Elizabeth Peace of Murrieta was named United State of America’s (USOA) Mrs. Riverside County 2020 and will go on to compete for the state title in Brea, Calif., Dec. 4-6. A Marine Corps spouse, Navy employee and child advocate, Peace is using her title as Mrs. Riverside County to promote her platform, “Peace Talks: The Power of Your Voice,” to encourage survivors of childhood trauma to speak out and tell their story as a form of healing.
A survivor of child sexual abuse and campus assault, Peace teaches child sexual abuse prevention classes to military families and speaks at schools to show youth how to utilize the “three Es” to take their power back while believing in themselves to create a better future.
“Through ‘empower, engage and evolve,’ my goal is to show today’s youth that they can be anything they want to be when they’re older, no matter what difficulties they go through in childhood,” Peace said. “Many of today’s youth are struggling with bullying, low self-esteem, violent dating relationships and child abuse. I want to show them that those traumas don’t determine their future and that they can take their power back.”
Peace is a former news anchor who began working in public affairs after marrying a U.S. Marine. Her husband, Warren Peace, is serving at Camp Pendleton while Peace now works as the Director of Corporate Communications at the U.S. Navy base in Norco. She previously served in the U.S. Air Force.
“The most difficult part of raising children is not being a survivor, it’s discovering how much this happens to our own children without us knowing about it,” she said. “My goal is to share with other military communities the things I’ve learned so that they can protect their own children. As a mom of a survivor who was abused during visitations while his father was in the Army, I know the pain and guilt of finding out after it was too late. If we can save one child, the work is worth it.”
Peace has been a certified facilitator with Darkness to Light, a national non-profit that teaches evidence-based child sexual abuse prevention classes, bystander intervention, keeping children safe online and more. She has been teaching the classes for eight years across the country and previously taught the class to the Governor of Maryland’s crime prevention office. Now stationed in California, she hopes to bring the classes to elected officials here.
Peace is also hopeful to work with elected officials to pass a child sexual abuse awareness month, which currently does not exist, and is eager to see more protections for survivors of military sexual assault.
An avid volunteer, she has served on a local board of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), volunteered in a youth court mentor program and volunteered at a domestic violence shelter. She had the opportunity to speak with HBO about the long-term effects of child sexual abuse during the filming of a documentary on the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse case. But she feels her most important work is talking directly to children on an age-appropriate level about creating their own futures.
“Statistically speaking, I shouldn’t be breaking glass ceilings and happily married, raising two children,” she said. “For a long time, I let the abuse dictate who I was going to become. I had to find the strength to believe in myself so that I could make the future I wanted to have and not the one other people thought I was worthy of.”
The USOA Mrs. California pageant is the official preliminary to the United States of America’s Mrs national pageant. USOA Pageants are designed to encourage women to strive to achieve their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations while making them feel confident and beautiful inside and out. The USOA motto is to empower women, inspire others and uplift everyone by focusing on women empowerment, promoting positive self-image and advocating a platform of community service.
Peace is available to emcee events, speak to schools and church organizations across the state, and make appearances.