Smashing the Notion of Shame

            Women learn to “walk a tight rope” from early stages in life. One of those lessons is intimacy, are you or aren’t you sexually active? Are you or aren’t you a virgin on your wedding night? How many people have you slept with? Have you had an HIV test recently?

            I think it is important to talk about the importance of understanding character, relationships, motivation, choices and good decision-making.

            Kristen Howerton, blogger for the Huffington Post, wrote a piece on, “The Damaging Effects of Shame-Based Sex Education: Lessons From Elizabeth Smart” on 5/7/13. Before the piece was published Ms. Smart, who was kidnapped, raped and held captive for nearly a year, spoke about her experience at a forum on human trafficking at John Hopkins University. “I’ll never forget how I felt lying on the ground. I felt like my soul had been crushed. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. How could anyone ever love me or care for me after this? I felt like life had no more meaning in it. And that was only the beginning.

            After the rape I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.” And that is how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”

            Elizabeth Smart's comments stunned me. My thoughts went back to a similar abuse in my childhood, being punished and told I couldn't wear white at my wedding.    

            I think that kind of conditioning must be why women don’t report rapes on campus, as children and as an adult. 

Camilla Olson

po box 414, palo alto, ca 94302-0414, usa

Camilla Olson designs for the modern professional woman. Camilla Olson worked her way through college at the U of MD Medical School, shifting to industry for 8 years post graduate. Once learning about Wall Street she invested as a VC for 4 years and then made her move to the entrepreneur side of the table, on the founding team of 5 companies, Later she earned her MFA, Fashion & Textile Design from Academy of Art Univ, cum laude. Honors include: designs on the NY Fashion Week Runway; Alumna of the Yr, Best Reinvention, Born: Fairbanks Alaska. B.S. microbiology University of Maryland MBA marketing Fairleigh Dickinson University. Awarded two U.S. patents. MFA fashion & textile design, Academy of Art University