My March for Women's Rights

Why I March for Women's Rights...

"Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies. Today women around the world are marching for parity and equity for all women’s rights. Women's rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability. "

I march today to change the rhetoric of Marital/Intimate Partner rape, sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. I am frightened of the hurt or betrayal some may feel by me sharing my voice but I can not be silent any more. I will not be afraid. This is my truth as I have lived and survived it. 

Common Belief
Some have lost their belief or may have never believed in the basic human right that No ONE has the right to any physical contact or sexual act with their body without their consent. There is a mindset in our world that by being married it automatically gives consent to any and all sexual acts at the desire of an intimate partner at anytime or place. This is not true. No means No, even in MARRIAGE & PARTNERSHIP. No one has the right to physical contact, penetration or to force themselves on any one else without mutual consent not even your intimate partner. A majority of society thinks that sexual consent looks like anyone of these excuses or many others...
  • Appeasement because you don't want to fight with your partner.  
  • Appeasement due to guilt or shame. 
  • If you're naked, you're asking for it.
  • If you're changing in front of your partner, you've given an open invitation.
  • If you're asleep or incapacitated, it's ok to do whatever with their body. 

THIS IS NOT CONSENT! This is Intimate Partner/Marital rape, sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. To understand the definition of these visit this page.  

Results of Marital Sexual Violence
Statistics show that marital sexual violence may result in more damage than stranger rape because victims may have difficulty identifying the acts for what they are so the sexual violence repeats for years without being acknowledged or because of the deep betrayal of a trusted partner. An intimate relationship is just that intimate and vulnerable and this person that you've trusted with your heart and soul has now taken all safety, trust, respect and self worth away from you. 

My Acceptance of My Marital Sexual Violence
I bought into the common belief. I know that there are so many out there that believe this because it's all we've ever known. 
It wasn't until my (now former) husband and I decided to separate that the line in my head became clear. Clear that if we are not together he has no right to my body. So 7 days later when he assaulted me I was in shock.  When it happened I wasn't even sure I could label it as sexual assault, I just knew I felt dirty, used and worthless. I couldn't accept that my own husband would take advantage of me. The following week in my therapists office as I explained what happened I had to ask her to label it for me. When she uttered the words "You were sexually assaulted. Your husband sexually assaulted you." I fell apart and have only come to accept that this has been apart of my marriage for as long as I can remember. The acceptance of past and present marital sexual assault/rape became my reality.

When I finally accepted that sexual assault and abuse were apart of my past marriage and bravely opened up to my closest friends and church/Priesthood leaders I was shamed as they said "Why do you think you were sexually assaulted what happened? Well what were YOU doing? What were you doing to make him think he could do that? I thought you guys were changing clothes in front of each other at the time, so..? I just can’t believe he would do such a thing, he’s usually such a nice/respectful/righteous man.
If someone has the courage to share that they were sexually assaulted it means that they are certain this is the case, they aren't lying and are scared people won't believe them. No one has the right to question if it's true or under what circumstances in happened. These responses to someone saying they were sexually assaulted minimize the act, shame the person and do more harm.

Law Enforcement acceptance: rarely is martial/partner sexual violence reported or prosecuted because having concrete evidence is difficult to find and prove and sometimes isn't even taken seriously by law enforcement. Divorce courts don't deem abuse as a result of fault or see a need to help victims. 

My religion acceptance: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, my experience has been that abuse of all kinds is not deemed a sin or given any sort of condemning to any of my abusers. Yes the church states that abuse is not tolerated but actions speak louder than words and on more than one occasion in my life a blind eye has been turned to the physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse by "worthy Priesthood" holders. 

Where does one turn for safety and peace when the people and institutions we rely on to share our secrets and to hold people accountable for violence and sin don't do it? It creates the rape accepted society we have today because their is no accountability. This has been a harsh and difficult reality for me to accept and the reason I am writing and marching today.  

Our rape accepted society that we live in has got to STOP today! It is accepted when we minimize experiences, shame victims and abusers are not held accountable. 
In this shame, guilt and denial victims can sometimes never become survivors. 
We all deserve to be WARRIOR SURVIVORS. 

How to Support Friends and Family to be Survivors
"Most people who have experienced sexual violence choose to tell someone close to them.  This will be someone who they feel safe enough with to disclose the abuse that they have experienced.  They need to believe that the person they are confiding in is trust-worthy, will believe them, and will keep the information they give confidential.  As a ‘safe’ person to tell, you are an important source of support.
  • Listen - Listen to what they have to say and let them take their time. It might not be easy for them to start talking about an event especially if it is something that they may have kept silent about for a long time.
  • Believe – People rarely lie about sexual assault or abuse. It is important to believe what the person is saying.
  • Respect – It is important to respect their feelings and their decisions. If they feel like crying, let them, it can be part of their healing process.
  • Recognize – The courage it takes for a person to speak must be recognized and praised. It takes a great deal of courage to face up to fears and also to talk about any sexual experience.
  • Don’t judge – It is important to be accepting of the way the person reacts, even if this is not what you were expecting. It is best to get rid of any ideas you may have of how a person who has been sexually assaulted should behave, and to accept their reactions as normal.
  • Remember – It is not their fault – no one asks to be sexually assaulted or deserves it and they cannot be blamed for not preventing it. The blame lies with the rapist. Reassure them that no one has the right to rape or assault anyone no matter what the circumstances were.
Make time to listen if they wish to talk.  Take your cue from them as to how much, how often, and when they want to talk about it.  Do not force them to talk if they do not want to.                                                                                    It may be very difficult for you to empathize with what the person has experienced.  It is important to support them in getting help and information from WMRSASC or any Rape Crisis Centre and other supportive friends and support services.  Most people, once the initial shock and trauma has worn off, want their friend or relative to be ‘better’ or back to ‘normal’.  However, any sexual assault significantly changes your perception of life and of the world you live in.  There is no time limit after which they should have recovered.  Each individual person learns to cope with the experience in their life according to their individual circumstances.  This can take months or years."-West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre
                                        Now that you know what to do CHANGE the rhetoric
 No means No, even in MARRIAGE & PARTNERSHIP

My 2017 One Word

  I'm not going to lie, this one is very hard for me. Last year I debated not picking a word but knew long before January what the word would be so I went with it. This last month I have fought off every inkling of idea of a word for 2017. I'm just wasn't sure I wanted to have a clear focus but as the first few seconds of 2017 rang in I knew my word, CLARITY
   I know this word will take on lots of different meanings over the year but the biggest idea or definition that is shouting at me today is that I first need to find clarity in being transparent and clear in my understanding of my self, health, spiritual, relationships and financial standing as of today. 
  Today I share with you my naked vulnerable true CLARITY. I know as I am vulnerable I give my thoughts and ideas to the world, which can then return to my open heart, mind and soul to help, heal and inspire me. 

Enjoying new found self and acceptance as I know longer live in a box that someone else created for me to live in.  I LIKE ME! I like my values, my beliefs, what I stand for and the purpose I have here on earth. Learning to love myself in a way that I only accept the kind of love from me and others that I'm worth. I WORTH it! Feeding this love through studying and self care is what keeps me capable to keep going everyday.  How do you love you?

Health? I'm SICK, ugh I don't want to talk about this but I need to say something because my usual invisible disease, Ulcerative Colitis, has overtaken my face as it continues to retain water swelling to a size where I no longer recognize the person in the mirror. (yes, I fight off tears every day and yes, I know it could be worse) My disease and I hit rock bottom after being in a flare for over a year, the week before Thanksgiving. UC is a really shitty disease (pun intended because I hate talking about my disease and what it does). I would wish it on my enemies (if I had any). Stress is the main cause of a flare so with all going on this last year it's been very difficult on my body. At Thanksgiving the only option was to go on prednisone (a strong anti inflammatory) that will hopefully put me into remission by February. However the side effects of this drug are super fun (NOT, the water retention hurts, I sweat profusely {EW! gross}, I'm loosing my hair, etc.) and have left me wondering Whose face is this??? 
This new year I will be weaning off the prednisone, cleansing, exercising, trying some new western meds (Protandem) and open to anything else you want to share with me. How do you stay healthy? Are you fighting for your life? How do you fight peacefully? How do you reduce stress?

Spiritually I feel like my relationship with God is better than it's been in years even though that doesn't look like the picture perfect mormon church ad I've subscribed to in the past and totally support my family and friends in doing what's right for them. I don't know if I'll ever want that picture again. If I do I will be true to myself and go with it, but for now that's not it. My knowledge of truth, light and love are what I live by. This keeps me grounded and raw in the truth of God as we are all ONE. I'm open to truth and light in all forms even from others, I love that special friends can look into my soul and share with me insights to help me understand myself and see what I need. I want more of this in my life. How do you fill your spiritual bucket? 

Motherhood is a choice everyday to be present. My children are going through so much right now individually, on top of their parents getting divorced and dad getting remarried all within 3 months, its left us all spinning wildly trying to find a new normal. As the mom these past few months I've spent most of my hours sustaining my children's emotional well being and physical needs. Which makes all the stuff above even more important to have in order. 

Relationships can come in many forms and are said to be the most important thing here on earth. I cherish the people in my life and enjoy serving them.  I am open to what comes my way. I'm taking one day at a time and accepting what comes with open arms. I don't want to deny myself what I'm worth wether that comes now or later. I will cultivate richer relationships in all aspects of my life. How do you cultivate deep meaningful relationships? 

Financially I am sure I need to stick to a budget, JESS help! (haha) I sold my half of the company so I am looking for the next thing for me either as an entrepreneur or employee in order to provide financially for me. It's important to me that whatever it is I do I use my strengths and talents in a position where I GIVE and RECEIVE equally. My dream opportunity is to run a philanthropic organization I believe in. Therefore I am working on my own called Power Play, an indoor playground with a focus on nuerodiverse acceptance. I've also applied to The Younique Foundation. I hope for and would love to see both of these become a reality soon. 

This is my CLARITY today, January 1st, 2017. 
Now I stretch my arms open wide and ask for the light and love needed to fulfill my purpose. I need you, angels and God to help me achieve all I need to. 
#Clarity2017 #gettingClear