This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : gems

Snaps: Speaking at GEMS and Summer 2011 continues to rock

I realize I didn’t end up blogging on The Lair everyday this week. Oh well. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

AM shows me Park Slope's gang sign: Baby Mafia
AM shows me Park Slope’s gang sign: Baby Mafia

crystal and my boobs chillin' at Washington Square Park
took my bewbies to Washington Square park and met up with Crystal

ash is a gamer
watching Ash play videogames

where does she get such wonderful toys?
showing off my Joker chucks

But the best part of this week was speaking at GEMS, where I was able to share my story with young women looking for mentors, as well as with many other women in media who are now a part of my network.

GEMS speaker experience today was great. I love inspiring young women

Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been commercially sexually exploited as a teenager.

GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change.

Many thanks once again to Alexandra Roxo, who invited me to participate and made a great film called “Mary Marie” that I saw at NEWFEST this year.

A guide for guys: understanding and preventing rape, plus my own story

This post in no way implies that men and boys of all backgrounds cannot be raped. Sexual abuse and exploitation happens to people of all genders (female, male, trans, genderqueer, etc.), all over the world. However, recent news and some insensitive comments I’ve heard on the subway over the last few weeks inspired me to create this post.

One blog post by Daniela Capistrano isn’t going to educate men the world over about rape, but I’m hoping this may inspire loving boyfriends to share their knowledge with their bros and encourage their girlfriends to support the women in their lives through sharing knowledge a well.

Loving women means protecting them from being violated (but not using that as an excuse to see them as weak) and empowering them to protect themselves. Here are some ways to make a difference today/this week/RIGHT NOW. <3 :) Be a catalyst for knowledge.

Latest News
Hey male homies of The Lair! Here are some recent topics you can discuss at work and with your friends. Just sharing knowledge is a powerful way to support change and to show your girlfriend that you care about gender equality & preventing sexual exploitation.

1. David Shuster calls on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to immediately sign legislation that ensures rape victims don’t get billed for their own rape kits.

The bill has been sitting on Christie’s desk for nearly ten weeks.

The bill is called S972 and was co-sponsored by Sen. Diane Allen, R-7th of Edgewater Park with Sen. James Beach, D-6th of Voorhees. If it passes, health care providers will be barred by the state from directly billing sexual assault victims for forensic evidence collection. It should eliminate one difficult aspect of what has to be an extremely painful process for rape victims. – via phillyBurbs.com

2. Governor Rick Perry & HPV vaccines for girls

In 2007, Governor Rick Perry of Texas signed an executive order requiring that all girls receive the HPV vaccine in sixth grade, unless parents decided to opt-out. It was seen as a controversial decision at the time because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and the vaccine acknowledged that adolescent girls are sexually active. However, some strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer, so many saw Perry’s decree as a net positive. Over the past several years, Perry has publicly stated he is proud of the decision and “I did what was right from my perspective.”

This weekend, however, Perry changed his tune about the HPV vaccine for girls. Could it be because he announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination this weekend as well? Nahhh, that couldn’t be it. – via TheFrisky

Often when an act of rape occurs, the rapist doesn’t use protection. HPV vaccines for adolescent girls would at least help prevent that particular STD from being an issue in their life later on, regardless of how they might come into contact with HPV. Perry needs to be hold accountable for backing down.

3. “The Help” is a movie that has inspired many domestic workers to disclose sexual harassment/abuse in the workplace.

In May, hotel maid and West African immigrant Nafissatou Diallo brought charges against former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, claiming he sexually assaulted her as she was cleaning his luxury suite at a hotel in New York. – via Houston Chronicle

Interesting Facts
We can stop rape by educating ourselves and the next generation about gender equality. If all men saw all women as family, friends, and equals — and respected themselves enough to show respect to others — then rape would be something we could look back on as an archaic sign of a dismal past. This won’t happen overnight, but there are steps you can take now to show the women in your lives that you care.

If you’re wondering why some women are bitchy, don’t trust men, or have a lot of anger issues, consider that sexual abuse and/or rape may be a part of their past and that abuse doesn’t just affect the victim — it affects everyone they come into contact with, in one way or another.

Here are some more facts to consider, provided by RAINN:

1. Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S is sexually assaulted

2. 60% of assaults are not reported to police

3. Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim

Personal Story
I am going to briefly share something about me that I’ve never discussed in a public forum. I have kept silent because I didn’t want it to define who I am, but lately things in the news have been really getting to me and I feel like possibly sharing my story might help the people in my life to see how important it is to educate their daughters, themselves, and their friends about how to prevent rape and support legislation that combats sexual exploitation and assault.

I have put it after the jump just in case this might be triggering for you. (more…)