Gloria Gaynor's iconic song "I Will Survive" is the inspiration behind the disco legend's latest book, titled "We Will Survive," which consists of survival stories from fans who have sent letters to Gaynor over the years.
In an interview Tuesday with NBC's "Today" Show, the 64-year-old Gaynor
told Savannah Guthrie that 35 years after her song was released the classic continues to be "an anthem for so many people."
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"It has uplifted, encouraged an empowered people to get through really, really difficult situations in their lives," Gaynor added.
Of the thousands of letters Gaynor has received over the decades from fans, Gaynor selected 40 inspirational tales that she hopes will empower people to push past obstacles they face in their lives.
The inspirational stories include a Holocaust survivor's painful tale of being imprisoned and facing death on a daily basis in Auschwitz, a woman who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks, and a woman who lived most of her life obsessed with her appearance until she suffered a disfiguring accident that forced her to re-evaluate her life.
"There's stories from [people of] every walk of life, every nationality ... from people from across the United States and around the world," Gaynor said.
The famous singer, who was raised with six siblings in a single-mother home, details her own challenges and painful memories. She was molested twice as a child by men in her mother's life and raped by her ex-boyfriend's cousin.
"The incidents with my stepfather and John, as well as my reactions to them, set the tone for my future relationships with men and became par for the course," Gaynor wrote. "I ended up being rejected, disrespected, and neglected in every relationship, from puberty up to and including my marriage."
"When I was eighteen, I was naïve enough to trust the cousin of an ex-boyfriend. I allowed him to take me to visit his girlfriend — only to find that not only was she not home, there was no one there at all. He raped me," Gaynor added. "I grew up feeling that every rejection or maltreatment from any man for any reason was because I wasn’t worthy of better treatment."
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