Archives for posts with tag: rape crisis centers

Two main points in this blog:  First, I believe the most important job of your life is to learn how to love yourself unconditionally.  Adoringly.  Patiently. Kindly.

Second,  you will think differently about the word ‘heart’ when you’ve finished reading this blog.

This part of my story began in 1988 at a relationship workshop.  I remember exactly where I was sitting when the speaker said “When the lower heart is abused, the upper heart shuts down.”  It was an enlightening moment for me.  I’d never heard anyone call my vulva a heart or lower heart – yet I knew it was true. It also made sense that my upper heart would be affected by what happened to my lower heart.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’d done all kinds of therapy to heal from what had happened to me. I’ve been a ceramic artist most of my life, and I knew as soon as I heard that quote that I would use clay as yet another way to heal: I would sculpt labia in clay.

It was an empowering and, yes, a healing process, resulting in my feeling more connected with my body, and more positive and loving toward my vulva.

I’ve never stopped. Sculpting labias in clay continues to be a joyful experience.  I lovingly sculpt each piece.  In creating these sculptures,  I realized that the True Origin of the Valentine is a woman’s lower heart. Our upper heart is shaped like a fist. While no two labia are alike, and all are sacred and divine, many have a “heart” shape.

Over 40 years ago I helped found a rape crisis center and learned and taught self-defense classes. With attention and services finally addressing sexual violence, we thought the incidence of rape, domestic violence and incest would fade away. They haven’t! (It would take another blog to discuss the intense backlash against feminism.)
This got me to wondering what if people did not need to fear rape, abuse and violence – We’d have so much more energy to dismantle patriarchal systems of domination. From this chain of thought I coined the phrase “Happy Labias = World Peace.” It’s clearer to me now than it was 40 years ago that boys are sexually abused at high percentages, and that trans people and people with disabilities are abused, violated, and assaulted (as well as murdered) at much higher percentages than cis females…violence affects us all.
“Happy Labias = World Peace”:  self-confident, self-loving, setting-boundaries, passionate people, everyone, everywhere, are needed to keep the planet from imploding. Our most urgent life task is to love ourselves so deeply that we can love the whole world, and put that love into action. Love is a verb.
As Audre Lorde wrote years ago:  self-care and self-love are revolutionary acts in themselves. I encourage your own self-loving revolt.

(For more Audre Lorde quotes:

Have you heard the song “What the world needs now”?  Andra Day does a great rendition:




Here in Portland, Oregon, we have In Other Words, a Feminist Community Center, which just released a video with the theme “feminism now more than ever” and interviews bunches of people about the need to keep talking, and acting, about feminism. They coincidentally released it the day the senate candidate stated that women can’t get pregnant if they’re raped. What timing! (
Later that same week, I heard an activist on NPR who was a rape survivor, who had a baby from the rape, and was later sued by the rapist for sole custody of her child – WHAT!??? How could this happen? She is talking about this because most people don’t know that in 31 states, a rapist can sue for custody if the woman he raped has a child as a result. OMG. Start talking. Keep talking.
The latest YES! magazine is about Our Bodies. Eve Ensler is interviewed – it’s wonderful – go find it…after you finish this please..(also watch a wonderful TED talk by Eve Ensler on YouTube: “Eve Ensler: Suddenly, my body.” It’s really a 12 minute performance poem)….She, like me, urges us to love our bodies, delve into pleasure, love everything….because it’s obviously not working to only put band-aids on the violence. Yes, we need rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, and self-defense classes, but what can we do that will significantly change the climate of violence?
My answer is: LOVE. Love yourself. Love your body. Love everything and everybody…even the people you can’t stand (like the people who want to control women’s bodies, and value a rapist over the victim — they in fact are fearful to their core; I’ve observed that the more scared a person is, the more dangerous they become).
I also recently read an old book about Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, which reminded me that people have struggled against patriarchy, and the control it is always trying to have over everything, since patriarchy began…we’ve never stopped fighting back. I’d like to stop fighting, cause it’s more of the same energy. How about we try loving instead?