Sexual Assault/ Abuse Does Not Define You

stebeunville rape photo #2 (1)

As most of you know from my previous blog post and tweets, I have been closely following the Steubenville Ohio Rape case.

Both boys, Trent Mays and Mailik Richmond, were found guilty. And the punishment fits the crime: [They]will serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21, and both will be labeled as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

In spite of all the ugliness surrounding this case, the victim’s mother conveyed a message of hope when she addressed Richmond and Mays at the end of the trial: “This does not define who my daughter is. She will persevere, grow and move on.  Her mother could not have said it any better. This is a message of hope for her daughter and millions of women around the world who have been raped, or sexually abused.

Sexual assault/abuse does not define you.

When someone violates you sexually, that can be hard to heal from.  Take your hurt, your pain, your shame and do something great with it, gather strength from it and move on.

I also what to extend this message to women who have chosen sex work, stripping, who have pursued a promiscuous lifestyle, or have experienced the heart ache of being used and dumped by a man like a Kleenex:

What you do or do not do with a penis, or what a man does to you, do not define who you are.

Links of the Week 11/9/2012

1. Scar Stories: On White Dudes and Rape Culture [Huffington Post]

We may be smarter about the language we choose, but rape culture is about ideology — and that is all too present within our society. Indeed, while we stand in a place of outrage, it is no less important to note that women, too, are complicit in the silencing, shaming, judging of women who cry sexual violence. That silencing occurs on multiple levels by both genders: individual, familial, communal, cultural, institutional and societal.

2. Meet 4 African Women Who Are Changing The Face Of Coffee  [NPR]

“We work very, very hard,” says Ciza. Her vision for lifting more people out of poverty in her region is clear. “If you want to develop Burundi, you develop the women,” she says.

Fatima Aziz Faraji agrees. She manages a family coffee farm called Finca Estate in Tanzania. She’s pushed for a larger voice for women by filling the seats on coffee oversight boards traditionally reserved for men. For instance, she’s getting ready to begin a stint on the Tanzanian Coffee Board, and she’s a co-director of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute.

So what is the IWCA’s alliance doing for women in her country? She explains the IWCA is bringing women together who previously had no access to each other, or the outside world.

3.  A Moment to Capitalize on and Not Fritter Away [The Simply Luxurious LIfe]

To all my fellow single readers I would encourage you to use this time of not having to “hold someone’s hand” as an opportunity to dive into yourself, develop your strengths, seek out new experiences and try things you’ve always been curious about.

Spending days, months and years after someone has let go trying to find another hand to hold is a waste of precious time that should be used to further your passions, further your dreams and build your confidence. Because there is nothing more attractive than a woman or a man who has become someone they are proud of and filled their resume with experiences that consist of more than just trying to find a mate. And while you are going about your business, chasing your dreams, you’ll be surprised who life has in store for you to have the opportunity to meet.