Deondra Brown is a member of the talented and celebrated music group, The Five Browns, which consists of herself and her two sisters and two brothers. Trained at the famous Juilliard School, the Browns have six music albums with a seventh coming later in the year. They have toured the world and have performed in some of the top performance venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Taipei National Concert Hall and The Grand National Theatre in Beijing. This sounds like a charmed life for five talented young musicians, but under all the success and fame was a very dark secret; the kind of secret that should never be kept.
In 2011, Keith Brown, Deondra’s father, and the former manager of the group pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of Deondra and her two sisters. Starting as young as 14, the girls were abused by their father for more than a decade and were scared, ashamed and isolated into their silence. This is typical for victims of sexual abuse. They are made to believe that there is no one they can tell and even if they did tell someone, no one would believe them. So often the abuse continues and more damage is done. Often, those who suspect a child is being abused will also keep quiet for the same reasons.
Deondra and her sister Desirae founded The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse (FSA) to “create a face for victims of sexual abuse everywhere.” According to the FSA website, “The mission of [FSA] is to provide hope, encouragement and empowerment to survivors everywhere by leveraging advocacy and education to eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes of childhood sexual abuse.”
In April of 2018, a documentary titled, The 5 Browns: Digging Through the Darkness was premiered and is being viewed at festivals around the world. Directed by Ben Niles, this film documents the honest story mixed with music by The 5 Browns. Deondra believes this is a start. Her hope is that, by telling her story and working with lawmakers and education professionals, she can create a world where victims and witnesses are not afraid to speak out and that light can be spread over the dark world.
On September 19, Deondra will be speaking at the Allinger Community Theatre in the National Oregon/California Trail Center. This event is sponsored by the Bear Lake County Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) in coordination with the Montpelier Victims Assistance Unit. The MDT and Victims Assistance Unit is a group of dedicated professionals from Bear Lake County dedicated to fighting abuse. Deondra will tell her story and help explain how the Bear Lake community can become a place that better supports victims of sexual abuse and works to prevent this tragedy. The event is free to the public, but early arrival is recommended as seating is limited.
Deondra will tell her story to bring hope to the victims and help educate the community. Please attend this important event.