Life After Revenge Porn

Life After Revenge Porn

My Story.
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From the moment I exited the warmth of my mother’s womb and entered the enveloping chill of a judgmental world, I was wrapped in a blanket of shame. My hospital cries were pacified, my jungle gym bruises bandaged- tears wiped away and camouflaged with sticks and stones that claimed be more hurtful than words. Words, however, are sharper than sticks and stronger than stones- they have the capability to both break my bones and shatter my spirit. Despite disabilities and language barriers, every human being is born with the ability to speak. With this ability comes a cloak of consciousness- a filter that shades the truth and only reveals what is socially acceptable. In turn, some speak too much, while others not at all.

As a woman, my voice is often overshadowed by those of men. As a queer woman, my voice is trampled. As a woman suffering from mental illness, it is misunderstood. As a woman without shame, it is feared. Despite this, I speak. Despite this, I write.

When I was fifteen years old, I was a victim of revenge pornography. I was pressured into sending naked photographs to a boy that I liked. After several weeks, I told him that I no longer wished to continue our correspondence, because I was interested in someone else. He then promised he would ruin my life.

He posted the photographs on the internet and send them to my classmates. My naked body was displayed online like a piece of stolen artwork. My voice was stolen. I was in high school. I sat in chemistry class while my classmates whispered about me like I was a stolen diary- a dirty secret. For years, I refused to speak about what had happened to me. I allowed myself to fall victim to humiliation and guilt day after day. I let a boy's need for revenge dominate my every move.

I did not open up about what happened to me for four years. Within that time, I wallowed in fear of humiliation. I did not apply to major colleges or pursue huge dreams and accomplishments for fear that my achievements would spark the pictures to resurface. I hid in the shadow of my fourteen year old self who was a frightened victim of nonconsensual pornography.

One day I realized that freedom is my own choice- and words the weapon I’d use to break the chain of my oppressor. Instead of wallowing in fear, I set myself free by telling the story of what had happened to me. Through writing, I learned that I was not alone. I learned that my soul can create things more beautifully haunting than ghost stories, and that gardens can still grow in achingly empty places.

I believe that individuals are dealt disadvantages as opportunities to change how the world perceives people who are different. By embracing the scars, the hurt, and the raw truths of our mistakes and what has happened to us, we write our own strength. We publish our pasts and write shame off of the pages. We rewrite, we continue, we win.

Each second that I choose noise over silence- I win. When I reclaim my body, I win. I win, I win, I win.

If you see my naked body today, you will see words written on my kneecaps and wrists. You will see cracks that I have not covered. You will see seams that I have not sewn shut. I have stretch marks in my chest where my fear once lived. I’ve grown so much since then. Today, I swallow what has happened to me and spit it out into a book that everyone who has ever destroyed me will have to read- because what I write is more naked than I’ve ever been.

Revenge pornography is an illegal act. If you are the victim of this crime, you are not alone. You deserve to be heard. Know your cyber civil rights. Reclaim your voice. Take back your body. Do not be silent. Do not be afraid.

--------------------------

Resources:

www.cybercivilrights.org

SPEAK UP: End Revenge Porn Crisis Line 844-878-CCRI

Change.Org Petition to Protect Victims: https://www.change.org/p/protect-victims-end-reven...


“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre
minds.” - Albert Einstein


Cover Image Credit: Google

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Supporting Late-Term Abortion Is Actually The Opposite Of Feminism

Feminism is about gender equality and women supporting women- so shouldn't we support the unborn women of tomorrow?

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Before you read this, if you are someone who feels strongly that abortions are the "right" choice and that supporting late-term abortions is a step for woman anywhere, I do not suggest you read this article. However, I do want to write that I support conditional abortions- situations where the birth can kill the mother or where conception occurred because of rape. If someone rapes you, that is not okay by any means, and a baby conceived of rape can be terminated by the mother to avoid PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and any other mental health diagnoses. Of course, if a woman can bring a baby into the world to keep or give up for adoption, even if it was the product of rape, she should seek life for the innocent child rather than death. And what a rape victim chooses to do is neither here nor there- and it damn well is not anyone else's business.

So why should it be my business (or anyone's) if women have late-term abortions? Agreeing to murder out of convenience should not be societally accepted as okay. When the law passed in New York for late-term abortions, I did not picture 39-week pregnant women rushing to Planned Parenthood to abort their child because they got cold feet. I highly doubt that is the exact scenario for which the law went into effect for, and that was more so intended for women who did not realize they were pregnant and missed the time period to get a legal abortion.

Not that I support early-term abortion, because all abortion is the same regardless of when it happens during the pregnancy. Killing someone sooner rather than later does not make it less worse.

Excuses about how women are not ready to be mothers, do not have the financial means, would ruin their futures, they would get kicked out, lose their bodies, etc. are just that- excuses. Carrying a child for nine months might be an inconvenience, but killing someone will be on your conscience forever. If murders pleaded their motives to police as a way to justify what they did (excluding self-defense), what difference is it if a woman kills her unborn child?

Planned Parenthood might be taboo and have a stigma attached to it, but it does so much more than kill babies. Planned Parenthood is a place where girls can go to see OB/GYNO, get birth control, and learn about safe sex, protection, STDs, etc. Instead of stigmatizing it, young women should be encouraged to go to this institution for woman and feminism. Let high school health classes plan field trips there so that everyone becomes more educated on female health (boys included!). Female health education is very limited, especially in school, and many women feel that an abortion is their only way out, however, it's not. By becoming more educated, the rate of teen pregnancies can go down, as well as the need for abortions. Women educating other women should be the goal of Planned Parenthood, and abortions should be reserved for those who got raped or whose pregnancy cause death, health complications, etc.

Abortion might be giving women a choice- but who is giving the unborn babies a choice?

And of course the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is abstinence, and if that is your choice then good for you, and if you choose to have sexual intercourse, good for you too. Be safe. No slut shaming here. Women need to continue supporting other women, regardless of their sex life. Women who have abortions are not "whores" and should not be labeled as such- they are just people whose biology reacted to another person's biology.

If you truly do not want to have a baby, please please please give it up for adoption and do not kill it. It did nothing wrong, and yeah, it might be a little inconvenient to be pregnant, especially if you are in school, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love nothing more than to raise your baby. Be a woman supporting other woman and give the gift of motherhood.

If you take away anything from this article it's this:



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