes that painful time in their life that can be overcome.”

Sartin uses the page to provide consolation for domestic abuse victims, allow an outlet for them to share their stories and promote the prevention of this social ill.

“My main goal in this movement is to help women who have been hurt and try to get them back to a normal state,” she said. ” They may have come from a domestic abuse situation, bad relationship or life has just beat them down. My passion is helping them when they are hurting.”

Sartin’s actions recently caught the attention of a television production company looking to create a reality show showcasing women who are overcoming great adversity to achieve their goals.

She traveled to Franklin, Tenn., April 5 to begin initial filming of the pilot episode.

Producers of the show, called “Once in a Wifetime,” are pitching the pilot with hopes of being picked up by either Oprah Winfrey’s or Tyler Perry’s network.

Sartin’s role would put her into a familiar area. Producers assigned her as a mentor to Ayhana Molette, a fellow Mississippian with hopes of pursuing higher education despite struggles with domestic abuse.

“I can really see the hurt and what she’s been through in her,” Sartin said.

Along with Sartin and Molette, there are eight other women in the cast hailing from areas throughout the Southeast.

Whether or not the show is picked up, Sartin believes the experience so far has been beneficial.

Since the cast was selected in November 2012, the women have maintained contact, providing a support net for each other.

“I’ve never met these ladies before, but it’s like we have known each other forever,” Sartin said. “It’s like a sisterhood among us. Everybody is supporting each other.”

Sartin discussed the battle one of the cast members has been fighting with stage four breast cancer and the group’s partnership to see her through it.

“Whatever point they are in their life we are trying to help them get to where they want to be and move into a positive light,” she said. “Sometimes hurt is all they know and we just want to help them move forward and see things in a different way.”