Ray Rice and Dometsic Violence

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about Ray Rice’s assault on his then finance Janay.  Another video was just released showing what actually happened in that elevator and his contract with the Ravens has been terminated and he has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Unfortunately some people don’t understand the severity of domestic violence until they see it with their own eyes.  They can be told she was knocked out but after seeing a man hit a woman that hard, it has much more of an emotional “Oh my God” impact.  Then people understand.  I don’t think he would’ve been fired if that video hadn’t gone public.  If the NFL saw it but no one else, I think they wouldn’t have said a word.  Public outcry is the only reason they terminated his contract and suspended him.

Even though that may be true, I don’t think the video should have gone public.  First of all, it makes the victim relive that moment over and over again.  Second, survivors should be in control of their own stories.  They determine when or if it is ok to talk about their assault and what details to share, not the media.  The survivor always has to be in the forefront of our minds, not the scandal or ratings.

I read yesterday Janay’s reaction, blaming the public and media for her husbands termination and it breaks my heart.  It was his conscious choice to hit her twice and knock her out, it was his fault.  I wish she could say “The media shouldn’t have made that video public, that is my story to share, not theirs.  It is a shame what happened to my husband, but he shouldn’t have hit me.  There is no excuse for that.  His decision made him lose his job” because that’s the truth. 

I was also reading on Twitter a wonderful hashtag #whyIstayed and #whyIleft.  I hope that really shines light on domestic violence.  I’ve read so many people saying she stayed for his money….there are a lot of reasons why a victims stays even if their partner doesn’t have a dime to their name.  It’s a strange mindset to be in a relationships with someone who hurts you or doesn’t respect you.  At the time it makes complete and total sense to you when the rest of the world wonders why.  Living in fear, living with someone where you always have to watch your back becomes an every day habit, you get used to being afraid like it’s something normal.  That’s the point where you feel so worthless than you actually believe you deserve the way you’re being treated, that you did something to cause your partner to treat you that way, so you just be careful as to not to set them off.  That becomes your life.

There have been some very positive changes in society and as we all work together we can make a difference, we can make a change and we can fight this.

Side note: There is still space at the seminar I’m hosting with Jessie on October 11th at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.  If you’d like to register, please visit www.1is2many.eventbrite.com.  If you don’t live in the area but still want to make a difference, I’m doing a walk for Mutual Ground, a local domestic violence/sexual assault shelter and am currently fundraising.  If you’d like to contribute please click here.

♥ Meggie

Hard Work Pays Off

For the last few months, I’ve been working my butt off.  A lot of things have happened recently.

First of all, the wonderful manager of WAR Chest took a well deserved trip.  So for the past 6 weeks, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work in the store on Friday’s.  It was so much fun!  I absolutely love talking to people and doing everything in the store!  I can’t think of one thing I dislike. 

She has also asked me to help plan events for the boutique, which I am so excited about!  Event planning is one of my favorite things to do.  It’s challenging, keeps me busy and I love coming up with creative new ideas! 

Not only that, I’ve been taking some photographs of volunteers as models.  This is something so new to me.  I love photography, but I don’t typically take photos of people so I’m learning the best ways to pose people and how to direct them to create the perfect shot.

Through that work with the boutique, I’ve been contacted by a local fashion blogger to potentially take photos for her blog!!  I should be meeting with her soon and I am so excited!  Also, a volunteer wanted to hire me to take photos of her grandsons.  How exciting is that?  I can maybe start making a little extra money doing something I love and continue to perfect my skills.  With student loans to worry about, any extra income would be wonderful.

I’ve taken over the Instagram account for Feral Fixers, a local cat rescue.  I’ve also been working more of their events and trying to help with marketing as best I can.  They’ve been working so hard to place so many cats and kittens in a home.   If you live in the Chicagoland area (especially Dupage County) check them out!

On top of that, I’m still doing a fundraising walk with my sister, my best friend Kristiii and my sister’s friend for Mutual Ground and I’ve just signed on to run a 5k for Traffick Free.

Finally, my pride and joy.  The last few months I’ve been working on a seminar to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault.  I have been emailing back and forth with Benedictine University and finally scheduled a time and reserved a room.  They have been so immensely helpful, I can’t even put into words!  It’s been really long days and nights, scheduling photo shoots for marketing material, editing those photos, adding our information, writing event details, setting up accounts, sending out press releases hoping to be picked up by someone, creating contact lists and so much more. 

I’ve been working so hard to get everything together and it is finally happening!  So far 9 people have officially registered and we are hoping for many many more.  I am getting to the point where I am almost completely exhausted, but so excited at the same time.

If anyone is interested in coming you can register at www.1is2many.eventbrite.com

I can’t thank the people who have been helping enough and I’m so excited to see the outcome of this event! Keeping my fingers crossed!

♥ Meggie

The Color Run!

This weekend was a blast!  My best friend Kristiii wanted to do this 5k called the Color Run.  As you run, they have color stations set up where they spray you with colored corn starch.  There is music and events before the race and after.

Two of her friends, who I’ve gotten to know as well, came in from Indiana to join us so it was a busy weekend.  Friday we were out, Saturday they came to visit the bird rescue with me, Sunday was the race and one of our friends adopted a little yellow parakeet after!

We get to the race early, wander around, listening to the music, anxious for it to start.  Finally, they say we can head toward the starting line so we join the massive crowd of white shirts.  People really went all out, there were colorful tutus, boas, bright hair and a unicorn wandering about.

The course was simple, the stations with color were easily seen by the clouds of dust spilling out over the city (they brought 20,000 lbs).  Running through the stations, volunteers, completely coated in their assigned color, tossed, sprayed and covered the runners.

After we finished, we all were given packets of color and we headed toward the stage to listen to music.  Every so often they’d prep the crowd, throw out more color packets and at the same moment everyone would open them and spill them over the crowed and we’d all be engulfed in a mass of dust and bodies.

By the time we left, we were like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.  Our own personal dust cloud followed us where ever we went.  Before leaving, we headed over to the blowing station where we were partially cleaned with a leaf blower.

With our skin still stained blue and green, we walked back to the parking garage.  It took us forever to find out how to get back inside and once we did that, we discovered the car died.  The inside lights had been left on.

An hour later we were on our way after jumping the car.  Then off to the bird rescue.  We walked in.   3 of my relative were there and they got a kick out of seeing all of us.

I was so tired afterward, I fell right asleep after lunch.

It was such a fun day and I am so glad can’t wait to do this again next year!

♥Meggieleg

Bold Moves

I am a very anxious person.  I don’t really like going places alone, I am terrified of new people (even though I adore being around people) and I am afraid to try new things, to speak my mind. 

A lot of that has changed throughout the year and I’ve worked hard at dealing with my anxiety.  I go a lot of places by myself, I have pushed myself to be in positions that make me anxious and scare me so I can conqueror those fears and that has really helped me.  I am shedding these layers of anxiety and fear and just going for it, embracing life with nothing holding me back.

Now, I’m going to do something that makes me very anxious, I am going to plan an event.  I don’t mind planning events for others, I love it, but this one will be planned and hosted by me.  I have talked to several friends who are more than willing to help and participate.  My biggest fear though is that no one else will show up!

I want to engage my community and surrounding communities in raising awareness of domestic abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking.  Those are very difficult topics to talk about, so I have no idea where to start in planning this.  I have people who are willing to speak, myself included, but I’m not sure what else to include.  I’d love to have a day long event, where people can spend time and eat, have fun, raise money for various nonprofits but also learn about what is going on in our own backyard.  I want to bust the myths surrounding assault and trafficking, I want to come together as a community to work toward an end.

I am so excited that I am going for this and that all of my friends and family are so incredibly supportive.  I love sharing information and my own experience.  Sometimes people think they are all alone or they’re embarrassed about what they have gone through in life.  I know that’s how I felt.  I didn’t want to admit the kind of relationship I was in to people around me, I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was with someone who could care less about me.  I’m hoping if this event is successful, it will provide resources if anyone is in a situation like that.

If anyone has any suggestions how to engage my community, marketing or ideas for how to make this a fun day, please share with me!  I’d love to hear what you have to say.

♥ Meggie

Women aren’t the only ones. . .

I do quite a bit of work with anti-trafficking efforts in Chicago & I am starting to get involved in domestic abuse efforts, mainly spreading the world and donation collections.  In these efforts, you hear about the women and children being trafficked or abused and you hear about the men who victimize them.  You hear about husbands/boyfriends beating their wives/girlfriends, you hear about men forcing women in 3rd world countries into brothels.

I just heard about the Unbreakable Project.  They collect photos of sexual assault victims holding a sign with the last thing their attacker said to them.  If you click this link here, this is a series of 26 male sexual assault victims.

Both men and women have problems coming forward after being assaulted.  Women are blamed or told they deserve it by the way they dress or how much they drank.  However, in society, women can at least be accepted as victims, it is still incredibly hard for them though and I am not trying to lessen that, because I know it can be difficult.

For men though, a man should be able to defend themselves.  I mean, how could a big strong man be raped?  Of course, only weak men get raped or small men, maybe young boys? We also all know, because it is common sense of course, that a woman could never rape a man or abuse him physically!  WRONG!  Men can be raped by men or women, age and size have nothing to do with it.  If a man is raped, that does NOT make him any less of man or mean something is wrong with him.  These are such common misconceptions, even in the list above the men hold up signs saying “‘Men can’t be raped’ when I told someone” and one man was asked “How can a girl rape a boy?” and later told to “man up” by his fiance when had a panic attack after seeing his rapist 8 years later.

Whether the victim is a male or female it is NOT OUR  RIGHTto judge them, tell them they’re lying, blame them for what happened.  We should be embracing them with love and understanding, we should help them in whatever way they need help.

I have had a male family member physically abused by a woman, a woman smaller than him & I have someone in my life, incredibly close to me who has been sexually assaulted.  Right now, my role in support is just being there, having fun, going out and letting him know that he is not less of a man and I will never think that about him.  I let him know that whenever he wants to talk I am here for him and I offer a safe place and will only show him love not judgement and that is how  both men and women should be treated.

Maybe after reading this, after seeing the photos, you might have to change your perspective, hopefully in a positive way, to be accepting and understanding.

Always remember not to judge, just accept with love.

♥ Meggie

 

One Crazy Ride

My life has turned into a hyper-driver, roller coaster of busy activities!  Remember that group I have mentioned in previous blogs Love Letters to Yourself, well I have turned into a volunteer Marketing & PR director, and I absolutely love it!  I work on everything from event planning, I run most of the social media accounts (you can follow us on Twitter and Pinterest), I work with communicating with groups to look for potential partners, promotion, advertising, you name it I do it.

It is rough sometimes, I already have a full-time job and I still volunteer with Feral Fixers and WAR Chest Boutique.  I am very tired, but I am just having so much fun!  I’ve been up late making origami butterflies and heart invitations, I am on social media sites trying to get a larger following, I just work, work, work.

Why do I work this much?  First of all, anything I do with Love Letters is done because that is what I love to do.  I love volunteering and Jillie’s organization can be applied to so many causes I’m so passionate about, from abused women to just the every day girl who doesn’t realize the amazing person she is.

Second of all, Jillie is just incredible!  She is so wonderful to work with, we brain storm, she listens to my ideas and anything I suggest or if I need help or a break she is always there.  Between my office job and this one, I have found the 2 greatest employers in the world!

For everyone reading this, if you live in the Chicago area, please come join us or spread the word about our celebration of International Day of the Girl on October 11th at the Dupage River Park from 3:30-7:30.

I never expected to be working with a group like this.  I am on one crazy ride in life and am loving every single twist and turn of the road that I’m on.

♥ Meggie

 

We Will Never Forget

Today is a day of remembrance and I just want to write a short post about it.  Today, 12 years ago, my country was attacked and I saw it from a 5th graders perspective, afraid something would happen to my dad in the city, fearing that our school was in trouble since we were completely on lock down, trying to figure out how to find my sister in school in case something happened, it was terrifying.

I want to take the time to thank and remember everyone who lost their life that day and send my love to all of those families.  I want to thank our first responders and everyone who helped, all of the heroes who lost their lives that day and those are are still being affected right now, their bravery is unparalleled.  I send my love to all of the military and pray for their safety.  I will never forget what happened that day or the fear I felt, all the way in Chicago so I have no idea what it was like to actually be there.

Not only that, I send my love to Chile as well since they too faced an attack on September 11, 1973, an attack on their capital, their president killed & a military dictator put into power who killed so many.  I also send my love to those who lost their lives that day.

There are so many terrible tragedies that happen in this world and the word tragedy is such a tiny word, it doesn’t accurately describe these events.  Never forget moments like this because they impact your life so much and always remember the bravery the world witnessed that day.

♥ Meggie