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Speaker From

United Kingdom



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Speaker Bio

Madeleine Black has an unusual personal story which she uses to inspire and motivate others. A deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity.


We are not defined by what knocks us down – we are defined by how we get back up.



Violently gang raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will. Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.



Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all; leading a fulfilling and happy life.  For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key.  True forgiveness takes genuine effort.  It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm.  It is the ultimate act of courage.



I have an unusual personal story which I use to inspire and motivate others.  I chose to forgive the two men who gang raped me when I was thirteen years old and I share my story for many reasons.



I want to end the shame, stigma and silence surrounding sexual violence enabling others to find their voice, whatever their story is.  I want people to know that it’s not what happens to us that is important but what we do with it.  I will show how changing my mindset tapped into my resilience and transformed my life, making people question their own thinking and encouraging them to see that there are always choices to make, and if we choose to, we can get past anything that happens to us in life both professionally and in our personal life. I wants to encourage others to live their life courageously too; but ultimately, I want to inspire hope and show people that we are all so much stronger than we think we are.



The sharing of my story publicly on The Forgiveness Project’s website in September 2014, opened many doors for me in ways I never imagined, and the invitations started to pour in.  Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading my story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives.



I have taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share my story of being gang raped as a teenager at conferences, book events, schools etc.  I recognise that I was a victim of a crime that left me silent for many years but has now found my voice and intends to use it.  Not just for me, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet.



Purchase Madeleine's book from the bookstore via Amazon

Keynote Topic #1


Madeleine Black has an unusual personal story which she uses to inspire and motivate others.

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  • Karla Benske
    01/26/2022 at 12:04 pm

    ‘Madeleine’s resilience is inspiring, not least because it’s not just about ‘grit’ and getting on with life, but it is about turning the grit into something truly beautiful and magnificent. Her message is that it is not what you experience that matters, it is what you do with that experience that truly matters. Madeleine’s joy for life is utterly contagious and when you get the opportunity to listen to her speak, please make sure you use it.’

    Karla Benske

  • Judith Staff
    01/26/2022 at 12:03 pm

    ‘Having heard her speak a number of times now, I can confidently say she has a gift for conveying her story, as painful as it is, and leaves her audience with a sense of hope.’

    Judith Staff

  • Dixie Maria Carlton
    01/26/2022 at 12:01 pm

    ‘The closing keynote at any conference is a big deal, and always memorable, but this week Madeleine Black raised the bar with her story. She spoke eloquently, clearly, and with heart and passion as she delivered the message that what happens to you does not have to leave you broken. She was captivating and sincere in her sharing, inspiring all of us to step up and look deep inside to be the best versions of ourselves.’

    Dixie Maria Carlton

  • Louise Scott
    01/26/2022 at 11:31 am

    ‘As I watched Madeleine, I realised I was captivated and unable to take my eyes off her. She delivers her story from the heart, always keeping it real.’

    Louise Scott (Mental Health and HR professional)

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