Lockey Maisonneuve was only 11 years old when she was abandoned by her mother, neglected, abused and sold into sex trafficking by her own father.
In her adult years, she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and was forced to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Only a few weeks into her recovery, Lockey’s estranged mother was brutally stabbed to death, leaving Lockey the stress and burden of a murder investigation.
Lockey, who is a resident of Cranford, NJ, came to Montclair State University to share her story and discuss her new book “A Girl Raised by Wolves” with the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau as part of Women Empowerment Month. The event took place Thursday, Oct. 17, in Dickson Hall.
“The biggest thing I want is for people to feel a sense of empowerment, and a sense that they can own all of the parts of themselves, and that healing is possible,” Lockey said, who prefers to be addressed by her first name. “I want people to know that healing is not a one-and-done event. We live in a microwave society where we want everything right now. Healing takes time and it takes a commitment to yourself and without that commitment, it makes healing a lot harder.”
Vice President of the sorority and senior family science and human development major, Jessica Mocci, arranged the event.
“Her story is really unlike most people, it’s something you don’t hear every day,” Mocci said. “Hearing how she is building her life from the ground up and being so public, open and vulnerable with people she doesn’t even know, that’s what women empowerment is about. That’s why I really loved her coming in and coming to talk to us because she is the ultimate women empowerer, she lifts everyone up.”
Lockey involuntarily blocked out the memory of her trauma for years, given her young age. It was only until she gave birth to her daughter that she began experiencing visceral flashbacks of the violent assaults. This was the point in which Lockey began her grieving and healing journey.
Lockey was joined by her daughter during her presentation, Lara Maisonneuve, who is a junior in high school. Lara assists her mother at as many events as possible, despite having to experience her mother’s painful story each time.
“What she says to me is probably not what a lot of people hear from their moms,” Lara said. “I can make jokes about what had happened to her and she can make jokes about things that happen with me. I just think that I am more open to things than I would have been without her. If someone has an issue and they come to me, I know how to deal with it more emotionally because of her.”
Lockey speaks to various groups of people, most prominently women. She currently has a career as a certified yoga and meditation guide working with the incarcerated, individuals in drug and alcohol recovery, mental health patients and students in inner city schools. Recently, she added being a published author to her list after the release of her memoir, “A Girl Raised by Wolves,” which details her story.
“The work I do today is an absolute direct reflection of my own healing journey,” Lockey said. “I had to learn to sort of leave my ego at the door and meet people where they are. The kids taught me to meet people where they are, and the inmates taught me now, when I come into a room of people who look like they have it all together, I can meet them where they are.”
Stephanie Braunlich, a senior television and digital media major in Sigma Delta Tau, attended the presentation and was deeply grateful to meet Lockey and hear her story of perseverance.
“She helped spread awareness of abuse while empowering each of us by being an example of strength, courage and self-love,” Braunlich said. “She was an incredible speaker and definitely inspired me to know that no matter the hardships, we are not broken.”