Here’s to the New Year!!! 2019
Who We Are
For those of you who know us, and for some of you who don’t, Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition, or W.O.M.E.N. for short, is the oldest and only 501(c)3 organization founded, organized, administered and directed by an African American woman living with AIDS in the southern United States. Additionally, Women on Reason To Heal (W.O.R.T.H.) is the first and oldest HIV-positive support group in Tennessee. Both founded in 1994 by the inimitable Catherine Wyatt-Morley, her mission is to incite courage, strength, and empowerment in women who have suffered sexual harassment and trauma throughout their lives. Alongside Catherine is her daughter Jalyon, who has served as the director for W.O.M.E.N. since 2010. Together their shared experiences as survivors of sexual abuse has not only strengthened their bond as family but has given them the vitality and wisdom to speak about the unspeakable and encourage other victims to do the same. Jalyon contributed to Catherine’s 2018 memoir I Am the Product of Rape-A Memoir, and together they have created #HealingSecretHurts, a workshop series aimed at bringing the darkness of traumatizing sexual assault into the light.
Alongside Catherine is her daughter Jalyon, who has served as the director for W.O.M.E.N. since 2010. Together their shared experiences as survivors of sexual abuse has not only strengthened their bond as family but has given them the vitality and wisdom to speak about the unspeakable and encourage other victims to do the same. Jalyon contributed to Catherine’s 2018 memoir I am the Product of Rape, and together they have created #HealingSecretHurts, a workshop series aimed at bringing the darkness of traumatizing sexual assault into the light.
We are proud of the work we’ve accomplished at W.O.M.E.N., and as we look to 2019, we want to share with all of our loyal supporters and readers our intentions and hopes for this new year. To begin, we are opening up a new wing of our website for our W.O.M.E.N. blog. Here we will be sharing our thoughts and experiences on sexual assault, and want our content to support survivors and act as a resource of healing and encouragement, wherever you may be in your own journey. Whether you have personally been a victim of sexual assault or not, our voice in our forthcoming content pieces will act as a safe space and sounding board for conversation, education, and inspiration. On our blog you’ll be able to find interviews with members of our team as well as other affiliates of our non-profit, deeper explorations of topics found across any of the literature we’ve released over the years, and thoughtful examinations on current events as they relate to sexual assault and trauma. We will also release content that focuses on new studies in sexual assault, abuse, incest, rape, and the physical and emotional traumas incurred from such violations.
On our blog you’ll be able to find interviews with members of our team as well as other affiliates of our non-profit, deeper explorations of topics found across any of the literature we’ve released over the years, and thoughtful examinations on current events as they relate to sexual harassment and trauma. We will also release content that focuses on new studies in sexual harassment, abuse, incest, rape, and the physical and emotional traumas incurred from such violations.
Tackling Issues in 2019
In years of experience and work, we’ve learned that sexual trauma is a global issue that permeates the lives of individuals from all different types of backgrounds. In light of the #Metoo movement, we’ve seen just how rampant sexual abuse and harassment is and has always been. While our team is thrilled to see women speaking out against their tormentors, we believe that sexual assault and abuse stretches far beyond the confines of the workplace, and that most of the time sexual intimidation begins in the home. At W.O.M.E.N., one of the strongest agendas we aim to push through our forthcoming content as well as through other efforts within our non-profit is obliterating the taboo nature of sexual harassment in the home. Our society has resigned to sticking the topic of incest and domestic violence under the umbrella of sexual assault and misconduct regardless of the fact that the root of these issues are born from their own world and history entirely, and they deserve to be examined and discussed as such.
It’s difficult to identify the vast issues surrounding hurt and trauma, but we believe the only way to break the prevailing cycle of silence is by doing just that. We intend to talk about difficult topics, be a resource to those difficult topics, and develop ways to heal from those difficult topics.
If you’ve had the opportunity to read any of the books, articles and journals we’ve published over the years, then you know we do not shy away from the difficult topics that our world avoids. One such topic that we will confront through this blog and through the services of W.O.M.E.N. is incest. Though our wider culture has difficulty accepting statistics about incest, it’s crucial in our opinion to share some of these facts in order to decrease stigma around incest:
The National Center for Victims of Crime reports the below on sexual assault and incest:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse
- Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident
- During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
- Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
- Children are most vulnerable to child sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13
Though these statistics are typically known by industry professionals and psychiatrists, most of them will quickly explain that incest is a largely unreported or under reported crime, and that these numbers don’t accurately reflect the amount of survivors living among us
W.O.M.E.N. is a Resource!
In this blog, we want to give voice to those who have suffered not only through incest but sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence and other forms of sexual trauma. This blog is designed to be a resource for victims, survivors, those who have family or friends that have suffered these crimes. We hope the literature released across our platform, and the work we do in-house will empower you to explore your own past traumas and that this space become a place for education and conversation.
Other topics our blog will address are adoption, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, loneliness and isolation and the consequences of choosing silence. W.O.M.E.N.’s mission bridges physical, mental, and emotional, gaps caused by the many kinds of trauma, and we do this in an holistic environment aimed to heal and restore individuals from diverse backgrounds.
We are thrilled to unveil this new section of our website, and can’t wait to see how our readers get involved as our content continues to develop this year. We want each of your voices heard and responded to, so if there’s ever a topic you’d like us to cover or explore more deeply, or if you have further questions or comments on anything we publish, please send us an email at catherinewyatt-morley.com and we will work to answer your question or create new content that reflects what our readers are interested in learning more about! At our core, we are a community of women whose mission is to serve and educate one another, and our blog is one of the many ways in which we intend to serve the immediate and wider network of women all over the globe.
The first step in facing sexual assault and trauma, and any of the other topics we navigate in this blog is by first opening up about it. None of us at W.O.M.E.N. have been able to do the work we do without having first acknowledged the pain each of us have experienced in our own lives and the often arduous path you must walk down in order to confront and heal from that pain. If the articles on our new blog leave readers with anything, we hope that it’s a message of unwavering courage and strength to face the parts of our lives we’ve all worked hard to collectively silence. We are here to break the silence through our words and the work we do, and we hope that you’ll join us on our journey this year!
If you haven’t yet, please follow Catherine, Jalyon, and W.O.M.E.N. on the below social media channels so that you can stay up to date on future announcements, events, workshops, and education!