Tagged as: survivor

Stopping Toxic Masculinity

“Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women; time to heal our women, be real to our women.” – Tupac, Keep Ya Head Up

I have been challenging myself to develop preventive measures for young men in middle school to proactively educate them on stopping violence against women. As owner of Divas In Defense, I am proud to say we have trained tens of thousands of women Worldwide. From the high seas of the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage, to the hot desserts of Kuwait, the Divas In Defense training staff have worked diligently to empower women through self-defense. Yet, the feeling of incompletion weighs heavy on my heart. How can I, as a man, reach young men to prevent attacks?

Today, at the A CALL TO MEN: Engaging Men in the #MeToo Era sponsored by Uber and hosted at The Gathering Spot, myself and a few good men came together for this one special reason… including men in the fight to end violence against women (VAW). I mean, we have all been trained to respect women and don’t hit girls. Yet, we objectify them and are very misogynistic towards them and sometimes… we don’t even know it. It is time for men to be intentional when preventing VAW. There were some wonderful speakers and panelists including: Jennifer Bivins (Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault), Adrian Githuku (Uber), Tony Porter (A Call To Men), Lina Juarbe Botella (A Call To Men), Elisa Covarrubias (LiveSAFE Resources), Langston Walker (Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault), and Greg Loughlin (Men Stopping Violence).

“Stop Toxic Masculinity!”

This message resonated with me because I found myself guilty of toxic masculinity. Growing up in the inner city, men are led to believe anything which society deems as “girly” is unacceptable. Men are not to show emotion or ask for help. How idiotic is this? Without a proper outlet, emotions can erupt in anger. “The glue to the man box is homophobia.” – Tony Porter. Why are men afraid of being compared to women? Most men were raised by a strong woman, yet see women as weak and docile.

It is time to cultivate the inclusion of men! I have started with my sons, but this is not enough! I implore mothers to be transparent with past experiences when it comes to their sons. The reason for starting Divas In Defense was because my brother and I witnessed domestic violence in the household. I wish these sons would #AskYourMama about being victimized. It is so easy to dismiss violence against women unless it’s one you personally love.

My message to these young men begins with becoming certified in A Call To Men and the following pledge:

  • I will show and speak love to my sons and fellow men.
  • I will be a positive example to boys and men.
  • I will hold men accountable for their verbal and physical actions.
  • I will be proactive in educating men on the variety of abuse and protection of womanhood.
  • I will not allow the misogyny of women.
  • I will be comfortable with my vulnerabilities.
  • I will dedicate some of my time to mentoring young men.

#LoveMePainFree #AskYourMama #MyNamesNotBaby #DivasInDefense #MeToo #ACallToMen #Uber #TheGatheringSpot #MenStoppingViolence #GeorgiaNetworkToEndSexualAssault #StopVAW #SexualAssault #LiveSAFE


Trick Or Treat, Safely!

As the leaves fall and the weather gets cool one of the most festive, crazy and creative holidays is quickly approaching. It is loved by the young and old, the at home- costume doers along with the over the top house decorators. If it isn’t for the bags full of candy or the mystery of “who is behind the mask” you cannot help but enjoy some part of Halloween.

This post will be packed of little Tricks and Treats to keep you and you family safe next weekend.  With every one running around getting that last eye ball to glue on  or finding the ‘just right shade of white face paint’ we at Divas In Defense do not want you to forget that safety is key to a successful evening.

Before you or a group of your Lil’ Ladybug or Fireman friends head out; make sure you have completed your check list:

  1. Have route already planned out.
  2. Make sure designated watchers are assigned.
  3. Costumes are properly fitted with reflector tape or some type of light that can be seen by drivers and walkers.
  4. You can even make your own waterproof informational tattoo. All you need is a sharpie and clear nail polish!

Costumes – Beware! Of people in mask or face covering costumes. They are not only cool to scare but they are an easy way to disguise a person real intention.

Candy – Check your kid’s candy and ‘When in doubt, Throw it out!!! For adults this rule applies as well, check those party favors and punch bowls.

Pets- You will want to keep your cats indoors especially the unofficial mascot of Halloween the Black Cat. Some may take this opportunity to really bring harm to your for legged friend.

Fierce & Fabulous Divas 21+ – With so many goblins and ghouls roaming the streets on All Hallows’ Eve, things can get a little scary. Here are some Uber tips so you have a safe night with treats and no tricks.

  1. Make sure driver ID, type of car and plate matches.
  2. Pre dial 911 – so you can hit send ASAP
  3. Call someone beforehand, while in the car and once you have reached your destination.
  4. Place a business care or matchbook in your purse to ensure you return to your correct hotel.

Halloween can be a fun time of year for both children and adults alike. Whether you plan to get decked out in an elaborate costume and attend a haunted bash, take the kids trick-or-treating, or stay home and hand out goodies to all the ghosts and goblins who appear on your doorstep, the usage of these little tricks and treats will ensure everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

Hey Mom/Dad, What About Me?

Check The Back Seat, Before You Stand On Your Feet

This rising epidemic of children dying in cars is out of hand. As a parent, the fear of any of my children dying before me is one of my worst nightmares. It seems as if there is a new story daily of a parent arrested or distraught over the death of a child left behind. Whether intentional or not, the loss of life through heat and dehydration is a miserable death.

According to SafeCar.gov, here are a few Risks & Consequences:

– In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.
– With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
– A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adults.

– The heat-related death of a child.
– Misdemeanor with fines as high as $500 – and even imprisonment in some states.
– Felony, depending on the state, if bodily harm results from leaving kids alone in a hot car.

Here are a few tips to prevent leaving a child in a car:

1. Stay off the phone! As a self-defense professional, I am dumbfounded by the lack of attention to life while talking or texting on a cellphone. I swear it is situational awareness’ arch nemesis. I’ve personally seen a teenage girl sideswiped as she walked into oncoming traffic blindly texting on her phone. It is the ultimate distraction in which the convenience causes some many negative consequences.

2. Talk to your child. The demands of our lives leaves little room for quality time with our loved ones. I can admit, I too am guilty of being non-attentive to my family. We are a household of technology, iPads, iPhones, Galaxy Tabs, Galaxy S5, Amazon Kindles, video games; you name it, we got it. If you are in the vehicle with your child or children, this is a perfect time for quality time. Staying off of technology prevents accidents and talking to your child(ren) is nourishing and a continuous reminder of their presence.

3. Have a reminder! The old string on your finger adage is a thing of the past, yet the need to be reminded is even more prominent than the days of old. We have a product called, The BabySitter, which is a distance alarm for small children and those with dementia and autism. The BabySitter looks like a Teddy Bear with a separate keychain alarm. When the distance between the two reach 3 to 10 meters, the keychain beeps to acknowledge lack of close proximity to one another. In addition, it also works in stores and parks with the addition of a built in 90db child locator alarm.

For more information regarding The BabySitter, visit http://www.divasindense.com.

Download “A Parent’s Guide to Playing It Safe With Kids and Cars.

Surviving The Scars

I had never considered myself a survivor but if I look back I have survived my whole life. I was molested by my step dad from the time I was 7yrs old till I told someone when I was 11, it was such a different time back then, I never received counseling and never spoke to anyone about it not even my mom it was not talked about in our house ever. I grew up very distrustful of men, till this day I tend to feel like I’m going to freak out if someone I don’t know simply touches my arm but I deal with it. When I was young I became a bit rebellious and my mom let my biological father come around and they would both say things like, that I was a liar and what I had said probably never happened because I was nothing but a piece of scum.

My teenage years were some of the loneliest years of my life. I turned to drugs to numb me of all of it, my drug was meth. My mom made it clear I was not welcome in her home I was 14yrs old so I was on the street. I would sleep where ever I could find a place, sometimes in an abandoned apartment or under some stairs at building to keep from getting wet from the rain. As I walked the streets I would see girls my age going to prom, going to school and I so wanted that for myself, I wanted to be normal I had felt abnormal and out of place almost my whole life, by then I was 16yrs old, I had been on the street for 2yrs. I had a friend who was much older than me and she took me home and helped me get clean which to me was amazing because she was a using as well.

The detox was horrendous I felt I was going to die! But I didn’t and I was determined to have a normal life it’s all I wanted. I went home and enrolled myself back in school and started taking ROP, I started beauty school. I had absolutely no support my moms boyfriend didn’t like my brother and I and let us know every chance he got but I didn’t care. I would an hour to school everyday as they both drove past me.

It was during this time a friend asked if she could fix me up. After a few months of fighting her off I finally agreed and went on a date w him. He was so nice and very different from anyone I had ever dated but then again I hadn’t dated much. Life at home was the same…awful and one day I had a huge fight w my mom and I moved out. I went to a friends house and my new beau came to see me. He said I could stay w him if I wanted to. I was flattered and very happy, I had never had anyone actually want me around so I went. I was very happy I was finally given a chance at a normal life so I did normal things, I cooked and cleaned, did laundry. Being 17 I didn’t see there was nothing normal about a man who didn’t want me to work or go to school. Soon his temper was starting to show, it was a bad temper and the first time he struck me I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have anyone to call or anywhere to go but he apologized and to me that was big, no one had ever apologized for hurting me ever, to me it showed he loved me and I believed him when he said he would never do it again. It went on for many years even through my pregnancy w my son who is now 15yrs old.

At the time he was 1yr old when I had enough and decided to leave, it would be 1 of many times…he would threaten to kill himself sometimes and other times he would get in 1 last beating and would hunt me down and stalk me after to get me to come back, as stupid as it sounds I would go back. I know now it was because I saw his actions after as a sign of his love for me, something I had been searching for my whole life if only I could just fix his problem?. I finally realized I couldn’t fix him if he didn’t want to be fixed and I didn’t want to be beaten in front of my child because he would grow up thinking this was ok, that it was normal. I knew it wasn’t normal and all that normality I had searched for my whole life was up to me to attain, not for myself but for my child, I didn’t care if I had normality for myself but I didn’t want my child to miss out, my choices determined his future. I had survived being molested and I survived drug addiction and now I had to choose to survive domestic violence and I did.

I am married w 2 kids, my husband is a wonderful man and my kids have the normal life I so longed for as a young girl, I may not of been able to attain that for myself at that age but I have a normal life now as a grown woman. It’s never to late to move on from where you are to where your supposed to be and no one is supposed to be in a horrible place of hurt and pain. You are valuable to someone whether it’s your children, your parents, your brothers or sisters, those are the people who love you the way you should love yourself and if you have no one there people like myself who are willing to share our story in the hopes you will pick yourself up and keep from being a forgotten statistic 😉