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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, highlighting one of the many pandemics-within-a-pandemic that has taken hold in 2020. Since the onset of Covid in March, victims are more likely to be trapped at home with or otherwise further controlled by their abuser, perhaps due to financial hardship, for example. One local author has released a memoir detailing her journey through and after an abusive marriage, hoping to give readers hope and shed light on an important issue.


Former Miss Venezuela, Miss South America and Telemundo anchor Carmen Maria Montiel has published Stolen Identity: A Story of Love, Violence and Liberation. She makes an appearance at Tootsies tomorrow from 4:30-6pm, where she'll sign copies of the book and sip champagne during a socially distanced meet-and-greet.

Stolen Identity English

The memoir recounts Montiel's 25-year marriage, which was riddled with abuse and betrayal. Once she left the marriage and began therapy, she realized that writing down her experiences helped her process her emotions, and eventually compiled her stories into a book."Stolen Identity gives people a look inside the life of someone who was experiencing physical and mental abuse," she says. "My goal is for others to understand that this can happen to anyone. I want people who are in these situations to seek help from professionals or loved ones. The best thing someone can do is get themselves out of the situation so they can take back their life."

Montiel moved to the U.S. in the late 1980s after a series of pageant wins in her home country of Venezuela, which led to a successful broadcast journalism career in both Venezuela and the States. She was an anchor, reporter and writer for Telemundo-CNN in Houston in the 1990s, and later ran for Congress in 2018.

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