1 man. 265+ girls and young women. In the arena of competitive gymnastics. (Feel free to do your research on the case of Larry Nasser).
Sexually abused or assaulted. Sometimes in their homes with parents in the vicinity. As young as age 9.
I am a certified life coach for girls. A confidence coach to be exact. I don't know exactly the way sexual crimes against girls and women will cease. I don't know if it will ever cease. But I know this. I WILL WORK DARN HARD TO EMPOWER GIRLS TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST WHAT THEY FEEL IS WRONG.
Nasser convinced many parents of his victims that the girls were lying. One young girl killed herself because she was not able to handle the pain.
Imagine. Going through something like this, and then not being believed by anyone, not even by your parents that it happened.
You're like, OMG not me - I'd believe my kid.
Did you know that "1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse" (1).
Did you also know that "survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 10 to 13 times more likely to attempt suicide"(1).
Whatever the reason, many don't even disclose the incidents. Many don't really know it was "wrong" until later in life - a time when it hits them like a rock and flashes of what life might have been like if it hadn't happened, haunt them.
No, I'm not going to go around hoisting a sign or protesting. That might be your thing, and hell we NEED you. YES.
What am I going to do? I'm gonna work for your kids, to let them know they can learn to recognize and trust their inner voice, their intuition. I'm gonna teach them how to honor themselves. I'm gonna share ways and tools and resources to learn how to overcome fear of judgement, or even punishment and know that speaking up empowers them and makes them stronger, not weaker, and empowers others too - because when you speak up, you give a voice to those who don't have the confidence yet to do the same.
I'm going help your kids develop RESILIENT mindsets and soaring self-esteem that will give them the inner-power to face challenges.
I know that ethno-culturally speaking, many girls of diverse backgrounds are prohibited, shunned, or threatened to be killed for speaking up after being abused. I come from a culture that historically has villianized the female victim for speaking up, causing the incident, or "brining shame on the family / village / culture."
Can you imagine? No probably not. You are abused. And you are blamed for it. Or completely disregarded and ignored.
I was sexually abused on 3 separate occasions between the ages of 5-8 years of age. I knew something was not right, but didn't know what was not right. I didn't speak of it until I was older after really grasping how "not right" it was.
"The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages."(1)
When you don't know, it can't be proven, it can't be wrong. Because you don't know if it is wrong or okay. So young victims are the target.
When I did divulge this information, I was not believed. In fact, as I share this here today, GUARANTEED there are people who know me who will not believe it. There are people who know me who wonder why I am writing this. There are people who know me who choose not to learn to understand why/how sharing this or speaking out helps. There are people who wish for me to not write this.
But, I just did.
And EVERY-TIME I hear a news story about the devastation girls face after sexual abuse, my gut wrenches, but my drive to empower young girls increases. EVERY-TIME, I vow to teach girls how AMAZING THEY ARE, and how they need to know about SELF-RESPECT - something I teach in my Coaching Programs, Workshops and Camps for girls.
All my life I have known that my strongest desire is to help girls. I didn't have all the tools then, but I do now. I am glad to be forging forward among an army of other professionals, coaches, advocates, and activists who aim to empower young girls. I'm grateful to combine my powerful education and experience in coaching, dance and yoga to make a significant difference in the lives of young girls.
Although this is a HEAVY blog-post, I'm grateful to have at my fingertips FUN WAYS to empower the girls I work with thanks to an amazing curriculum that I'm licensed to use and share.