PORTLAND — At the age of 11, F.A. Cole was forced to undergo female genital mutilation in her native Freetown, Sierra Leone, where she was also a victim of child sexual assault, rape, and received abortions.

“Do not blame yourself for other people’s actions. Forgive and try to live life as happily as you can.”

It is one of the many inspirational, merciful, and sometimes overwhelming messages that F.A. Cole has shared with thousands across the world as an award-winning author, activist, humanitarian, and advocate.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, she will bring her story and message to the Maine Right to Life Convention at Keeley’s Banquet Center on 178 Warren Avenue in Portland. The convention, which will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m., is organized by the Maine Right to Life Committee, which was founded to protect and uphold the dignity and worth of each human life from conception to natural death through education, social action, and non-violent and peaceful protest. Admission to the convention is $25 and includes coffee and breakfast bakery items. To register, visit www.MaineRightToLife.com.

Cole, who is on the board of directors for the Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation, focuses on empowering survivors and provides needed financial, emotional, and educational tools to help them overcome their ordeal. She openly shares her experiences of overcoming not only sexual violence but multiple abortions.

“If God can transform and use me, He can do the same for anyone,” said Cole.

In addition, Cole’s autobiography “Distant Sunrise: The Strength in her Pain to Forgive,” was critically acclaimed and helped many readers “turn negative energy into a positive way of thinking so they could see themselves as victors not victims.”

The convention comes during Respect Life Month when Catholics are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. During the month of October, the Church asks all to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life.