Girl Talk: “I’m a Teen Mom, Educate Me”

Posted: March 25, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Youth Programs

A Candid Conversation on Teen Moms/Teen Pregnancy Prevention by Queen Afi Gaston
(Founder, Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags)

Queen Afi

I AM A TEEN MOM! EDUCATE ME: The Guttmacher Institute (2006), a New York City based quantitative research organization, reported that teenage pregnancy in the United States is equal to approximately 750,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age. While the rate of teenage pregnancy seemed to be declining since reaching its peak in 1990, it still continues to be a major concern to health care providers, education systems, and even the governmental agencies that will provide support for these teenagers and their unborn children.

Why Am I Afraid to Tell:  Parents don’t understand the peer pressure that teen girls face by teen boys.  Parents may criticize  judge, and/or blame teen moms which can cause depression and stressors for teen mom and baby. Parents seem so critical and many of them don’t understand because they want better for their children, but we have to understand that children will make mistakes. Suggestion, parents we want to open the door and always effectively communicate the hard topics with our children such as sex. Parents we have to share when we were teenagers because ultimately that’s what saves their life. They will remember the things we have shared with them and naturally want to do better.

What Teen Moms Need:  Teen Moms need to know that we care and understand that have made a mistake and we say mistake because they are minors having children. Teen Moms need their questions to be answered before the baby comes and more so after. It is not fair as parents and or legal guardians to disown the teen mom and leave her to make it on her own. Teen Moms are babies themselves, and need their parents to listen and care during pregnancy.

Facts about Teen Pregnancy: Teen pregnancy can have serious consequences for girls, including decreased chances of finishing school, a difficult financial future, and health risks for both the mother and the child. If you are thinking about having sex, it is important to know that the effects can last a lifetime. Almost 50 percent of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives. Less than half of teen mothers ever graduate from high school and fewer than two percent earn a college degree by age 30. With increasing demands in schooling necessary to qualify for a well-paying job, it is more important than ever to finish high school.

Do Teen Girls Know About Ovulation:  I have been out in the community, schools, sex education programs, surrounding myself with teens and many of them know nothing about ovulation. Example, I asked a teen girl when you can get pregnant. She said, 7 days before the period, and another said, all month. Cleary we as parents have dropped the ball and many of us aren’t educating our teens on SEX EDUCATION because some of us are afraid, it’s against your religion, and/or no one told you.

1. Check the calendar: Ovulation most often occurs halfway through your menstrual cycle — the average cycle lasts 28 days, counting from the first day of one period (day one) to the first day of the next period. But as with everything pregnancy-related, there’s a wide range of normal here (anywhere from 23 to 35 days), and your own cycle may vary slightly from month to month. By keeping a menstrual calendar for a few months, you can get an idea of what’s normal for you. (When you become pregnant, this calendar will come in handy to get a better estimate of your baby’s due date!) If your periods are irregular, you’ll need to be even more alert for other signs of ovulation, so read on.

2. Listen to your body: If you’re like 20 percent of women, your body will send you a memo when it’s ovulating, in the form of a twinge of pain or a series of cramps in your lower abdominal area (usually localized to one side — the side you’re ovulating from).  Called mittelschmerz — German for “middle pain” — this monthly reminder of fertility is thought to be the result of the maturation or release of an egg from an ovary. Pay close attention, and you may be more likely to get the message. These are two very good tips to prevent pregnancy.

Empowering Teen Moms with Sex Education: Empowering families, communities and educators to help teens become healthy, contributing adults is a surefire way to strengthen our future. Statewide reports show a decline in teen pregnancy and teen birth rates which is positive for programs that provide teens with accurate, age-appropriate sex education, and access to confidential sexual health services (The Daily Freeman Journal, 2012). Parents educate your teens on sex education in your home or put them in a position where they can get right teachings on teen pregnancy prevention.

To learn more about Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags, visit them online at www.DVWMTS.org.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: Looks that ROCK for Brown Girls!

Posted: March 25, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Youth Programs

Girlish Gab on Beauty by Kim (Brown Girlz Rock, Partners in Pretty)

Check out these looks that work for brown girls of all shades!

To find out more about the Partners in Pretty, visit them at http://www.facebook.com/partnersinpretty or follow on Instagram @partnersinpretty

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: 5 Tips to Glam Up Your Prom Makeup!

Posted: March 20, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Youth Programs

Girlish Gab on Beauty for Prom by Kia Darby (Yummy411, Partners in Pretty)

Young ladies, glam up your prom look with these tips from the ladies of Partners in Pretty!

To find out more about the Partners in Pretty, visit them at http://www.facebook.com/partnersinpretty or follow on Instagram @partnersinpretty

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: Understanding Beauty and Loving You

Posted: March 20, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Youth Programs

Girlish Gab on Beauty by Sade Nicholson (Host, The Selah Moments)

What is the true definition of beauty? Sade gets personal with us and offers an answer from a biblical perspective! Follow Sade on Twitter @Me_bySade

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Introducing ERCPCP’s Girl Talk 2013 beauty partner…  The Partners in Pretty! By Shana Janelle Swain (Partners in Pretty)

To find out more about the Partners in Pretty, visit them at http://www.facebook.com/partnersinpretty or follow on Instagram @partnersinpretty

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: The Importance of Safe Sex

Posted: March 19, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Uncategorized, Youth Programs

Girlish Gab on Safe Sex by Geneva Thomas (Sasha Bruce P.O.W.E.R. Program)

safety first1Having safe sex is so important. When you don’t practice safer sex it’s like playing Russian roulette with your life. It only takes one wrong decision and one good feeling to become a victim of an STD, and or the incurable STDs known as the four H’s (HIV, Hepatitis, Herpes or Human papillomavirus) and so much more. To all my, “I got this” or “my partner good, which means I’m good” people, please stop and think that diseases don’t come with a name or face. If you are sexually active go get tested and encourage your partner to get tested as well. Just because you are having sex with one person, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Getting tested should be just as important as making good grades in school, paying a bill, or even getting fresh. When you are in a relationship it’s very important to have an open line of communication with each other. By having unprotected sex and not getting tested is not the smartest choice because you could contract an STD, have no symptoms and live with it not knowing you have it.

To find out more about the Sasha Bruce Prevention, Outreach, Wellness, Education and Risk Reduction (P.O.W.E.R.) Program, visit them online at http://sbypowerprogram.com/

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: Double Standards

Posted: March 19, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Uncategorized, Youth Programs

Girlish Gab on Double Standards by D. McCrae (Sasha Bruce P.O.W.E.R Program)

double standards1According to the dictionary, double standards can be defined as a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups. When it comes to double standards, females are kept from making healthy decisions when it comes to sex. For example, a male can carry condoms around in his wallet or pocket but if a female were to carry condoms on her, she is seen as “easy” or promiscuous. However, this is not true, females should want to keep themselves protected from HIV, STIs, and unplanned pregnancy. Males can talk about sex but if a female does, she is considered to be a “hoe”, when there is a possibility that she has never had sex. These double standards are why females are talked down on and why males are praised. Parents also have double standards when it comes to both girls and boys. Girls are told to wait until marriage but boys are given condoms and are told to be safe. Today, people should have the choice to have sex before marriage and everyone should always keep themselves safe from anything that will harm them and responsibilities they aren’t ready for. Double standards are very annoying and should be challenged when they come up. Ladies should be able to carry condoms and not be viewed as “easy” and promiscuous, but viewed as smart and wanting to protect themselves.

To find out more about the Sasha Bruce Prevention, Outreach, Wellness, Education and Risk Reduction (P.O.W.E.R.) Program, visit them online at http://sbypowerprogram.com/

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: The Truth About STDs

Posted: March 19, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Uncategorized

Girlish Gab on STDs and STIs by Zoe Hoffman (Sasha Bruce P.O.W.E.R. Program)

get testedRecently, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) released numbers stating that there are an estimated 20 million new STD’s transmitted yearly. HPV (human papillomavirus) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, accounting for about 14 million of the 20 million new STD’s transmitted yearly. One of the more commonly known STD’s, HIV, affects less people but also accounts for 18,000 deaths in the USA per year. Not only are these STD’s causing severe health problems, they are also proving to be very costly. The cost of treating STD’s is estimated at 742$ million dollars annually!

This article also works to highlight the importance of treating one’s infection, “All STI’s are preventable. They’re all treatable, and many are curable. But if they’re left untreated, they can lead to pretty serious lifelong problems and even death…” according to Catherine Satterwhite, from the CDC.

The costs that these rising numbers of infections are creating are becoming too much. It’s important as women that we take matters in to our own hands to protect the health of our community. As a woman, I sometimes feel like the effects of STI’s are greater on my body. For example, HPV can make a woman become infertile, as well as cause cervical cancer. I feel that everybody should really come together and speak out on this issue because not enough people know about how wide spread this issue is becoming.

Remember, it’s always important to get tested!

To find out more about the Sasha Bruce Prevention, Outreach, Wellness, Education and Risk Reduction (P.O.W.E.R.) Program, visit them online at http://sbypowerprogram.com/

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

A Diva Dialogue on Entrepreneurship by Melissa A. Matthews (Mamltdart)

I’m a 28 year old Artpreneur (artist and entrepreneur). I guess I always knew this is what I wanted.  As a child, I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I watched my parents toil in jobs they weren’t particularly fond of and I just knew that wasn’t for me (though in college and even after I worked my fair share of ridiculous…what-did-i-do-in-a-past-life-to-deserve-this type of gigs– enough for a lifetime).

mamltdartI have owned and operated my sole-proprietorship, Mamltdart (pronounced MAM-Limited-Art) since I was a sophomore in college (19). It started as a way to supplement my income. I was already working three jobs as a fulltime student and started making tee shirts with original art, because, well it made sense. I already spent an inordinate amount of time painting as it was my major. It soon snowballed into exhibiting and selling my fine art pieces and the business model has evolved somewhat organically as I have grown and changed both personally and professionally.

This doesn’t mean I’m on easy street, if you didn’t read it carefully I did say I’m an artist and entrepreneur, and let’s be real I’m a tenderoni. (Now if you don’t know what that urban colloquialism means… I’m a PYT –Pretty Young Thing!) And now that I have sufficiently dated myself, I shall move on. Every day is a new challenge, implementing new ideas, developing new product, finding my audience, and developing a LONGTERM relationship with them. I am at various levels in each part of the MAMLTDART brand with these principles.

As a mixed-media artist, curator, illustrator, accessory designer and when I’m really broke- a freelance graphic designer , my brand is a catch-all fine art and art services company. It is a struggle most days to keep all of my projects straight and have them all in the place I want them to be. However, I LOVE ( and I do mean whole-heartedly) love what I do. I am amazed that I get paid to paint and draw for a living — Who even does that? I’ll tell you who, ME! And that excitement pushes me through the bad days. If you don’t love what you do, I can only imagine that the bad days are worse and the light at the end of tunnel– just a little dimmer. Who wants to live like that? Not me!

Here are few things I have learned along the way:

  • Know who you are: You may not yet know what you want to be but you definitely know who you are culturally, mentally, physically and hopefully spiritually- a strong sense of self will keep you grounded while you explore or try to find out what your talents are and what your career path should be.
  • A huge part of entrepreneurship and life in general is understanding, embracing, and learning from failure. It is almost better to fail a few times before you find your stride because:

1.when that inevitable failure comes your way, you won’t fall apart (resilience)

2.It teaches you the important lessons of professionalism: being prepared, having a contingency plan, and regrouping

3.if you know how to fail graciously, you will know how win graciously – your success will have a bitter taste if its accomplished while burning bridges and stepping on other people (you don’t want to be that woman)

  • Money is a secondary goal: Wealth is better defined as “Joy” – being content where you are and enjoying the journey. Money can be a tangible outgrowth of a journey well-traveled balanced with happiness. Balance; THAT IS TRUE SUCCESS!

To find out more about Melissa Matthews, visit her online at www.mam-ltd-art.com or www.mamltdart.tumblr.com 

http://mamltdart.tumblr.com/post/45265706393/mamltdartpublication-the-artpreneurs-guide-to

Shopwww.etsy.com/shop/mAmLtDaRt

 

 

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

Girl Talk: He Has No Clue

Posted: March 14, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Uncategorized

A Sister Chat on Domestic Violence by Queen Afi Gaston (Founder, Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags)

The “He Has No Clue” Campaign is in remembrance of LaShawndia Humphries and April Hamlette, and like so many women & teenage girls they were told by me (Queen Afi) to “JUST LEAVE.” Many victims tell the abuser they are leaving and many are dead today. As you will find in reading this information telling victims “JUST LEAVE” can be deadly.

LaShawndia Humphries and I were very close, I knew she was scared of her baby daddy and he was threatening her life. At the time I was about 16 & she was about 15. She would call and tell me that her baby daddy said things like “if he can’t have her nobody will” and he told her, “I will kill you.” Well, me being young and trying to help my Sister/Best Friend, I told her “Just Leave” as so many of us do; she left and was killed about 15 years ago.

April Hamlett’s case was somewhat different because her boyfriend was controlling and manipulative mentally, he could get her to do things out of the ordinary, and on this particular night he manipulated her to drive him to an alley in Deanwood NE, Washington DC, it was a drug deal gone wrong because she was shot in the head and burned up in her vehicle at approximately seven months pregnant, and he was killed (outside the vehicle). I spoke with my little cousin a couple of months prior to her being killed and I told her “Just Leave.”

God spoke to my spirit and said this is why so many women & teenage girls are being killed because of the classic “Just Leave.” The campaign is designed to educate women & teenage girls as well as family and friends all across this world on how to leave and how to advise someone in an abusive relationship without them being killed.

Women & teenage girls cannot “Just Leave” because it is dangerous to break the control of the abuser:

3 Reason Why Breaking the Control of the Abuser is deadly:

1. The abuser is a good manipulator: If the abuser has gotten away with verbal abuse in the beginning (because in most cases it starts off verbal and leads to physical) and you stayed in the relationship, the control starts. That’s an icebreaker for the abuser to extend the abuse from verbal to physical.

2. The abuser only sees one perspective: The victim has no say. The abuser always has the beginning and final say. The victims have a schedule that they must follow, and anything outside that schedule is defiance from the abuser’s perspective.

3. The abuser leads with an ego: “I will kill you.” His ego but low self-esteem causes him to threaten the victims. Most times the abuser is only doing what he saw or what was done to him. The victims are scared of the ego; they don’t see the low self-esteem. The victims go along with whatever the abuser says because they are scared and they can’t “JUST LEAVE”, why? Breaking the abuser’s ego/control can absolutely be deadly.

WOMEN&TEENAGE GIRLS NEVER TELL THE ABUSER YOU ARE LEAVING:

  • Devise A Safety Plan: 
  • Three Steps to Leave Safely:
  1. Develop a plan
  2. Get Out
  3. Seek Help from Professionals
  • Step 1. Developing a plan- The victim knows they are being abused, they understand they are not responsible for it, and the victim realizes it must STOP. Victims once you realize this step start planning exactly how you can safely get out of your home.
  • A. develop a plan to call for help outside the home (teach your children how to call for help). Make arrangements upfront where you will go and leave the getaway bag with them, but keep this in mind for an escape kit (get an extra set of keys made, cash for a cab and or hotel, pack driver’s license, social security cards and birth certificates for you and the children, extra set of clothing, etc)
  • Step 2. Get Out- Once you have devised your safety plan take your children and leave. The children are being hurt & taught to abuse if you stay. It is a scary step but an act of courage, and encouragement for your children that abuse is unacceptable.
  • Step 3. Seek Professional Help- Many of us don’t realize it but you need professional help after any type of abuse and your children need professional help. Don’t sweep it under the rug, by facing the truth about abuse it teaches our children what to do in cases of abuse weather verbal, mental, emotional, physical, and it breaks the cycle of abuse from continuing in your household
  • Queen Afi’s Tip:  Of the total domestic violence homicides, about 75% of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the relationship had ended. This is why the safety plan is so important because if the abuser knows the victim is leaving or shows any sign of leaving they can be killed. Victims be sure to never tell the abuser that you are leaving the relationship. Victims be sure to plan (step # 1 suggested) when you know the abuser is some place where it would take hours for him to reach you.

Family & Friends Tips:

  • 3 Important tips for Family & Friends
  • 1st Don’t advise the victim to “Just Leave” instead be a support system and encourage them with resources, because breaking the control of the abuser can be deadly.
  • 2nd  Advise them to never tell the abuser they are leaving and to hide any material that’s an indication they are leaving, because breaking the control of the abuser can be deadly.
  • 3rd Sneak the victim numbers such as DVWMTS and or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE (7233), because breaking the control of the abuser can be deadly.
  • 4th Never critize, judge, or blame the victim, let me advise you, they aren’t dumb, they aren’t stupid. The victim is being controlled and manipulated to believe the abusers perspective.

STRATEGIES WITH VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

  1. Support her telling her story again and again. Acknowledge the courage in telling.
  2. Find her strengths and point them out to her.
  3. Build upon her hopes, dreams, and plans for the future.
  4. Rebuild her social-support network or create an alternative network that is trustworthy.
  5. Stick with her, even when you get frustrated.
  6. Build her knowledge of options and advocate for her.
  7. Take an active concern and help her plan for her safety.
  8. Respect her choices. Only she lives with the consequences. Let her maintain control.
  9. Collaborate with other services that can help her. Work actively with them.

Thank you all for taking part in spreading the word about the “He Has No Clue” Campaign. We want to reach millions of women & teenage girls; family/friends. Control & manipulation is what the abuser lives by and it can be broken by educating women & teenage girls and family/friends.

One in three teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend and one in four has experienced violence in a relationship, according to NSPCC and Bristol University. Every 9 seconds, a woman is battered in the U.S. Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1994.

If you want to see this campaign reach millions of women & teenage girls please visit FaceBook@DomesticViolenceWearsManyTags also www.DVWMTS.org

Resources:

WASHINGTON DC:

  • Queen Afi, Founder & Executive Director of Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags (202) 821-8933 E-mail: DVWMTS@gmail.com  Facebook@DomesticViolenceWearsManyTags
  • D.C. :202-223-0020 Hotline/Crisis: 202-223-2255
  • House of Ruth – 202-347-0737 Hotline/Crisis: 202-347-2777
  • My Sister’s Place -202-986-1476 Hotline/Crisis: 202-529-5991

MARYLAND:

  • Montgomery County Abused Persons Program-240-777-4673
  • Prince George’s County Family Crisis Center-301-731-1203

VIRGINA:

  • Virginia Crime Victim Assistance Line-800-838-VADV
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline1−800−799−SAFE(7233)

To learn more about Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags, visit them online at www.DVWMTS.org.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.