No Wedding No Womb Part 2: Clarity and What We Can Do To Help

Yesterday’s post on the No Wedding No Womb Campaign received a lot of hits. A few ladies posted some insightful thoughts on the campaign as well as what they thought about the message that was being promoted. I admit that I am new to the NWNW movement and can not profess to support something that I have not researched in detail. I changed the title of yesterdays post from “Why I support the NWNW Campaign” to “The NWNW Campaign.”

While the founder of NWNW is not coming from a Christian perspective, I still feel that she is promoting positivity in the black community and trying to raise awareness and help people to have standards when it comes to relationships, sex and parenting. I belive that just because an organization is not Christian based does not mean that Christians can’t receive little nuggets from the message the organization is promoting.

The campaign is not preaching abstinence and is not coming from a biblical perspective but at least NWNW is trying to educate and encourage the black community as well as assist in preventing unplanned pregnancy. The org is also promoting two parent homes and that is something that the black community is severely lacking. I was told by one single mother who follows the founder of NWNW on Twitter, that her message is negative and depressing to single mothers. I am not sure if this is true because I have only read a few articles on the NWNW website. What I do know is that we aren’t helping single parents by putting them down or passing judgement on them. It is only by God’s grace that all of us who have had sex outside of marriage, did not conceive children. All children are a blessing and a gift from God, no matter what circumstance brought them into this world.  Passing judgement, tearing people down or trying to scare teens into not having sex will not work as productive long-lasting preventative measures.

I do not believe that every couple who has a child together should get married but if people were selective in who they date and had a standard to require a wedding ring before giving up the goods, more children would be born into committed two parent homes. We as a people need to have self respect, standards with regards to relationships and concentrate more on our futures and purpose in life than we do our outward appearance, material possessions and whose hooking up with who. AIDS and STDs are real and they affect the black community more than any other population. Sex isn’t worth dying for. It is best to not have sex before marriage  (read 1 Cor 6:18-20) but if you can not wait, you MUST use protection.

 There are many different components that factor into when and why people start having sex and if those issues aren’t addressed, young people will continue to be sexually active, have children outside of marriage and possibly won’t be able to receive the No Wedding No Womb message.

  • What sexual messages teens are exposed to in their home, through the media and while their out with their friends (viewing pornography) will determine how they see themselves and how they value sex.
  • Many young people are surrounded by friends, family and others in their communities that aren’t married and have multiple children. Viewing this can make young people feel like having sex and babies outside of marriage is normal.
  • When young people have been abused sexually, physically or verbally, they can start to look for love in all the wrong places and find themselves pregnant or getting someone pregnant. They weren’t trying to have a baby, but in the midst of being sexually active, a baby was made.

The question becomes, are campaigns like NWNW affective in reaching these young people who have been exposed to so much and may have unhealthy views on sex, pregnancy, parenthood and marriage? The campaign maybe affective for some and not for others. 

Each of us can do the following to promote healthy holy living: single people can spread the news to others that is ok to be single and you can be healthy, happy and content in your singlehood. Single parents can continue to give their children their all and be dedicated examples. Single parents can admit that life with children and no partner is difficult and not ideal, and teach those around them how not to end up being single parents. Those that are married can promote stable, healthy, long lasting godly marriage because many people in our society never get to see that. Everyday each of us are walking billboards. Ask yourself, what are you promoting? Pray for those around you, witness to your family and friends, let them know that God loves them and wants whats best for them. Share your testimony of how God brought you out of difficult situations and made you whole again. This is my purpose in life, to spread the good news of Christ through sharing my testimony and lifestyle with others.

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Restoration Week: But God Update

In four days, it will be the 10 year victory anniversary of the sexual assault that I survived. For the days leading up to the 9/4/10 celebration of the victory,  I will publish post about God’s restoration power.  Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. The devil thought he had me BUT GOD!!

Regarding the format of the book, originally I was composing a women’s testimony book and collecting testimonies surrounding several different topics. I thought that by collecting several different testimony topics, women all over the world could relate and be blessed. I promoted the books and requested testimony submissions and was blessed to collect 40 testimonies!!

Kim Brookes, author of several books including, He’s Fine But Is He Saved, blessed me to go to The Anointed Pen Seminar earlier this year. At the seminar I met many awesome, anointed, talented and wise authors, including Versandra Kennebrew, author of Thank God For The Shelter.  I signed up for Versandra to be my book coach and the rest is history! Kim and Versandra continued to encourage me to pray about narrowing down the topic of my book to make it organized and geared towards a more target audience. After praying and learning more about book writing and marketing, I have decided to focus my first testimony book on rape, attempted rape, incest and sexual abuse.

The purpose of the book will be to shed the light on the sexual assault epidemic. To educate, encourage and empower women. To let women know that they can and will get through the after effects of rape, incest or sexual abuse. To let women know how God sees them and that He is not to blame but He is there to heal and restore and rebuild. The book will be a Christian resource, self-help, and motivational book. Resources will be provided at the end of the book (websites, hotlines, books, healing ministries)

I want to explore stats, preventative steps and what to do if you or someone you know has been assaulted. I want to explore the importance of seeking counseling, medical and legal help if you have experienced any of the mention situations.

How you can help

Before the resource chapter, I want to include 5-10 short testimonies of women who have experienced, survived and overcome rape, attempted rape, incest or sexual abuse. 

If you are a rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse or incest survivor and would like to have your story in the book (all testimonies will be brief and anonymous) please contact me with regards to further details. I have a few ladies already who are willing to write on these difficult topics. More women than you all care to know have suffered in silence regarding these topics and I say no more!! I want to shine a light on the truth and bring healing and wholeness by introducing people to the ultimate healer and restorer, Jesus Christ!!

If you or someone you know would like to share their short testimony to stump on the devil’s head, give God ALL the glory and encourage other women, I ask that you email me at butgodbook@yahoo.com All testimonies that are selected will be published anonymously to protect the identities of the survivors. The deadline for submissions will be 9/25/10 but please contact me ASAP to let me know that you would like to be apart of the book. Please share this post with other women that may be interested as well.

I have written out my new plan of action and I am praying, writing and meeting with Versandra. She is one of my accountability partners throughout this journey. I will keep you all posted as I go alone. I am sorry for not being able to include all of the testimonies in this first book but I feel that the book will be more organized, focused and affective this way. As the Lord leads, I would like to use the other testimonies for future projects and I would of course seek the permission of the writers before doing anything with their testimonies.

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

Signs of A Potential Rapist

There is not a particular look that a rapist will have but there are certain behaviors/characteristics that you should look out for. I do not want to place fear in women, I want to open their eyes, educate, empower and encourage them. Ladies please be safe. Seek God, pray and ask Him for guidance and protection regarding your day to day activities and your love life. Be wise, be aware and be safe. Below are warning signs that your date, boyfriend, fiance’ or husband maybe dangerous. Please do not ignore  or make excuses for the warning signs that your man is being abusive, aggressive or insensitive to your feelings, body or personal space. If your gut tells you to leave then get up and go, don’t question it. Your gut feeling is the Holy Spirit warning you. If you find yourself in danger, bring as much attention to yourself as you can and try to run and get away. To read the entire article and a detailed description of the list below, checkout the link that is posted at the bottom of this post.

Signs of A Potential Rapist

1) Insensitivity for others/emphasis on self

2) Belittling behavior or attitudes towards others

3) Negating behavior or comments

4) Hostile and/or threatening language

 5) Bullying

6) Excessive anger

7) Brooding/ revenge

8. Obsession

9) Extreme mood swings

10) Physical tantrums

11) Jock or gorilla mentality

12) A mean drunk

13) Alcohol or drug abuse

While there are others, these behaviors are serious indicators of a potential rapist. This short list should acquaint you with the basics. Not all men are rapists, but a person like this has a higher probability than others. You not only find these traits among rapists and abusers, but also professional criminals. Philosophically there is little difference between such, they are all selfish. Most often it is just a matter of degrees, style and choice of victims.

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/profile.html

Healing For Her Soul: Shining Light on The Darkness

“If the occurrence of rape were audible, its decibel level equal to its frequency, it would overpower our days and nights, interrupt our meals, our bedtime stories, howl behind our love-making, an insistent jackhammer of distress. We would demand an end to it. And if we failed to locate its source, we would condemn the whole structure. We would refuse to live under such conditions.” – Patricia Weaver Francisco, Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

 I wrote this poem when I was going through and preparing to receive my healing.

The Story of A Hurting Woman

7/7/02

As she looked into his eyes

She knew right then

That she’d never look at men

The same way again

He stole her innocence

He crushed her pride

But she told no one

Her shame she tried to hide

To this day the thought of it

Still makes her want to lose control

A friend she thought he was to her

Some of the events of that day

Are still a blur

For some reason

That night she did not yell

Because of the embarrassment

Her story she did not tell

He ripped at her clothes

As her mind went blank

Into a secret safe place

In her mind she sank

To hear his name

Still makes her want to cry

He had no right to violate her

But he did have the right to die

A part of her died that day

The part that thought the world was a safe place

The part that trusted men

Now avoids a strangers face

She hurts to this day

And there’s nothing anyone can say

To erase what has been done

But what she did not know was

She wasn’t the only one

By Joanna Willis

I was sexually assaulted in September of 2000. It wasn’t until 2002 that I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready to acknowledge what happened to me and deal with the effects that the assault had on my life. I was fearful, angry, bitter, hateful and distrusting of men. Once I was ready to admit that I had been assaulted, I had to deal with the emotional rollercoaster that followed. 2002 was the perfect year to begin my healing process because I rededicated my life to Christ in Jan of that year.  I was going to church, reading my word, applying the bible to my everyday life and attending counseling. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the hurt and pain during that season without the Holy Ghost.

Part of the reason why I did not seek help immediately after my assault was because I did not know what to do or where to go.  I’m not blaming my parents, college or church, but the fact of the matter is, I hadn’t been  educated regarding what sexual assault was, how to protect myself or what to do if I was victimized. My own ignorance, mixed with shame, fear and embarrassment kept me silent and allowed my attacker to go free.

It is vital for everyone to know what to do to if they or someone they know has been assaulted. Also, it’s very important for the loved ones of the survivors (I will not use the word victim) to know what they can do to support them. Please read the following info below.

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

  • Try to get to a place where you feel safe.
  • Reach out for support. Call someone you trust, like a friend or family member. You are not alone; there are people who can give you the support you need.
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (toll-free 1-800-656-4673) or a local rape crisis hotline are resources for you.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Medical care is important to address any injuries you may have and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
  • Most importantly, know that the assault is not your fault.

You have the right to…

  • Be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Privacy. That means you can refuse to answer any questions about the sexual assault, your sexual orientation, your sexual history, your medical history (including HIV status) and your mental health history.
  • Have your conversations with a sexual assault counselor/advocate remain confidential.
  • Decide whether or not you want to report the assault to the police.
  • Not be judged based on your race, age, class, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Have a sexual assault counselor/advocate accompany you to medical, law enforcement and legal proceedings.
  • Request that someone you are comfortable with stay with you in the examination room.
  • Ask questions and get answers regarding any tests, exams, medications, treatments or police reports.
  • Be considered a survivor of sexual assault, regardless of the offender’s relationship to you.

If you are considering filing a police report…

  • Try not to bathe, shower, change your clothes, eat, drink, smoke, gargle or urinate prior to the exam.
  • Seek medical attention for an exam and evidence collection as soon as possible after the assault.
  • Bring a change of clothes with you.
  • You have the right to have a sexual assault counselor/advocate with you during your medical exam.
  • Reporting to the police is your choice.

Remember, you are not alone and you are not to blame for what happened.

http://www.connsacs.org/seeksupport/assaulted.htm

A Word to Support Persons

The survivor of sexual assault has been through a very traumatic experience and it is important that she/he receive support, assistance, and accurate information. Your being there in a supportive way is immensely valuable.

Allow the survivor to make choices and remain in control. Give reassurance that she/he is not to blame. Listen as she/he talks about the experience. Be accepting of the survivor’s many emotional reactions including anger, fear, anxiety, and depression.

Believe what the survivor tells you. Know that revealing this experience takes a great deal of strength and courage. Letting the survivor know that you believe what they have told you and that the assault was not their fault is extremely important.

Be respectful of privacy. Don’t tell anyone about the assault without the survivor’s permission. The survivor has only chosen to tell you and it may be hurtful or detrimental to their healing process and recovery.

Be a good listener. Here are some things to keep in mind when a survivor chooses to talk with you:

  • DO concentrate on understanding the survivor’s feelings
  • DO allow silences
  • DO let the survivor know you are glad s/he told you
  • DON’T interrogate or ask for specific details about the sexual assault
  • DON’T ask “why” questions such as “why did you go there?” or “why didn’t you scream?” or “why didn’t you go to the hospital right away?”
  • DON’T tell the survivor what you would have done or what they should have done

Let the survivor make their own decisions. Always let survivors weigh their options and decide how to proceed in their own recovery process. Telling a survivor what you think they “should do” about the options available to them can contribute to a survivor’s sense of being disempowered. Instead of taking charge, ask how you can help. Support the decisions the survivor makes, even if you don’t agree with them!

Remind the survivor that you care. Being “there” for survivors is very important. You can do this in a number of ways; by being a good listener; accompanying them if they seek medical attention or walking over with them to get counseling or crisis support at the Counseling Center; making arrangements to have dinner or coffee with them; asking the survivor “how can I be helpful”; voicing your concern by saying things like “I’m sorry that this has happened”; telling them how courageous they are; or telling them that you don’t see the survivor any differently may all be tangible ways to show that you care about the survivor.

Give the survivor space if s/he needs it. Be sensitive to the fact that the survivor might want to spend some time alone. Don’t take it personally. Survivors may just need some time to pay attention to their own needs from time to time.  

If you are a romantic partner of the survivor, ask for permission before touching or holding the survivor. Do not rush sexual contact. The survivor needs to decide when it is right to have sexual contact and to pace the intensity of involvement. Accept the fact that the survivor’s renewal of sexual interest may occur at a slow pace. Discuss the subject of sex in a non-sexual environment.

http://www.oakland.edu/?id=6581&sid=208

100 Things You Can Do to Prevent Sexual Assault

Below are statistics about sexual assault. Please read the stats and click the two links to learn more about sexual assault. It’s important to be educated and then know what to do to prevent the violence in your communities.  Also checkout the list of things to do to prevent sexual assault.

Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

Women Sexual Assault Statistics

  • According to a study conducted by the National Victim Center, 1.3 women ( age 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 per hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.
  • Seventy-five percent of women raped are between the ages of 15 and 21. The average age is 18.
  • Of female Americans who are raped, 54% experience their first rape before age 18.
  • Women with a childhood history of sexual abuse are 4.7 times more likely to be subsequently raped.  

Child Sexual Assault Statistics 

  • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18..
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18
  • Persons under 18 years of age account for 67% of all sexual assault victimization reported to law enforcement agencies. Children under 12 years old account for 34% of those cases and children under six years account for 14% of those cases
  • 1.8 million U.S. Adolescents have been sexually assaulted 
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were three and a half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault
  • 69% of teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual
  • 24% of sexually active girls younger than 13 years old reported that their first intercourse was non-consensual
  • A survey of high school students found that one in five had experienced forced sex (rape). Half of these girls told no one about the incident 

http://www.lafasa.org/Publications/lastats.cfm

 AAUW Breaking Through Barriers For Women and Girls

http://www.aauw.org/advocacy/laf/lafnetwork/library/assault_stats.cfm

 The 100 Ways to Prevent Sexual Assault is an awesome list of simple things people can do to prevent violence, promote positivity, awareness and responsibility in their communities. We must educate ourselves and then teach those around us. When we know better, we must do better. There is also a resource list at the end of this post.

100 Things You Can Do to Prevent Sexual Assault

1) Respect a person’s right to say no

2) educate yourself on the issues

3) volunteer at your local rape crisis program

4) believe survivors

5) contact your local legislators and political leaders

6) know the statistics

7) trust your gut feeling

8) speak out against all forms of violence

9) respect and embrace diversity

10) avoid blaming the victim

11) believe in equality

12) be aware of how violence is portrayed in the media

13) speak out against the media’s portrayal of violence

14) advocate for more rape prevention education programs

15) admit that it does happen in your community

16) understand that sexual violence affects us all

17) participate in local take back the night events

18) listen

19) stop others from slipping a date rape drug in someone’s drink

20) know that sexual violence is about power and control

21) teach kids how to stay safe

22) advocate for victim’s rights

23) know the laws

24) believe that a safer world is possible

25) attend events sponsored by local rape crisis centers

26) be alert and aware

27) participate in sexual assault awareness month activities

28) teach kids that violence is not the answer

29) put a sexual violence prevention sticker on your car

30) sponsor a fund raiser for your local sexual assault program

31) know that most sex offenders aren’t strangers

32) respect your partner or significant other

33) avoid making threats or using coercion and pressure to get sex

34) be courageous

35) wear a sexual assault prevention t-shirt

36) visit the njcasa.org website

37) support RAINN sponsored concerts and events

38) avoid making assumptions

39) be nonjudgmental

40) speak out against racist, sexist or homophobic jokes

41) be strong

42) start an email campaign

43) know the resources available in your community

44) advocate for more youth violence prevention programs

45) know that it can happen to anyone

46) write a letter to the editor of your newspaper

47) write an article for your school paper or workplace newsletter

48) be safe and aware when on the internet

49) get others to speak out against sexual violence

50) tell your parents what you know about sexual assault

51) create a sexual assault bulletin board

52) stop your sexual advances if the other person says no

53) encourage others to do the same

54) avoid buying music that glorifies sexual violence

55) urge your local radio stations to stop playing music that contains violent lyrics

56) applaud others who speak out against sexual violence

57) invite a speaker from your local rape crisis center

58) pledge to never commit or condone acts of sexual violence

59) stop yourself from taking advantage of someone who is passed out or incoherent

60) call for help if you witness an act of violence

61) get help

62) respect the choices victims and survivors make to survive

63) stop others from taking advantage of someone who is intoxicated

64) respect different lifestyles

65) know that men can be raped

66) empathize

67) know that sexual violence can be a form of domestic violence

68) work towards eliminating oppression of all kinds

69) think globally and act locally

70) open your mind

71) open your eyes

72) open your heart

73) engage others in discussions about sexual violence

74) challenge assumptions

75) break the silence

76) know the rights of victims

77) empower

78) advocate

79) be open to change

80) reach out

81) educate

82) have compassion

83) know that you have the power to make a difference

84) find your voice

85) learn about sexual harassment

86) learn about healthy boundaries

87) notice when someone invades your boundaries

88) get help if you are being sexually harassed

89) report it if you witness sexual harassment in your school or workplace

90) support a friend

91) protect yourself

92) talk about it

93) learn about date rape drugs

94) get the facts

95) tell others

96) stay alert

97) stay aware

98) know your school’s or workplace’s policies on sexual violence and harassment 99) reinforce that rape is never the victim’s fault

100) avoid engaging in, supporting or encouraging sexual harassment

http://www.ncdsv.org/images/100thingsSa.pdf