Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seeking Student Leaders. Will you be the one?

Program Development Internship -- Spring 2011


One Student is a nonprofit organization that provides students and their allies with programs, resources and opportunities to address sexual violence. We are seeking a driven, visionary thinker to assist in developing our primary and to help encourage students to enact lasting social change in communities throughout the country.

This is a chance to gain real experience in health education, organizational outreach and leadership development while promoting sexual assault awareness and healthy relationships in a positive, inclusive and creative manner.

Qualified applicants must be comfortable corresponding with all levels of campus community members and must have strong communication skills both oral and written.

The ideal candidate will be an articulate, creative and organized self starter. Prefer applicants with leadership experience who are passionate about sexual assault awareness, sexual health and sexual equality. Only sexually empowered individuals or those with the desire to become so need apply.

This is a part-time telecommute position. Start date is January 2011 and will conclude in May 2011. If desired, we will work with the student and university to ensure college credit is provided for the internship.

Please submit your resume and cover letter no later than 12/10/10 to info@onestudent.org with subject line: Intern Resume.

Position responsibilities will include the following:

• Correspond with and develop a working relationship with campus leadership, staff and student volunteers who are interested in or affiliated with One Student

• Recruit potential partners and volunteers

• Further develop and maintain volunteer database

• Identify and promote positive examples of students enacting change via the One Student network

• Contribute to educational outreach efforts via weekly community wall posts

• Contribute to assigned program development of No Woman Left Behind or Collegiate Consortium as needed

• Assist in managing Student Involvement committee of the No Woman Left Behind Advisory Board or Assist in establishing/ managing the annual calendar for the Collegiate Consortium

*Other responsibilities may be assigned as needed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday One Student

We have been on an extended and unintentional break from this blog and not that we're digging for excuses, but one of the reasons for our absence here is our latest project. We are happt to share with you that the first phase of the project is complete and the website is finally here! It’s like our baby is being born and these two mama’s could not be more excited or proud. One Student has been a dream of ours for years and to see it come to life is incredible. Thank you to our friends, family colleagues and fellow allies for all you have done to help turn the concept of One Student from wishful thinking into actuality and now streaming live for the world to see.


We look forward to developing the organization and working with you to help students and their allies enact change. So you’d think that after months of work (and meditation, hope and prayer) we could step back, relax and breathe just a little bit now that phase one of the website is finally here. Not a chance, we’re just getting started my friends and we are already working on phase two. Stay tuned!

We welcome your feedback and invite you to visit the Be The One tab and ask that you put your name with ours and sign the One Student pledge. By standing together we are sending a powerful message that One Student can make a difference and one sexual assault is too many.

Please pass the website and video along to everyone you know. Change starts with one student, one campus, one community and is literally just one click away. Come on, what are you waiting for? Click, share and be the one! OneStudent.org

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

8 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Whether you’re embarking on your first semester of campus life or returning for your fifth year, before you get the back to school party started take a few minutes to read eight things every student can do to better protect themselves from sexual violence and help reduce the number of sexual assaults on campus.


1. Trust your intuition; it’s your best defense. If you don’t trust someone or something there’s probably a reason. Listening to you inner voice can save your life.

2. Be prepared. Program any numbers that could aid you (or a friend) in a crisis or potential crisis into your cell phone in advance such as the counseling center, campus advocate, campus police, women’s center, resident assistant, etc.

3. Communicate. Have candid discussions with your roommates and friends about supporting one another, respecting your individual choices and keeping each other safe.

4. Express yourself. Be honest with your partner(s) about one another’s personal boundaries and know that it’s okay if they change.

5. Just 2 it. There’s nothing wrong with calling for back up. If you don’t feel comfortable walking alone ask a friend to join you or call a campus escort.

6. Use a DSP. If you choose to drink always have a trusted DSP (designated sober person). Discuss your boundaries and plans for the night in advance and stick with them.

7. Just say no. Do not have sex while you or your partner(s) are under the influence. Having sex with someone who cannot resist or say "no" because the person is drugged, drunk, passed out, unconscious, or asleep may be sexual assault

8. Speak up. One voice has power. If you uncover opportunities that could improve your campus/ community safety, speak up.

While there are things everyone can do to be proactive and make safety a priority it’s important to remember that no matter the circumstance sexual assault is never the survivors fault.

Helpful Vocabulary

Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact such as sexual touching or fondling that occurs without consent. This may or may not include sexual intercourse as some states use this term interchangeably with rape.

Date rape or acquaintance rape is generally defined as forcible sexual contact by someone known to the victim (a friend, date, acquaintance, etc.).

Drug-facilitated sexual assault is generally used to define situations in which victims are subjected to nonconsensual sexual acts while they are incapacitated or unconscious due to the effects of alcohol and/or other drugs and are therefore, prevented from resisting and/or are unable to give consent.

Monday, July 26, 2010

women supporting women

The word partner means a lot to both of us. We are very blessed to have loving partners at home who support our work and believe that if it takes an airplane to get us to where we need to be then they will be glad to hold down the fort until we return home. We also have been blessed with our friendship, which over the past 20 years has morphed into one of the most significant partnerships in each of our lives. So when we started to form partnerships through our work we thought long and hard about the standard. Do they have a strong value system regarding their work? Are they advocates for college students? Do they look to empower women? Would we be proud to put our name with theirs?


When the chance to form a partnership with Delta Gamma Women's Fraternity presented itself (read more here), we could not pass it up. Delta Gamma is a premier women's organization serving college age women and their alumnae. This is a new adventure for us but feels very familiar because for years, we have worked closely with members of the organization in chapters all over the country. Our Social Outreach Coordinator and former intern extraordinaire, Sabrina is a sister of DG and long before our blessed union took place they were supporting the No Woman Left Behind Campaign.

The philosophy of our work is that one student being sexually assaulted is too many and one student can help change their campus culture. So in the coming months as we meet more motivated DG's looking to be that "one student" who will leave her campus better than she found it we are filled with excitement considering the possibilities. We are honored and flattered to put our name with theirs and think it speaks volumes about a women's organization that is clearly committed to empowering their members and working to end sexual violence on campus.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RAINN: The Secret



We've recently been given the opportunity to work with a group of girls who are younger than the high school and college age demographic that we're used to speaking with and so this PSA is expecially touching. While this piece is beautiful, encouraging and unfortunately necessary I can't help but have an extremely deep and irrational rage toward any person who would touch or harm a child in any way.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

little blue buddha



We moved into our new digs this week. Having a space aside from our respective home office’s feels good, strange, exciting and scary all at once, it’s kind of like when we moved into the dorms on campus together-- a new chapter in our lives with endless potential. Fast forward fifteen years and we are on chapter 27 or so and we’re roomies again! Sans the bunk beds, excessive use of contact paper and crate full of 10 for $1 Ramen.



We fully understand that an office is just a space, but right now it feels like so much more. It represents the next phase of our journey and with the help of many wonderful people who we respect, admire and adore, we are moving forward at full speed. Our for-profit work is taking an ambitious and creative ride. We’re partnering with several passionate people and organizations to share our message with the masses and help build a safer and more sexually empowered culture. Unite for Change is, well it’s changing. After years of wishing and planning the not-for-profit side of our work is now a much bigger focus. It feels like our professional dreams are within reach and that alone is worth celebrating. With a strict non-profit budget we decided on a small simple gift to ourselves to honor this new phase and sort of mark our new space, it’s a little blue Buddha statue that sits on our desk. It’s quirky, curious and absolutely perfect. The Buddha statue is said to symbolize enlightenment, belief and hope and while we don’t expect our teensy $5 desk ornament to be a sign of all these things it is a reminder that we will remain hungry for hope until everyone is fed.

Peace, love and enlightenment,
Kelly

Thursday, July 01, 2010

New legislation will require cruise ships to carry rape kits and provide passengers with free, confidential access to 24 hour hotlines

Congratulations to International Cruise Victims (and especially our pal Laurie Dishman), Rep. Matsui and to all the cruise victims, survivors and their families who have worked tirelessly to improve cruise ship safety. We are one step closer because of you!


Cruise ship security bill clears Congress
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNNJuly 1, 2010 8:26 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- A bill that requires cruise ships to tighten security measures and report alleged crimes is awaiting President Obama's approval.

The Senate on Wednesday passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, after it received broad bipartisan support in the House with a vote of 416-4 last year.

Peepholes on cabin doors, rails no lower than 42 inches and information packets on how to report crimes are some of the changes commercial cruise passengers can expect to see after the legislation takes effect. Ships built after the legislation's passage also must be equipped with security latched and time-sensitive key technology.

The bill, authored by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, applies to all ships that dock in U.S. ports. Those ships will also be required to immediately report incidents to the FBI or the U.S. Coast Guard, whether the incident occurs on the high seas or at port.

"Current law doesn't pass the test of providing common-sense security measures to the traveling public or to help protect them from crimes committed aboard ships," Matsui said in a statement Wednesday. "Moreover, current law does not provide the support victims and their families need in the event of a disaster. This legislation is critical to providing the security and safety measures that all Americans need and deserve."

The legislation originated with a letter from one of Matsui's constituents, who said she was raped during a Royal Caribbean cruise by a crew member in February 2006.

Laurie Dishman, who has gone public with her story before Congress, claims representatives of the cruise line made her collect sheets and clothing from her room and put them in a plastic bag. They did nothing more to help her, she said, and the FBI later told her that it would not investigate further because without proper evidence, it was simply a "he said/she said" case, according to her testimonial on the internationalcruisevictims.org.

Since then, a number of high-profile alleged assaults, disappearances and homicides have helped earn support for the legislation, Matsui spokeswoman Mara Lee said. Last year, a Los Angeles-area man was charged in July with murder in the death of his wife while on a cruise along the Mexican coast, and an Alabama woman celebrating her 50th birthday disappeared from a Carnival Holiday cruise ship.

Among the provisions in the bill related to sexual assaults: Ships are required to carry rape kits and a supply of medications to prevent STDs, along with medical staff trained to deal with assaults. The legislation also requires cruise ships to provide passengers with free, confidential access to 24-hour sexual assault hot lines.

Vessels also must keep a log of incidents and contact the nearest FBI field office "as soon as possible" after a homicide, kidnapping, assault or disappearance of a U.S. national is reported.

"Safety protections in this bill will significantly reduce passengers' risk of sexual assault and expand the rights of those sexually assaulted on board," said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. "By connecting cruise passengers with the support services available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline, this legislation provides a vital lifeline for victims on cruise ships."
Matsui's office worked with the cruise ship industry in crafting the legislation, spokeswoman Lee said.

"Having a law that's not going to be carried through wouldn't make sense, so we've worked with them to make very common-sense requirements that they can put in place," she said.

Many of the requirements have already been implemented by the cruise ship industry, which has been working for years to improve passenger safety, said Oivind Mathisen, editor and co-publisher of the trade publication Cruise Industry News.

"This basically means that procedures that they have been implementing for the last several years have been formalized," he said. "The industry supports it because it's in its best interest that procedures are set down, so in case something happens, everybody knows what to do and there are no gray areas."

Mathisen said negative backlash against the industry generated by the disappearances of newlyweds and young revelers is undeserved at times, considering that anywhere from 12 million to 15 million people board commercial cruises each year.

"If you look at the total numbers, relatively few people are lost at sea. In the big picture, the numbers are small. But we understand that when you lose a loved one, there's not enough the industry can do to prevent it from happening again."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paradise Protected...vacation safety tips

Are your bags packed? Are you headed home, abroad, to visit friends, start an internship or a job? Before you go, please take ten minutes and add one more thing to your to do list. Before you head out to blaze new trails get educated in advance about emergency and support services in case you or someone you know needs them. Seems simple but too often we don’t think about these things until we are in crisis mode.


So before you go, program all local or campus emergency numbers in your phone (if you need help locating these e-mail us at info@uniteforchange.com). Have candid discussions with your new roommate, classmate, colleague, etc. about supporting one another, respecting your individual choices and keeping each other safe. Always use a DSP (designated sober person) and remember that we are all connected so if you see something that your intuition tells you is not kosher, safely intervene.

While sexual assault and violent crimes are never the victim's fault they are often times preventable. As bystander's (community members) it is our responsibility to help reduce these horrible acts by being aware, getting involved and helping to create a culture with zero tolerance for violence.

Our friend and fellow empowered sister, Laurie Dishman, Senior Vice President for International Cruise Victims was kind enough to take time to give us the scoop on cruise ship safety, so if you plan to cruise this summer please read this first.

An Interview with Laurie Dishman…

What numbers and contact information should I have on hand before traveling abroad or on a cruise? 1-800-656-HOPE National Sexual Assault Hotline and 1-202-324-3000 FBI.

What safety measure can I take in advance to plan for a safe trip?  
First, read all materials in regards to your trip especially the ticket book you get when taking a cruise… check out information about percentage of crimes in that location, but if going on a cruise you will not find that information under any cruise line website so visit: www.internationalcruisevictims.org and www.cruiselawnews.com

What can I do if I feel that I’m not getting the services I need/ deserve?
If at any time you are feeling that you are not getting the services that you need or deserve that is a good time to use the numbers that I shared earlier. When traveling abroad and especially on a cruise ship you are under different countries laws and therefore you have to look out for yourself.

Who should I report a crime to and how?
When on a cruise ship you should immediately report the crime to the FBI even if it is by email. You can also reach out to RAINN hotline by phone 1-800-656-HOPE or online RAINN.org click on online hotline. After reaching out to them then you can report the crime to the ship’s captain. If you are abroad and a crime occurs you can also contact the U.S. Embassy in the country you are in.

For more cruise safety tips click here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hello Summer!


The past several months have been exhilarating, exhausting, incredible, rewarding and challenging all rolled into one. Our spring tour took us to both familiar and new places and brought many wonderful people into our lives. With more than two dozen stops in all we experienced lots of unique moments to add to this fantastic journey that we both feel really lucky to call our life and we racked up some serious frequent flyer miles along the way. A lot of people ask us if we ever get tired of all the travel and while it can be tiring, we love it.


This semester our travel schedule pushed us to board one too many redeye flights and rise before the 4am hour more times than our bodies would have liked. We spent many o’ hours driving in rental cars down two lane highways in the middle of nowhere fully trusting in Carmen, our GPS to get us to the right place. We spent a lot of time in Delta Sky Club lounges across the country, mostly Atlanta airport, our home away from home. The complimentary Biscoff cookies and coffee do help make our mornings brighter.

There are perhaps just as many drawbacks as there are perks but at the end of the day, we are best friends who get to zigzag across the country together to do work that we happen to love and we have the opportunity to see new places, meet amazing people and even if just for a couple of hours, we get the chance to experience what life is like on a college campus in Missouri or on a military base in Colorado. It is an honor; a privilege and a dream come true to be able to live our passion and share our message and so the travel part for us although sometimes unique, it’s a part of our journey.

Thank you to everyone who made our spring spectacular and a special thanks to our tour sponsors Celect.org and Just In Case Inc.

The temperature’s rising and summer is in full swing and these 2 soul sisters on a mission are feeling energized, focused and more optimistic than ever about the future. We have several projects underway this summer that are steadily feeding our passion for change while taking our work to the next level (visit UniteforChange.com to see two of our new initiatives). We are eager to offer something new to the sexual assault education field and honored to be working with an incredible team of people to help make it all happen. Summer also means free Fridays for us! No work and all play one day a week to take a break and indulge in something we love with zero guilt about the e-mails piling up in our in-box or the undone to-do’s on our list. This Friday is going to be movie day for us and we’re thinking a back-to-back double dose of romantic comedy bliss is the perfect start to our new free Friday tradition.

Whatever projects or vacations you have in store in the coming months we hope you have an amazing summer filled with adventure, passion and endless opportunities.

Monday, May 03, 2010

2 Super Fab Opportunities

Want to use your talent, gain experience and change the world in 3 short months?

Apply to be an intern with Unite for Change!  There are currenlty two positions available for the summer term. We are accepting applications through May 10, 2010. Apply TODAY!


Graphic Design Internship

Unite for Change is looking to add a talented graphic designer to our team. Qualified applicant must have hands on experience in graphic design with some web design experience. Intern will work closely with the organization’s leadership and web-designer to help develop a fresh, clean and vibrant website.

The right candidate will have the opportunity to work in all aspects of marketing and brand development from logo design and business card layout to developing educational materials and web-design. The ideal candidate will be a creative, organized self starter who is able to think outside the box.

This is a part-time telecommuting intern position that will start date in May 2010 and conclude in August 2010. Position will provide opportunity for intern to build their professional portfolio and/ or earn college credit. This is a summer intern position but the right person has an opportunity to grow with the organization.

Please submit your resume and work samples to info@uniteforchange.com no later than 5/10/10 to with subject line: Graphic Design Internship. For more information about the organization visit www.uniteforchange.com www.uniteforchange.com

 
Program Development Internship

Unite for Change is launching a ground breaking outreach project for campus communities across Florida. We are seeking a driven, visionary thinker to assist in advancing this revolutionary initiative that will unite college students and communities to promote sexual assault awareness, healthy sexuality and sexual health. This is a chance to gain real experience in organizational outreach and leadership development while addressing sexual violence.

Qualified applicants must be comfortable working with various campus groups such as Res Life, First Year Experience, Student Government, Greek Life, and Athletics on college campuses across the state of Florida. Candidates must have strong communication skills both oral and written and have previously held or currently holding a leadership position on campus.

The ideal candidate will be an articulate, creative and organized self starter who is knowledgeable in sexual health and sexual violence reduction or possesses the skills and have an interest in learning about the issue(s).

This is a part-time telecommuting intern position. Position start date is May 2010 and will conclude in August 2010. Prefer applicants within the state of Florida but not required. If desired, we will work with the student and university to ensure college credit is provided for the internship.

Position responsibilities will include the following:
• Contribute to consortium program development
• Correspond with and develop working relationship with campus leadership, staff and student volunteers
• Assist in developing educational resources and organizational structure
• Create 2010/ 2011 meeting schedule and provide suggestions for monthly programs
• Help plan 2011 annual conference
• Assist in implementation of advisory board and student board

Please submit your resume and cover letter no later than 5/10/10 to info@uniteforchange.com with subject line: Program Development Intern. For more information about the organization visit http://www.uniteforchange.com/

Monday, April 05, 2010

President Obama's Proclamation

For Immediate Release April 01, 2010

Presidential Proclamation - National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

A PROCLAMATION


Every day, women, men, and children across America suffer the pain and trauma of sexual assault. From verbal harassment and intimidation to molestation and rape, this crime occurs far too frequently, goes unreported far too often, and leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars. During National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves not only to lifting the veil of secrecy and shame surrounding sexual violence, but also to raising awareness, expanding support for victims, and strengthening our response.

Sexual violence is an affront to our national conscience, one which we cannot ignore. It disproportionately affects women -- an estimated one in six American women will experience an attempted or completed rape at some point in her life. Too many men and boys are also affected.

These facts are deeply troubling, and yet, sexual violence affects Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances. Alarming rates of sexual violence occur among young women attending college, and frequently, alcohol or drugs are used to incapacitate the victim. Among people with disabilities, isolation may lead to repeated assaults and an inability to seek and locate help. Native American women are more than twice as likely to be sexually assaulted compared with the general population. As a Nation, we share the responsibility for protecting each other from sexual assault, supporting victims when it does occur, and bringing perpetrators to justice.

We can lead this charge by confronting and changing insensitive attitudes wherever they persist. Survivors too often suffer in silence because they fear further injury, are unwilling to experience further humiliation, or lack faith in the criminal justice system. This feeling of isolation, often compounded with suicidal feelings, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, only exacerbate victims' sense of hopelessness. No one should face this trauma alone, and as families, friends, and mentors, we can empower victims to seek the assistance they need.

At the Federal, State, local, and tribal level, we must work to provide necessary resources to victims of every circumstance, including medical attention, mental health services, relocation and housing assistance, and advocacy during legal proceedings. Under Vice President Biden's leadership, the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act included the Sexual Assault Services Program, the first-ever funding stream dedicated solely to providing direct services to victims of sexual assault. To further combat sexual violence, my 2011 Budget doubles funding for this program. Through the Justice Department and the Centers for Disease Control, we are funding prevention and awareness campaigns as well as grants for campus services to address sexual assault on college campuses. The Justice Department has also increased funding and resources to combat violence against Native American women.

As we continue to confront this crime, let us reaffirm this month our dedication to take action in our communities and stop abuse before it starts. Together, we can increase awareness about sexual violence, decrease its frequency, punish offenders, help victims, and heal lives.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2010 as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to reach out to victims, learn more about this crime, and speak out against it.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


BARACK OBAMA

Thursday, March 25, 2010

KELLY & BECCA ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH DELTA GAMMA


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 25, 2010
Contact: Nicole Porter
Director of Communications
614-481-8169
nicole@deltagamma.org



Delta Gamma’s New Partnership Spreads the Word About Sexual Assault Awareness

Columbus, Ohio -- Delta Gamma Fraternity has partnered with an innovative speaking duo, Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder, (kellyandbecca.com) who are experts on sexual assault awareness, prevention and sexual empowerment. Kelly and Becca are nationally recognized for their achievements in sexual assault education and prevention. This partnership encourages opportunities to expose more collegiate and community audiences to the message.

Since 2003, Kelly and Becca have shared their message with hundreds of campuses, communities and national professional conferences reaching more than half a million people. In 2006, they founded Unite for Change, (uniteforchange.com) a global campaign to promote sexual assault awareness and prevention, sexual health and healthy sexuality. In 2009, they launched the popular educational tool Sexversations® and in 2010 they were honored to announce The No Woman Left Behind Campaign as their latest educational initiative.

According to Fraternity President Beth Searcy, "A key component of Delta Gamma's strategic plan is to cultivate partnerships to advance the mission of Delta Gamma. Kelly and Becca's program helps us create opportunities to have critical conversations about sexuality, alcohol, healing and hope. Sexual assault is a serious issue in our culture, particularly on our campuses, so Delta Gamma is proud to unite with Kelly and Becca in their vital message of empowerment."

In partnership with Delta Gamma Fraternity, Kelly and Becca aim to link individuals together to help build communities that are part of the solution to end sexual violence. Unlike any other program on the topic of sexual violence, Kelly and Becca use humor to inform and inspire. Using their signature three-step model, they teach participants how they can help reduce sexual violence. Armed with their personal experience, expertise and unique ability to relate to each member of the audience, their programs treat men and women as allies while focusing on the importance of communication, bystander intervention, personal responsibility and supporting survivors. With sexual empowerment as their platform they decode the toxic language surrounding sex and offer innovative ways to address alcohol, sex under the influence and date rape drugs. Always upbeat, their emphasis is on acknowledging that students are not the problem but the solution.

Founded in 1873, Delta Gamma is an international fraternity, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, consisting of more than 200,000 members. A leader among Greek organizations, Delta Gamma is dedicated to promoting educational and cultural interests and creating a true sense of social responsibility. Through the nationally recognized philanthropy, Service for Sight; award winning publication, The ANCHORA of Delta Gamma; and lauded risk management programming, Delta Gamma is committed to instilling the best qualities of character. For more information, please visit www.deltagamma.org.



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Thursday, March 18, 2010

30 Second Rule?

We've introduced you to Heather Corinna, Founder of Scarleteen a time or two before. She is one of  the most brilliant sex positive educators out there and also happens to be one of our idols. We simply adore her and I just love the post on her blog today so wanted to share it with y'all here. If you have not been to Scarleteen.com you must go --now! Well, after you read this boldy honest, educated and considerate post by our sexually empowered sister, Heather.

 How to Have Condoms "Interrupt" Sex By No More Than 30 Seconds


by Heather Corinna

My current partner recently got a vasectomy. Because we're also monogamous, well-past six months of monogamy and barrier use, and both are current with our STI testing -- the combination of things and time period I know massively reduces our STI risks -- that means we're not using condoms right now.

This is very unusual for me: in around 25 years of sexual experiences and many partnerships, the vast majority of the times I have had male partners, including long-term partners, there have been condoms. As someone who wants to be able to enjoy her sex life as much as possible, who knows preventing infection is part of that, and also as someone who can't use most other methods of birth control, condoms have been my BFFs.

I've never found them to be the drag some people frame them as. Rather, I often find myself perplexed by folks who frame them that way, even though I know as a sex educator that more often than not, the folks who do frame them that way either a) haven't even used them or have used them only very rarely, b) are copping that attitude because it's perceived as cool or macho, c) worry the pause for a condom may give a partner time to reconsider sex, or d) are into a level of risk-taking for themselves or partners that condoms curb. We can't accurately say condoms massively dull physical sensation (and we've got studies to show that clearly), but for sure, if people get off on sex posing high personal risk to themselves or their partners, condoms are going to seriously dull that buzz.

All the same, I know there are people outside of those situations and mindsets who experience them as a drag, particularly when it comes to how they feel condoms "interrupt" sex. Even in birth control literature comparing methods, we'll often see methods like condoms framed as "interrupting" things. That given, even though I have had condom-free experiences in the past and not found them anything to write home about, I was prepared to discover that walking into a change in my sex life where condoms absolutely were not needed, and also where I had a new birth control method that was as reliable as it gets and totally foolproof might give me some new insight on why some folks feel that way. I was prepared to be wrong: to find out that suddenly what I perceived as no interruption at all had been, in fact, more of an interruption than I realized.

Bzzzzt. So far, that's not what's happened. While I really do try to leave work out of the bedroom -- something that can be challenging when your work is so often all about what happens in the bedroom -- I couldn't help but notice something.

On the whole, the difference in time when it comes to getting from want-to-do-that to game-on, between using condoms and not using condoms? It's maybe around 30 seconds. If it's even that long.

So, this got me thinking. Why, then, do so many people make it sound like those seconds are many minutes or hours? Is there something special my partners and I have been doing over the years that made it so much more quick and easy? I'm not sure, but I figured I'd share some of the basics just in case.


Here's the list I came up with:

I keep condoms handy. Really handy. In the places where I tend to have sex more than others, there are plenty of condoms within arm's reach. I keep them in my bag or coat pocket if and when I'm going out and I suspect, even just slightly, sex may be something I may want to pursue. While keeping them around my house can be easier for me as an older adult not living with my folks, it seems to me that if you're hiding condoms from parents, you're hiding sex. It's a LOT easier to hide something as small as a few condoms than to hide something as big as having sex. So if you can figure out how to be sneaky with sex? You can figure out how to be sneaky with condoms.


If and when I think myself and a partner may be getting towards the kinds of sex where a condom is needed, I or they often pull the condom out then and put it within even closer reach. That action alone has often been the only condom negotiation, if you can even call it that, I have had to have. Almost always, when I do that and the time does come for condom use, my partners have just put it on with little more than a raised eyebrow or a few words first to be sure I wanted to have the kind of sex the condom was going on for. If I have wanted them used earlier than they reach for them, a simple, "Hey would you put that on now?" almost always suffices.

For the record, taking out or putting out a condom isn't a promise or guarantee you'll have sex of any kind: you still get to choose not to have any kind of sex at any time if you want to. If you worry your partners won't understand that or will make assumptions, talk it over. If you do talk it over and they still aren't getting the gist, you're probably better off kicking folks like that out of bed full-stop than keeping them around as a sexual or potential sexual partner.

I try and keep a variety of condoms around, especially if I don't know what a given partner likes already. That way, I can easily avoid someone seeing a condom brand they know hasn't felt good for them and being momentarily stumped. I even have the funny feeling that sometimes I may have had partners more inclined to use a condom just because they saw something new in my stash they hadn't tried yet.

How can you do that, too? Well, you can buy sample boxes with different styles at drugstores, or order samples mixes online. If you're strapped for cash, you could make a day of getting around to a few different public health department clinics and/or family planning (sexual health) clinics, and make yourself a pretty good collection from the free stash most have sitting out there for everyone to take.

I don't leave having condoms up to my partners. I've always kept condoms myself, both at home and when I'm out where sex seems at all possible. Because of that, I have a hard time thinking of a time when I've ever had that "Who's got a condom?" conversation. Instead, it's more a Quick Draw McGraw situation where it's just about who flips one out first. I usually win.

I know that practice makes perfect. If not perfect, way better. My current partner and I are old hands at this: we've both been using condoms regularly for longer than many of our Scarleteen readers have been alive. We both may well be quicker at opening them, getting them on, and lubing them up than some of you might be just because we've used them for longer. But that's not because we have special skills (in my case, quite the opposite, since I have a hand disability), it's just because we've had practice.

That's practice you can get for yourself, too. Male-bodied people don't have to start balding or have lots of sex partners or lots of partnered sex to get good at putting condoms on: that's something you can do all by yourself, at home, with or around your own masturbation. Since that's also a much lower-pressure environment than with a partner, I'd say spending some time learning that way could be awfully helpful.

For those of you sans-penis, while I know as someone who does condom demonstrations in-person that some of you might find those silly, one part people do unilaterally tend to value is having the chance to use a demonstration model yourself and get some of your own practice. If a sex educator is doing condom demonstrations and doesn't offer you the chance to have a few tries yourself, pipe up and ask! Feel free to use your humor if you feel uncomfortable about being the one to ask. Chances are good you won't be the only person in the room who wants to try, and a group giggle-fest around learning to put on a condom doesn't mean no one learns anything.

(Of course, there are also always those bananas in the kitchen, too.)

I don't have emotional or intellectual baggage about condoms. I ride in a car, I put on a seatbelt. I have sex, I use condoms and/or other latex barriers. One is no bigger a deal than the other for me, and neither makes me question my values, ideas, the way I feel about someone or who I am. Just like I don't have the idea that wearing a seatbelt means my experience of being in a car is somehow ruined or substandard, I don't think using condoms has any negative impact or even the potential for negative impact on my sex life. Quite the opposite.

I was talking to my friend Cory the other day about this, and we agreed that both having come of age using condoms pretty much right from the start of our sex lives, without any sense or idea that there was something weird about doing so, we both feel like we have a leg-up on those who didn't start out with safer sex at the gate; like using condoms has perhaps been easier for us for that reason, and not something we ever thought was somehow not how it should be. I don't have to work through my feelings about condoms when the time comes to use one, nor do I pause or hesitate to yank one out and toss it over out of fear, nervousness, or worry about what the other person will think. Using condoms is so normal for me that it's the times they DON'T get used where everything kind of stops for me and can interrupt what's going on with me sexually. (To my credit, I have yet to shriek "What the hell are you doing!?!" at my partner since we've entered the condom-free zone, something I was worried would happen out of habit. It still might, don't count me out just yet.)

If you have any kind of baggage around condoms, or get the impression your partners do, this is something else I'd suggest talking out and unpack together, ideally before you actually need to use condoms. Sometimes something as simple as each person saying to the other, "You know, I don't think condoms are any big deal and I'm always happy to use them without a fuss," can go a mighty long way.

Dumping any emotional or intellectual baggage around condoms can also mean that the amount of time it takes to put on a condom does not feel like a ticking clock where everyone is tense or awkward or worried.

On that note? I only have sex with people I really want to have sex with, when I really want to have sex with them and am comfortable having sex with them and when I get the strong impression the same is true for them about me. If we didn't really want to be having sex with each other, had reservations, or just weren't fully feeling it, it would certainly be a lot easier for those 30 seconds to feel like 3 hours. If we weren't really into each other and comfortable being together, it would be harder to fill that time with either other sexual activity, like masturbation, for instance, or like turning putting condoms on into something just as sexual as any other part of sex, or with comical or comfortable conversation.

If you have ever sat through a 40-minute class with a teacher you can't stand, or on a subject that bores you to tears, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You can feel whole LIFETIMES pass during those kinds of 40 minutes.

I have always had every expectation condoms would be used. It's never been a question mark for me; a "Will we? Will he?" It's always been a given: if he wants to have sex with me, he will use a condom. If I want to have sex with him or her, I will use a latex barrier. I've said it before here elsewhere, and anyone who has had this conversation with me in person has had the not-so-dubious distinction of having me demonstrate Condom Face in the flesh: a look on one's face one can have that a partner sees and just knows you have every confidence they'll put a condom on. In my experience, when someone perceives it's not a question for you, but a given, and they can see that right on your face, they treat it like a given. That not only better assures condoms will be used, it cuts down on the time it takes to just get the condom on. (The actress in this video makes said face a few times, for the record. She also demonstrates clear expectations her partner would put on a condom, and the requisite shock and awe when he will not.)

The way I see it, sex is no place to be shy. If I'm un-shy enough to be having sex with someone, I'd better be un-shy enough to have, present and use condoms. If I ever feel too shy to do that? I figure I feel too shy with that person or in that situation for sex, and that's that.

I don't see condom use as any kind of interruption at all: I see it as one of many common parts of sex. I used bunny ears around "interrupt" today for a reason, and that's because I think that language and framing is...well, kind of big stupid.

Why? Because sex gets "interrupted" for a millions reasons. Someone has to pee. We're changing positions, shifting to or negotiating another activity. The dog barks. The phone or doorbell rings. Someone wants to stop the action to smell (or really look at) the roses, as it were. Something funny happens and everyone can't stop laughing for a few minutes. Someone gets a leg cramp. We want to stop and talk something out. We want to pause to verbally express that something feels amazing or that something hurts. We need to add more lube, or drop the lube bottle and have to hunt for it under the bed. We need to grab and put on a condom. We need to check or change the condom. We forgot we left the oven on. Someone knows it seems like the worst timing ever, but they just totally have to tell you this thing RIGHT NOW they heard the other day that was so fascinating (though it may only be me who does that). We need to jump up and do a silly dance in the middle of everything just because we feel that freaking good and absolutely cannot help ourselves. We just need a few minutes to catch our breath. As you get older, you will probably find you need to catch your breath even more often. Same goes with the peeing. And the goofy dancing.

For sure, you could view some or all of those things as interruptions, but since they're all also often part of so many of our sexual experiences so much of the time, you could also just view them, including condom use, as part of sex and not as interruptions at all. I suggest the former.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All in a days work

It blows my mind, breaks my heart and frustrates my feminist soul beyond belief to hear people respond to the description of a sexual assault scenario with comments like this--

“This seems to be the norm…it’s just how it is, you know the sexual culture in 2010…The guy may have acted like a jerk that night but there didn’t seem to be anything that would indicate that he’s a rapist.”

On this particular day I want to shout, “Are you fucking kidding me?” as I violently throw my hands in the air. But instead I pause, because a) violence is not the answer and b) as good as it might feel to scream right now, an angry reaction takes my power to educate away. I say to myself, "deep breaths Kelly, deep breaths" and I can feel and almost hear Becca calming me down even though she has not spoken a word.

And once again, the conversation to help transform our culture begins. Today the discussion leaves me feeling drained. My body is worn-out and my spirit feels defeated. But no matter how tired I feel I will not give up. We will not give up. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and there is so much work to be done.

Still hopeful, determined and focused.
xox-
Kelly

Monday, March 01, 2010

Want your organization to be better online?

A Message from our Title Sponsor


As Kelly and Becca's title sponsor, Celect.org is grateful for the opportunity to support their tireless efforts towards educating the fraternal and collegiate community about sexual assault awareness and prevention. Just as Kelly and Becca are building a network of communication and support, Celect.org is building a web-based network of communities, organizations, and groups that connect people throughout the world at the click of a button, while individually empowering each member with the tools to educate and communicate with each other throughout their lives. Through our innovative platform, Celect.org can help you grow, manage, and succeed online unlike any other system available. Best of all, the Celect platform is offered at a special price to all of Kelly and Becca's friends so be sure to mention them when contacting us so you're eligible for the exclusive offer!

Your organization can do more, and better, online, and we're here to show you how Please visit http://www.celect.org/ or call one of our friendly representatives at 888-882-3532 888-882-3532 to learn more about how Celect.org can empower your community, organization, or group today!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do you know enough about date rape drugs?

Thanks to Kim Northup, Unite for Change Creative Director (and one of our favorite sexually empowered posse members) for the heads up on the USA Today article below.

Date rape drugs are bad news bears for sure, but there are things you can do to protect yourself if you know what to look for. Learn how you can help keep yourself and your friends safe by using one of our free educational tools at UniteForChange.com- Preventing Drug Facilitated Assaults.




U.N. report warns of alarming rise of 'date-rape drugs' worldwide

A new U.N. report on narcotics use says 'date-rape drugs" are on the rise worldwice.

The report from the International Narcotics Control Board says "the abuse from prescription drugs is greater in some countries than from heroin, cocaine and ecstasy combined."


Read the full report here.

The report says the "date-rape drug" phenomenon "is evolving rapidly, as sexual abusers attempt to circumvent more rigorous drug controls by using substances not restricted by the international drug conventions."

An excerpt:
What is alarming is the unscrupulous way in which those drugs are used upon unwitting victims — the drugs, which are usually disguised in food or drinks, are introduced in dosages that are significantly higher than the dosages used for therapeutic purposes —a practice which entails serious health risks for the victims. Sexual assault crimes are often committed in public places such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs but also in private surroundings.

It says stricter control measures by governments, in close cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, have been shown to be effective in the past to curb the abuse of some of the "date-rape drugs" and that such measures should be stepped up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl | Video on TED.com

Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl Video on TED.com

Thanks to Michelle for passing this along.

In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all -- a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.

GIRL POWER!

Take a peek. It's worth the 19 mniutes and 55 seconds!

Monday, February 15, 2010

schoolchildren think violence against women is acceptable

Football for boys and dolls for girls seems pretty innocent but could this also be a reason that children grow up thinking that violence against women is okay? The article below from BBC News sites a recent study in Scotland but I think it's pretty fair to say that this is likely the attitude of many children throughout the world.
What do you think?



Violence against women is justified, says pupil study


A study of schoolchildren has found that most of those questioned thought violence towards women was acceptable if there was a reason behind it.

The majority of the pupils said it was justified if the woman had an affair, or if she was late in making the tea.

The study by a researcher from Edinburgh Napier University also suggested that girls expect to curtail ambitions once they are married. The research involved 89 primary seven children at five Glasgow primaries.
The 11 and 12-year-olds were questioned in depth about their attitudes and aspirations towards gender roles and behaviour.

They were asked to consider whether or not a man was justified in punching his partner when he found out she had had an affair.

Nearly all of the children thought that the woman deserved to be hit.

In another scenario, about 80% of the children said a man had cause to slap his partner because she did not have the dinner ready on time.

Researcher Nancy Lombard described the findings as "worrying" because the youngsters had naturalised and normalised violent behaviour.

She said: "The children didn't agree with violence, but gave reasons to try to justify it if the woman had done something 'wrong'.

"The old saying of 'If he pulls your pigtails it means he likes you', translates into violence in adulthood which girls accept as normal."

Narrow expectations

The study also suggested that girls expected to modify their behaviour and narrow expectations once they were married and had children.

One of the girls said: "I want to be a dancer or a doctor."

But she added: "When I grow up I'm going to have two babies and work part-time in the shop down the road."

Ms Lombard said that sexual stereotypes were limiting and modifying girls' behaviour to accommodate boys and men.

She said: "All the girls said they don't get much of the playground because the boys dominate the space. They are still told they can't play football because they are a girl."

Ms Lombard called for work with children to start early to encourage respectful relationships, challenge violent behaviour and break down gender stereotypes.

The findings of the study will be presented at a conference in Glasgow on Wednesday which has been jointly organised between Scottish Women's Aid and Napier University.

Edinburgh Women's Aid spokeswoman Suzanne Moran called for more education on violence towards women: "These findings, in effect, reflect that these attitudes are still widely held in Scotland.

"Studies like these reveal that there is still much to be done to eradicate ingrained beliefs that women are to blame for violence perpetrated against them."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Rickety planes and snow storms will not stop us!

ATL to CHO was on a medium to smallish size plane and we were in the exit row. After hearing a strange clatter shortly after take-off, rather than our usual nap we talked about how we would react if the door flew open during flight. We discussed several safety plans and even acted out one or two of them before squeezing in a lil' slumber before arriving in VA. I woke up to what sounded like a thud on the wing of the plane and when I opened my eyes I saw that the compartment in the exit row that read "emergency life line for crew use only" had popped open. I really don't think these are supposed to open, so naturally I was slightly concerned. I pointed to it when the flight attendant passed by and she said, "oh it's okay." I gave her a very concerned look and she just smiled and walked away. Soon after our brief exchange the cool as a cucumber flight attendant seemed to be a little annoyed with my flash photography on the plane (and of the plane) but I really felt like I needed to capture some sort of evidence in case we all went down in a blaze of glory. Yes, this is really how my mind works.



10 minutes later we landed safely in Charlottesville and just as the snow storm began so did our drive to Harrisonburg. For two chics from Florida we're pretty good about driving in the snow. 

We got to JMU in time to have dinner on campus with a handful of the Exec members of C.A.R.E. They are so fantastic!  We had a great program and met lots of incredible students who are working tirelessly to make their campus a safer place. It's students like this (pictured below) that inspire us to keep going. A humungous thank you to Kelly Johnson, President of C.A.R.E. and to the entire C.A.R.E. posse for making us a part of your semester. It is an absolute honor to work with you all! 


 



Because we "heart" you!

In honor of Cupid's favorite day we have two lovely specials for you!



Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like fantastic freebies.


Book a program by February 14th and receive a sexually empowered swag package (below). All of these items combined are valued at over $2,000 but because we have so much love to give we want you to have them for free.

•Twelve Just In Case® intimacy compacts

•Deck of Sexversations®

•Sexversations® Facilitator's Manual

•Sexversations® train the trainer consultation


For available program dates and booking information please contact The College Agency.



A Valentine's Day gift that’s so much more than a box of chocolates.



Classic Conversations Gift Pack


The perfect way to start a very important conversation. Just In Case® Intimacy compacts and Sexversation® cards together can encourage honest and healthy conversations about sex and sexual health. Together for a value cost of $29.95! (MSRP $39.95)

Order yours today! Please use discount code LOVEWELL for a discount on the entire order plus if you spend over $50 shipping is free.

xox-

Kelly & Becca

Sunday, January 31, 2010

NOLA native talks about how you can help end violence against women

Wayne Barnes took the time to answer the question, what can men do to help end violence against women? He thinks it’s really pretty simple, “Acknowledge that sexism exists, get involved in your community and do the right thing by standing up for women.”

Wayne, a member of the Institute Training Team is just one of the amazing folks we got the chance to meet at the A Call to Men Institute in Tallahassee last week. A call to Men is a leading national men’s organization addressing men’s violence against women, and the eradication of sexism. They help organize communities in order to raise awareness and get men involved in ending violence against women. To learn more about their work and how you can be a part of the solution to end violence against women visit their website- http://www.acalltomen.com/

Thursday, January 28, 2010

where is your line?

An important focus for Unite for Change in 2010 is to bring activists, seekers and leaders some really fresh, poignant works of art (which will include but is not limited to music, film, dance, painting, sculpture and theatre) that will engage others in a dialogue of violence prevention. Several of these items along with other innovative products and educational goods will be listed in a new section of our web site, titled Creative Goods. This will be a go to place for folks looking for anything from a great book or sexually empowered merchandise to works of art that will help reach audiences in a way that is engaging and thought provoking.


Pieces like Nancy Schwartzman’s film, THE LINE is of the caliber of what we are highlighting. The film asks, where is your line of consent? Seems simple, right? In a world growing up with no means no and messages and undertones that dismantle that belief, the idea of what consent is becomes muddled at best.

Enter Nancy.

Nancy tells her story of how she was raped by a man she had consensual sex with and compares her experience to her friend, who was raped by a stranger. She beautifully calls into question why association (although this is very likely given most rapists are not strangers) makes survivors and society often ask if it was really rape. Nancy goes as far as to return to Israel and confront her rapist on camera. He does not feel like he has done anything wrong but maybe it was sex that went too far. Ask yourself, when did we even allow “sex that went too far” to be anything other than rape? When did that become okay? Another reason this film is so important.

THE LINE is powerful because not only did it move us when we viewed it, but it has stayed with us and we think it will do the same for you. Part of the films strength comes from the experts Nancy interviews such as the well known attorney Brett Sokolow and a sex worker at the infamous Bunny Ranch. It may seem odd or ironic to have a lawyer who is an expert on sexual assault and a sex worker help establish a clear line of consent but they both contribute important messages to the film, including how much work there is to do in fully understanding consent and sex. In this film (around 30 minutes) Nancy takes us full circle on her journey. She is candid, honest, likeable and funny. The style of the film will help engage all types of people in the discussion about, sex, sexual assault and consent; a conversation that needs to take place far more frequently.

Our suggestion…

Reach out to Nancy. Say hello. Invite Nancy to your campus or community to discuss her documentary with you. Or check out where she is headed by visiting her web site http://www.thelinemovie.org/. Don’t miss a great opportunity to check out a fully endorsed Creative Good that helps break down the barriers of discussing consent in a way that is inclusive and insightful.


Nancy Schwartzman, writer, filmaker and activist

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Southern Comforts



Kick'n off the spring tour with our favorite road trip snack, boiled peanuts and a carbonated beverage. Something we've been enjoying together for 20 years...so the throw back Pepsi seemed more than appropriate.

Like Willy says, on the road again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Justice for Rape Survivors

Thanks to Change.org for posting this...


Tell Congress to Pass the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2009.

Targeting: The U.S. House
Started by: Roxann MtJoy

To address the national crisis of untested rape kit backlogs -- estimated at 180,000 -- Representatives Al Franken (D-MN), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have introduced the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2009 to the House of Representatives.

This bipartisan bill would regulate grants funds earmarked for the DNA testing of rape kits, implement financial incentives for jurisdictions to aggressively attack and eliminate their backlogs, provide for a national system for collecting data on rape kits, and eliminate the appalling practice of having the victims of sexual assault pay for their own rape kits.

Tell your Representative that you want them to support the Justice of Survivor of Sexual Assault Act of 2009. It's super easy, just click here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How far have we come?

Last week Becca and I had a chance to catch up with our favorite mother-daughter duo Marsha Bartenetti and Rachael Sudul, creators of JUST IN CASE and our conversation turned into a girl power pow wow – we love it when that happens! Marsha was kind enough to put some of her thoughts on paper and we are pleased to be able to share them with you.
Thanks Marsha for your righteous spirit, endless passion and for being fearless!



My daughter and I attended Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference this past couple of days – and were exhibitors of our product JUST IN CASE® - Attended by approximately 10,000 women – I admit I had high expectations that as an exhibitor of our revolutionary product JUST IN CASE – the first product of its kind on the market: a chic and discreet mirrored compact with a hidden compartment that holds condoms. I believed we would reach our target market and that women would – because of the dire statistics surrounding sexual health – like STD’s HIV/AIDS - they would absolutely get the power of this groundbreaking trend.


The level of STD cases is up to a horrifying 1 in 4 teenage girls – not to mention the women who are in the Baby Boomer demographic – who also have contracted STD’s – and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS cases in this country…the number #1 killer of Black women in America - is it still okay to giggle at the mention of a condom?

Honestly, Ladies…how far HAVE we come?

I found myself getting more and more hostile with each passing giggle. And some of the responses to the discovery of what our product actually was were shocking to me. For instance, “Well, my daughter is 15 but I don’t want to ADVOCATE….(sex)” as she walks past our booth…

Or, “Oh, I have 17 and 18 year old daughters and I know they aren’t having sex…I couldn’t possibly give them one of these. They are SO busy with school and everything they don’t have time for boys!”

During this conference…Architects for Change…

I was disappointed at best at the number of women who were acting like the condom was the plague....and I admit I thought the level of consciousness would be high at this event and that women would surely “get” our product and message. To absently reject our product and what we had to say about actually GIVING their daughters a condom with silliness and jokes about condoms is like throwing our daughters under the bus.

When are we going to stop the madness and get our heads out of the sand?

Now don’t get me wrong – I am in the “for profit” business – however – I know the value of our product...and as agents for change- and I know the power of trend.

And in spite of all the information out there about being protected, etc. the statistics tell us otherwise – and the voice of this information is so loud…remember 1 in 4 teenagers has an STD?...It is SCREAMING in our ears to wake up!

And yet – women…and this is what is so mind boggling to me…insist on giggling… when they mention or hear the name condom! And they stay in denial pretending that they don’t have to worry about THEIR daughters being sexually active.

Granted not EVERY young teen is sexually active…but for God’s sake….millions are …and for some, it may be killing them…or perhaps keep them from ever having children because of becoming sterile through contracting an STD.

We offer a way for women of all ages who are sexually active – to have a beautiful way to stay protected and a way they will feel good about actually carrying a condom. WE consider the sensibilities of women with every design we do and know the requirements of style women have and their need for discretion….its in our DNA.

We know that innately women are modest when it comes to intimate details and are often too embarrassed to carry condoms.

So they don’t.

And they are passive about trusting their partner will be carrying protection. And are often shy about making sure he does. They hold on to the romantic ideal that if he “loved’ her he would be sure he was safe…and that if he doesn’t have a condom...he must be without disease.

Unfortunately – this can be like a game of Russian roulette!

Sexual explicit images are everywhere –Billboards, magazines, television, film, I guess all of that is okay? Especially for the young minds who soak up everything around them?

When did we stop protecting our young? - Don’t you think it’s possible that by normalizing these images – we “normalize” risky sexual behavior?

We are a society of celebrity idolizers – in spite of the crazy behavior many of them exhibit – domestic violence issues – are we to “normalize” this, as well?

The apology lists of these actions are frankly becoming rote and without consequence. Unfortunately, risky sexual behavior DOES have consequences.

If we are to change this paradigm of behavior – and turn the statistics back to the favor of our daughters/friends/relatives…lowering the statistics of cases of STD’s and HIV/AIDS...and unplanned pregnancy…and bringing a sense of self love and respect back – and healthy senses of shame - then we have to change the way we think about talking with our daughters.

We must LOVE THEM MORE THAN WE FEAR TALKING WITH THEM frankly about sexual behavior and risks.

Talk openly and talk often – even if they “roll their eyes” at you for being “gross”. Help them raise their personal requirements including their sexual health and choices.

It’s Time.

To be Fearless in 2010.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Brewing Up Goodness in 2010



No more green bean casserole, no more holiday lights and no more mistletoe, but we are not sad, not even a little bit. We have been waiting for 2010 because we plan to blow the doors off this incredible New Year. We’re brewing up some exciting projects and programs for 2010 and hope to share them with you, your campus and communities.


As part of our New Year's resolution's we have committed to contribute a portion of the proceeds from every program we present towards providing free sexual assault awareness education, tools and resources through Unite for Change and other organizations that rock our world and make it a better place. Learn more about who we are supporting in our e-news (subscribe here).

To kick things off we’re offering a smoking deal:

Book a spring program by January 22 and save $1,000 off the regular program honorarium. Can you say, Happy New Year?

From our family to yours thank you for your continued support. You help make it possible for us to continue working towards eradicating sexual violence, empowering others to stand up and speak out for sexual equality and empowerment and to unite campuses and communities to create lasting change.

xox

Kelly & Becca

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

SEX + MONEY: A National Search for Human Worth

Check out this wonderful work happening here in America. It's a beautiful response to something so horrid and a remarkable inspiration for change.