With a background in jewelry design and Saori Zen Weaving, Rhiannon has been able to express her inner beauty and reflections on her life through these mediums. Each work is a memory of her travels, her fondness for indigenous artwork, sacred adornment and thoughtful interactions upon this Earth. She draws much of her inspiration from art, jewelry, architecture and natural landscapes. "She who dances with Ghosts " is the artists translation for the mystical connection to all those who have come before her.
Originally published at Ghost Dancer, and graciously shared with ENDPAIN.
As I begin to write this, I feel the need to acknowledge our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, godmothers, and all their relations who, in fear of their lives, were not able to come out and express Me Too. I honor all the women within our ancestry who have chosen to bare these unbearable traumas because their lives were at risk, their children's lives were at risk, and their generation was not one that could openly discuss trauma. I would also like to acknowledge activist sister, Tarana Burke, who is the women that coined "Me too" ten years ago.
Sometimes, memories arise that aren't pleasant yet can be harbingers for change. If you breathe into the feeling and allow it to sit before reacting, it can teach you and become a guide into fueling your engine.Â My own experiences are the fuel for this fire. I believe at this juncture in time we cannot be bystanders nor ignorant to the conflicts that have so clearly been highlighted by the present leader of the first world. Donald Trump has made it clear that his agenda includes racism, sexism, and misogyny, and yet he is still in office. Below, I offer quotes that have also been recorded publicly by men and women alike in office who seem to perpetuate this problemâoutspokenly.
âSome girls rape easy.â - Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Wi during run for re-election, stating that young women lie about rape to get out of trouble)
âRape is kinda like the weather. If itâs inevitable, relax and enjoy it.â - Clayton William (R-failed Tx gubernatorial candidate, comparing rape to bad weather spoiling a cattle roundup)
âFrom what I understand...If itâs a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.â - Todd Akin (R-Mo, explaining how the female body can prevent pregnancy in instances of âlegitimate rateâ)
âYou know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasnât that costly.â - Foster Friess (R mega-donor behind Rick Santorum Super PAC, sharing âalternativeâ contraception options)
âIf a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldnât a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapistâs pursuit of sexual freedom doesnât (in most cases) result in anyoneâs death.â - Lawrence Lockman (R-Me)
âIn the emergency room, they have whatâs called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.â - Jodie Laubenberg (R-Tx, implying that rape kits prevent unwanted pregnancies)
âIt is similar, from the fatherâs position.â - Tom Smith (R, failed candidate for a seat in PA, discussing how rape and premarital sex are the same things)
âI would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape." - Chuck Winder (R-Id, questioning whether women know when they have been raped)
âWhat did they expect? These people are in close contact.â - Liz Trotta (FOX pundit, on why women are raped in the military)
âRape victims should make the best of a bad situation.â - Rick Santorum (R-Pa, explaining why he is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape)
The only silver lining I have found more recently is that the many-headed snake of Patriarchy is sitting full frontal for all of us to see, witness, and tear down together. It requires unity and the support of both feminine and masculine alike.
A dear friend mentioned the #MeToo movement yesterday evening while we were driving home from dinner. I happened to be in the car with three men I trust.Â Â The hashtag immediately stirred a hoorah within me, and I was anxious to come home to read more. In the wake of the Weinstein Scandal, many women have finally felt emboldened to share their traumas together and vocalize the injustice that has perpetuated itself against the feminine for ions. Unfortunately, as a woman, this scandal is no surprise, and sadly, I feel my own desensitization to it, time and time again. That in itself feels like a problem.
BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO OWN YOUR MISTAKES, MAKE AMENDS, AND MAKE THAT COMMITMENT TO YOUR SOUL TO BE A BROTHER IN THIS LIFETIME TO THE WOMEN AROUND YOU.
Let me clear and humbly communicate this from the start: I am not a victim. My experiences are countless, and for my own healing, I have chosen not to name names nor divulge the encounters that vary in nature. The treatment of women in this manner is ubiquitous, and I thank each and every one of you for sayingÂ Me Too. I understood the intention of this movement to bring forth awareness on the subject, not victimization. If any of your sisters or friends are shaming you already for posting this: ignore it. That is their own process. I've also been told this is triggering trauma for a few, so please be gentle with yourselves as you relive anything that comes to memory. It takes courage to work through trauma and process it to the point where it doesn't threaten your safety. Again, gentle and time.
When it comes to addressing the male audience that may read this, my intention is not to shame you.Â Shaming helps no ones. I am a woman with my own experiences and a long list of stories that have been shared with me in confidence. I ask men to be patient, be ready to experience the ripple this may have on your life, be supportive, and act to be part of the solution.
As a woman...
As a woman, I know what it's like to be cat-called from all angles of the street, by every man born in every shade of skin color. I know that how I chose to express myself within my dress may very well in fact attract unwanted attention and that as a woman, I know I may very well be told: " She had it coming because of the way she dressed."Â I've heard the perpetrator stories from women who were but innocent children existing in their fantasy worlds until some predator chose to obliterate that innocence. I know the subtle threat that arises when it's 2 am walking alone on the streets of NYC, and there is a man walking my way without another human being in sight, feeling the slow race of cortisol in my veins.Â I've learned to have 1000 eyes surrounding my being at all times in order to be on guard... just in case. I know what it's like to be groped, to be harassed, to have physically thrown men off of me and to also been unable to move while pinned up against an NYC wall by a man three times my sizeâŚ in broad daylight. I know what it's like to say NOâNo means No and to have become so enraged that NO still serves as a maybe for some men. I know the guilt that arises when something happens with a friend you've made yourself vulnerable too, and when that vulnerability is taken advantage of, you're left feeling guilty and sad that you can no longer have that friend in your life. I know what it's like to have shaken my head countless times at the inappropriate advances seemingly conscious men have made on friends, and nothing happens because we don't want to cause "drama" within a spiritual community.
AS A COLLECTIVE, WE ARE BEING ASKED ON A GREATER LEVEL AT THIS MOMENT TO BURN OUT THE OLD PARADIGM OF PATRIARCHY AND RAISE THE FUTURE GENERATIONS IN A NEW MANNER.
As a woman, I've been apprehensive to travel alone due to the nature of men in "foreign cultures, " and as a woman, I've been told, " It's just their culture, accept it." I've dealt with being followed home for blocks by French men,Â Italian men,Â Moroccan men and a group of Latin men because, well, that's their culture. I know that if I chose to call someone out by name, it could immediately affect my business, my credibility and I may lose female friends who chose to side with the man. I know there are men who may already be judging me as wounded or scarred, a woman with baggage because I'm taking a moment to acknowledge all of this.
As a woman, I know sometimes your hugs linger way too long, and you come back again for yet another one as if I'm a giving tree to you, a stranger.Â I'm thinking about the women in all of the situations who have been coerced or forced into positions they would never conceive of just to get by and provide for their families.Â I'm thinking about my freedom at this moment in time as an American to publicly state this. I know what it's like to be objectified with a wanton desire to be possessed, placed on a pedestal, and discarded as insignificant the moment I communicate you are in the friend category.Â I know my kind and open smile feels like an invitation for you to talk to me, impede upon my personal space, make an unwanted advance upon me. I'm thinking about all the times I've witnessed a man become aggressive and upset when I hold a boundary.
As a woman, I also know that this energy and indecency may be completely flipped and turned around on heterosexual boys, gay men, non-binary, or queer individuals. I know some woman completely dominate and take advantage of men. I know this topic has already been laughed at, scoffed at, joked at, and in some circles, turned around as a witch hunt against men and coined once again as "Angry Feminism." Honestly, as a woman, you really see it all and unfortunately, many of you reading this, know this cyclone of indecency.
I BEGAN TO LOOK AROUND AT THE MEN WITHIN MY OWN LIFE, WONDERING WHO IN FACT WOULD WITHOUT A HESITATION STAND UP IN THE SAME MANNER TO PROTECTâŚ ANYONEâS SAFETY THAT WAS BEING THREATENED.
Now, I'm positive many of you recall the attack against two young Muslim women in Portland this summer.Â Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best were the two men who intervened when a radicalized bigot threatened the safety of women and these men lost their lives. I read about this over a solo meal of Indian food and started to weep uncontrollably. On one hand, I was deeply emotional that experiences like this are still happening to women in 2017, and on the other hand, I felt a subterranean amount of gratitude for men standing up towards other men in order to protect innocence; in order to protect a women's place in choosing her faith and honoring her faith by dress. The gratitude towards these two strangers, and whomever in their life taught them to protect, is immeasurable, and the tragedy of life lost is large. I distinctly recall the moment I began to look around at the men within my own life, wondering who in fact would without a hesitation stand up in the same manner to protect my life, my sisters, my friends, or anyone else's safety that was being threatened. Honestly, months later, I am still reflecting on the question.
Me too is not about being a victim, it's about highlighting just in fact how many women you know and love can attest to being harassed. We need to stop being afraid to face the difficult and uncomfortable discussions and find some kind moments to listen to one another. As a collective, we are being asked on a greater level at this moment to burn out the old paradigm of patriarchy and raise the future generations in a new manner. How do we do this together?
Men, speak to one another. Have these conversations with your brothers, friends, fathers, sons, and uncles.Â Hold men's gatherings, and heed the council of your elders. I'm not one to dismiss the wisdom of my elders, but there is also an older generation that may still be stuck in its ways. Don't be afraid to enlighten and empower woman in their company. Be brave enough to own your mistakes, make amends, and make that commitment to your soul to be a brother in this lifetime to the women around you. Respect a woman's words and a woman's boundaries. Be a solid man to all women: your mother, your daughter, your sister, your aunt, your best friend, your lover, your wife,Â your teachers, the women you come in contact throughout your days. All woman of every color of skin color and every age. Be brave enough to ask your female friends the right questions and honestly, sometimes, just listen. That means no advice. We don't always want your unsolicited advice, we want your support in saying "I hear you, I see you, and I've got you. How can I help?" If you are experiencing a wave right now of women letting you know that your behavior towards them felt like harassment, step into that beautiful role of your highest masculinity and apologize with sincerity. This is a systemic problem that goes back into the history of histories, and itâs time to stand up against it.Â When a woman chooses you to be her confidant in vulnerable manners, don't shame or judge her. I recently experienced this with someone I thought I was safe with, and it turned out to be quite the opposite.Â It exacerbated my trauma, which was the complete opposite of what I was looking to release and work through. If you're going to communicate you're âa safe man,â then please be accountable through and through.
Men, ask for forgiveness and forgive yourselves. Note fallible nature and make sure a mistake does not become a pattern. Speak up and speak out. If you note a woman across the street receiving any kind of harassment, do something. Within this generation of social media, it becomes easier to call it out, have public discussions, and leave it be. The real work is integrating this into your everyday life and being vigilant. Women have been mistreated and unapologetically oppressed by the patriarchy for way too long. Our bodies have never been your right and are not your battleground to discuss anything that belongs to the temple of a woman. We are asking you, men, to be on our team and use your voice. Act with your money and divest from immoral corporations that hinder the rise of women.Â Vote for us, with us, so we have domain over these temples that raise your children. Please, brothers, friends, strangers: be active in the way you chose to stand up with the feminine. Refuse to be a silent bystander doing nothing. Please be a part of the solution.
[MEN], IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A WAVE RIGHT NOW OF WOMEN LETTING YOU KNOW THAT YOUR BEHAVIOR TOWARDS THEM FELT LIKE HARASSMENT, STEP INTO THAT BEAUTIFUL ROLE OF YOUR HIGHEST MASCULINITY AND APOLOGIZE WITH SINCERITY.
My intention here is expression. If I've come across as self-righteous, please forgive me. My intention was not to do so or to shame, but to express the ubiquitous nature of misogyny and sexism. Humanity at this time is demanding us all to work together albeit how divided we may seem. Women need more platforms to share our nurturing, constructive voices, and we need the solidarity of our brothers, our men, to activate change.
Men, I am not attacking you. I am not dismissing your traumas or your wounds, but right now, with a misogynist in office, the focal point is here on women. I don't consider this identity politics; I consider it a wave of awakening. We as women have been crossing our damn fingers and praying for a long time. I know many good men, and I am grateful for your presence in my life. I am grateful that my experiences of the past have emblazoned my heart to be ferociously feminine and strong. I am grateful that in many directions around me, I see strong, humble, kind, and unconditionally loving men supporting their women. Thank you, I note it, and I am grateful that my sisters are being taken care off. Now, we as women pray for your growth and resilience as you step forward to protect the sacred: we women.
The Faces of #MeToo
This #MeTOO tag is circulating like wildfire. It's both daunting and inspiring seeing the numbers skyrocketing as hundreds of thousands of women speak up, shining light on such a shadowy shame filled subject... As if being sexually harassed or assaulted is something WE wanted and brought upon ourselves. There's still only a handful of my friends and family who know what happened when I was 19. It took me 2 YEARS TO TELL MY OWN MOTHER!!!... When I did she looked at me all teary eyed and said "Why did it take you this long to tell me?" ...I thought my own mother would judge me, think I was dirty or a bad kid for something I had no control over. I've contemplated writing a post about this for months, waiting for the "perfect time" as if this subject even has a perfect time... it doesn't... which is why no one ever speaks about it. Until now. Me too, I was drugged and sexually assaulted. I was at a music festival and whoever drugged me wasn't the one who assaulted me as I'd left to head back to camp, ending up in someone else's tent thinking it was mine. Of 10,000 people there, my friend found the camp while wandering around selling weed. He'd found a piece of my costume and told me they laughed saying a girl stumbled into one of the tents at their camp, obviously leaving out the finer details. Police were involved, no DNA was found, no one was charged... I bet that happens a lot. THIS HAPPENS A LOT. I have too many amazing friends who've told me they were assaulted while travelling or out on the town, a few who were molested as children... CHILDREN... One even said "well shit happens" as if it's okay to have this happen multiple times... this isn't okay. This. Is. Not. Okay. .........IT IS OKAY to shine light on this subject that steals innocence and shames #women around the globe. The more women who speak up, the more support there is for those who haven't told anyone, yet. No more secrecy ladies. You are still whole, pure, beautiful, and radiant regardless of what life has handed you.âď¸ - And perhaps the men involved in these situations can fess up to THEIR actions, instead of slipping through the cracks. #speakup#sisterhood
Me too. When I was 4. When I was 16. When I was 17. When I was 18. And all of the countless "little" harassments every year since I turned 13. Even one time is too many. . I don't know how far-reaching the "Me too" meme is, but it inundated my facebook feed yesterday. It was at once heartbreaking and beautiful. Beautiful to see women standing up and speaking up, coming together as sisters. Heartbreaking to see so many Me Too's. And I'm one of them. I've wanted to open up about my trauma experiences for a while, but was so afraid and unsure of how to do it. I'm grateful for this push. Because I know there are so many women out there with their own trauma, and so many feel alone. If you're one of them, know that I'm with you. If you need to talk, I'm here. If you need to cry, I'm here. I don't have answers, but I have love. â¤đđđđđ¤ . If the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted and feel safe to do so wrote "Me too." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. . (#tykinschallenge Day 17: Reptile. Because the men who do this to women are snakes.)
#metoo â˘ The volume is astounding but not surprising. Nothing is off limits to the sexual harassment/assault culture. No matter what you wear or where you work, youâre always surrounded by it. Depending on your field or hobby of choice, you may feel the pervasiveness even more. -When it comes to my experience, I have almost become numb. I am in a male dominated field and love running (shouldnât do it at night, alone, etc) and playing golf (male dominated). That is why I didnât immediately post anything. And that is what made me realize just how bad it really is. I have run in extreme heat and if I run with only a sports bra, which is almost never, because the stares and whistles and head turns are deafening. Anytime I hit a tee shot where other groups can watch, I feel the stares on my back from the moment I get out of the cart. I have said âoh, itâs no big dealâ all too often. But it is. It illustrates the problem. -I was once caught in a spontaneous Texas thunderstorm walking to my internship. Fate would have it I was in a white oxford shirt and had no umbrella. Once I got into work, I was mortified, soaking wet, cold, and embarrassed. As I entered, I walked in, an âold Texanâ professional engineer came in. He had a covered garage spot and remembered his umbrella and wasnât wearing white. He stared at me up and down, for much too long. Finally he asked âare you gonna take care of that?â. I couldâve melted into a puddle of embarrassment. I felt that fear until he retired. I cried as I dried my shirt in the Dyson hand drier. -One night, I was driving home from downtown LA around 10pm. I saw a guy running, alone, with headphones in, without a care in the world. I couldnât imagine running that late, alone, and at night in a downtown setting...or really anywhere. But wouldnât it be great if I could? If instead of saying âyou shouldnât be out by yourselfâ we started saying âhe shouldnât have attacked, followed, intimidated, etc. herâ instead? -It does not matter the circumstances, the field you work in, the hobbies you have, or the culture youâre âused to.â Sexual harassment or assault is NEVER okay. -To all the other #metooâs, I believe you. Letâs fight together
*Trigger Warning: this post will be talking about victim blaming in this society &sexual assault* ââ With the #metoo movement I would like to speak out and share some information that is commonly misspoken as âadviceâ. âďż˝âďż˝âďż˝â I am a survivor of sexual assault and now I am a certified Sexual Assault Counselor in the state of California. As a SAC, I advocate and support survivors during their forensic exams and interviews. I also work on a Rape Crisis Hotline. So in my rant, I want you to keep in mind that this is from the point of view as a survivor and as an advocate for Survivors. I see and hear so many people teach women, teens, and little girls âhow not to get rapedâ, when that is really a form of victim blaming and little boys who hear this, being told to there sisters/cousins, instills the idea that this happens only to a girl. When thatâs far from the truth. Telling a person that they could get raped because they are wearing a certain type of clothing, their hair is too long, were alone when they should have been in a group, they took their eyes off their drink for a split second, or god forbid that they had to walk home alone at night... it is completely ridiculous & SHOULD NOT MATTER! Here are some facts: 1) If someone wants to rape you they are going to do it. It has nothing to do with what the victim/survivor did or didnât do. 2) Society glamorizes the idea of someone fighting back when they are getting attacked. When itâs very common for people to freeze and that is decided in the Autonomic Nervous System. 3) In most cases of sexual assault, the perpetrator is someone you knew and trusted. Family member, friend, coworker, etc. 4) People donât disclose/report or take years to disclose because this is something that is so traumatic. The idea of other people knowing and having to repeat/relive what happened to you by telling your story is so scary when you can barely even get through the day yourself. We should be teaching men/boys/women/girls to not rape and what consent is. We live in a rape culture that is blurring out the boundaries & is glamorizing control, domination, ridiculous gender roles, and sex. This has to be addressed & changed.