Embrace The Skin YOU are IN!

This past Saturday June 25, 2011. I had the honor of being one of the presenters at "Embrace the Skin You're In" Health Extravaganza. This event was held at Rock of Ages Church in the beautiful Spiritual Growth and Development Center. Men, women and children attended the event either alone, with friends or with family members. The event started off with the host and personal fitness trainer, Brittany Ramsey, getting the crowd warmed up by exercising. People also had the opportunity to get tons of information from the non-profit and business vendors who were there. Vendors included but were not limited to, The American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Westlake Hospital, who provided free blood pressure screenings and bone density screenings and a host of other really amazing vendors. All of the presenters spoke on the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of healthy living and I was fortunate enough to be apart of a monumental event.

All of last week I kept thinking about how I was going to bring up the topic of sexual abuse to a bunch of church folk who honestly, I still feel are not ready to face the reality of what is going on in their community and possibly in their homes. The day before I had to speak, I stayed up through the night, nervous and a bit scared of the reactions I would get from the audience once they found out what I was there to talk to them about. The following day I woke up,  prayed and aside from that, I recieved encouragement and motivation from numerous friends which calmed my nerves down.

Reflecting back, on Friday morning I did a tweet up. Tweet ups are when you ask a series of questions on Twitter based on a particular subject in hopes that your followers will give feedback. Though not many of my followers participated in my tweet up, it was really interesting to read some of  my followers' view points on sexual abuse. I asked questions such as:

Why do you feel sexual abuse is so taboo in the BLACK COMMUNITY?

Are you a survivor of sexual abuse or molestation but no one knows?
 
How do you personally feel about discussing Rape or molestation?
 
Some of the responses geared towards people feeling strongly about how important it is in the black community to talk about sexual abuse and other followers pretty much stated that sexual abuse is "none of their business". So, because of the feedback I'd gotten on Friday, I was a bit worried about the reactions I would get at my speaking engagement the next day.
 
To my surprise, I was able to keep the audience's attention and I received lots of hand claps, nodding of the head insinuatiing that they were in agreeance with me. Also to my surprise, Idiscovered that there are individuals who do not even know what constitutes as sexual abuse.
 
Sexual Abuse is any form of unwanted sexual behavior ranging from:
-Rape or sexual assault
-Child sexual assault and incest
-Intimate partner sexual assault
-Unwanted sexual contact/touching
-Sexual harassment
-Sexual exploitation
-Showing one’s genitals or naked
body to other(s) without consent
-Masturbating in public
-Watching someone in a private act
without their knowledge or permission
 
After the event ended, I was approached by women who stated that they had experienced a form of sexual abuse but did not know it until I spoke with them. Others stated that they were either a survivor of sexual abuse, they have a friend who is a survivor or they have a family member who is a survivor. Speaking at my church made me realize that we as a people need to continue to break the silence about sexual violence and continue to educate not only our children but our community as a whole. I left feeling empowered and inspired to continue doing what I have been called to do. I am looking forward to educating more people on the impact of sexual abuse/violence not only in my community but throught out the WORLD. Speaking at "Embrace the Skin You're In" was not just a normal speaking engagement for me. The energy that I felt when I held that mic in my hand was unexplainable. The movement has OFFICIALLY started and I hope that all of you will join me. Continue standing up for what is right and what is just. Continue to speak out about issues that are prevalent in our society. I am more inspired than before. I am inspired to continue being amazing and being a light. And I am most definitely inspired to CONTINUE embracing the beautiful skin I am in! I hope you all are too!  :-)
 
 
BY THE WAY:
 
  • RAINN has a great new Online Hotline that provides free, live and confidential help, 24/7 at online.rainn.org. It doesn't matter if the assault took place yesterday, last year, or 10 years ago, they are there to help anyone who has been affected by sexual violence.

  • Join RAINN in the fight against sexual abuse. Volunteer or donate today so that no one has to go it alone. You have the power to make a difference, visit rainn.org for more information.
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