In A world with Octobers

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ―  a famous quote from Anne of Green Gables. It’s a sentiment I share – especially living in what might be the undisputed capital of autumn. Vermont.

As beautiful as it is, October can also be a difficult month around here. It’s national observances include:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Bullying Prevention Month
  • National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Pregnancy and Infant loss Awareness month

Plus October 10th is both National Mental Health Day and my father’s birthday who was lost to suicide.

But truth is I, and most XIZOZU women don’t need a day or month to be made aware of these experiences – they are, or have been, these experiences. They have personal relationships with these and many other of life’s most gripping aspects. And we address, support and heal from them all year long.

So we use these decreed month-long banner-waving observances to celebrate the current triumphs of our tribe.

And there is a lot to celebrate! Here are just a few recent member triumphs (used anonymously, but still with permission):

  • one women left an abusive, soul-crushing nine year relationship,
  • another marked 8 years cancer free just yesterday!,
  • another made amends to a family member after years of what she described as alcohol-fueled emotional abuse,
  • another brought her sexual assault to the surface and shared it with her mother for the first time.

So yeah, October can be a mother of a month, but also a triumphant one!

I’ve also read the autumn is nature’s way of showing us how beautiful letting go can be. So keep rocking it ladies.

We are all here supporting and rooting for you! Stay on your path, no matter how difficult, and there will always be someone here keeping watch for you when you need to rest.

What Gets Remembered. Forever.

I’m not surprised that Christine Blasey Ford can’t remember how she got home or other seemingly simple details after being attacked in an upstairs bedroom as a teenager in the early 1980s.

Thirty-six years ago I was sexually assaulted while walking (with crutches) from a parking lot to a bar in Brookfield, Ct. It was a familiar bar that I’d been to several times over a couple of years. Ask me the name of the bar. I can’t tell you. I don’t remember the dance floor, or where the restrooms were.  I’ve tried but don’t remember any of those things.

But ask me about the sickening smirk on the face of my assaulter; the smell of smoke in his long dark wavy hair. Ask me about his grip on my neck then his hand pressed over my mouth. The coarse brick wall behind my head. The Cheap Trick song blasting from inside the building.  His pants unzipped. The punch to my face once he regained his stance after stumbling backward. I can tell you all about those.

I was not penetrated,

Physically.

Christine Blasey Ford. Thank you. Your courage lifts us all.

M. from Florida

Customers Share:

Trigger warning: Some of our customers have experienced unfathomable situations. Please be aware that certain stories might be upsetting and difficult to read.

I was 14 when my mother was diagnosed with end stage liver disease and we became aware that she needed a liver transplant to survive . Fortunately with a few bumps and bruises she received her transplant within a year and a half but during that time , I became ill and started my journey with mental illness.

During my freshman year of college, I was raped and then I ended up in an abusive relationship that lasted three years and took strategic planning to leave and that was 15 years ago. 

Because of my history, I’ve now developed PTSD, which I’m currently trying to heal from along with managing the rest of my medical conditions: depression, anxiety, panic attacks , ADD and chronic insomnia. But I keep on trucking.

I’ve learned even when you think you can’t, you can.

M. from Florida
“XIZOZU is being able to share my experiences with others but without having to reveal it to everyone.”

Resources that M. would like to share with you:

U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation

The Younique Foundation’s Haven Retreat for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse


How about you? What makes you indestructible? Tell us here.

Eva in Seattle

Customers Share:

Trigger warning: Some of our customers have experienced unfathomable situations. Please be aware that certain stories might be upsetting and difficult to read.

The worst part was feeling like it was my fault. Even the questions from my family made me feel like somehow I asked for my brother’s friend to rape me. It’s taken all of the past eleven years to let go of the guilt. My XIZOZU is how I give myself a hug and say f*ck you to people who want to blame me.

Eva in Seattle


How about you? What makes you indestructible? Tell us here.

J. in Ohio

Customers Share:

Trigger warning: Some of our customers have experienced unfathomable situations. Please be aware that certain stories might be upsetting and difficult to read.

I was sexually assaulted by my boss my first week at the job. I didn’t tell anyone because I really needed that job and I was afraid he would fire me. (I’m a single parent)  That was five years ago and I’ve been promoted three times so that we’re at the same management level now. Thankfully we work in different buildings and I don’t have to seem him. I wear my XIZOZU as my reminder that no one else will ever have power over me and that I control my life.

J. in Ohio


How about you? What makes you indestructible? Tell us here.

In Time for Christmas

Remembrance jewelry lets you honor your loved ones and keep them near to your heart
Stylish, discrete packaging allows customers to not reveal the meaning of their XIZOZU™
XIZOZU™ Medals of Honor empower women to honor their hourney but say it in secret.

If you still want a XIZOZU for yourself or as a gift in time for Christmas, I have  XIZOZU™ in hand that can be shipped standard or express service through December 21st!

Plus you save! Each medal is only $20.00 shipping!

HERE’S THE COMPLETE LIST

Let me know which XIZOZU™ medals you’d like and we can take care of the details via Etsy or Paypal.

Don’t wait though! Once these are gone I won’t be making more until after Christmas!

 

#MeToo

Fighting the Harvey Weinstein approach

Last night I was saddened as woman after woman throughout my online social networks started updating their status to the hashtag #MeToo indicating that they have experienced sexual harassment, abuse or assault. But since the medal honoring the sexual assault survivor is THE most ordered XIZOZU™, I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal that launched this most recent bout of anger and aguish is ripe with celebrity—entertainment gossip fuel—so it gets a lot of attention. We should be, and are, glad for that. What we need to remember though is that the Weinstein approach to career advancement and professional survival is something that goes on in boardrooms in Sacramento, in professors’ offices in Iowa, and in capitol buildings worldwide. It’s everywhere. Perpetrated by nobodies. Hollywood Harvey’s not unique. This type of abuse is systemic, not assigned to any one industry or cultural community but rather to our society as a whole. This is what women face regularly as part of our daily lives. Learning how to circumnavigate harassment and abuse in professional situations is a skill some begin honing as early as elementary school. It’s as fundamental and as frequently used as shoe-tying.

How will I get out of this? Is often a vague almost unformed thought rolling around the back of the female mind as we enter stairways and elevators, crowded clubs and, yes, closed door executive offices. Rather than continuing to sharpen our defensive maneuvering skills, we need to be standing up. Shouting back. Flinging open the doors everywhere it happens.

Stand up! Fight back!

And we are! And we will. Good on us!

But some women won’t. Some forever won’t. Some women, when forced, are going to make the choice that she thinks best protects her family. It’s easy to roar for resistance until you’re that mother. The mother who desperately needs your job for your family to live, and that source of your existence is being threatened by some middle-aged guy who wants you to blow him. Or worse. Imagine being that woman.

I’m not going to, on top of everything else, yell at her. Are you?

#SheToo is who #WeToo are fighting for.

But I’m all for beating the crap out of him.

8 Do’s and Don’ts for Helping a victim of Sexual Assault. 

This list is for her. And friends of her, which means it’s for you.

It’s a list of 8 suggestions for what to do and what not to do when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted—compiled from women who’ve gone through sexual abuse and also trauma experts.

Unique survivor jewelry for sexual assault and rape survivors
XIZOZU™ honoring the survivors of sexual assault.

We Made Our First Donation!

Jes Foord Foundation Supporting Survivors of Sexual AsaultToday is an exciting day! Today we made our first contribution to one of the selected non-profits in our XIZOZU Cares & Shares program!

Jes Foord Foundation in South Africa received R$400 South African Rand (approximately $32 US) to help with their important work in community education and post-trauma support of rape and sexual assault survivors.

Why was Jes Foord Foundation selected as the first recipient? Continue reading “We Made Our First Donation!”

How to Help Sexual Assault Survivors

how to be there for rape and sexual assault victims

What to do to help a victim of sexual assault. And a few things not to.

Listen. Listen. And Listen.

Remain silent and still as you can. Give them time and space to speak. Be ready to sit through their uncomfortable news or equally uncomfortable silence. Don’t press for details or specifics about the incident. Let them tell you what they’re ready to talk about.

When you feel they need you to speak. Say things like “I’m sorry this happened to you. I can’t make this better, but I am here for you. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.” Because you can’t. And when you really don’t know what to say. Say that. “I don’t know what to say.” And just be there.

❌No If Only.

Do not present hypothetical scenarios that might have been different if only something were different. If only you didn’t go to that party…if only you didn’t wear that dress…if only I had been there with you…if only you didn’t work with him alone at night.

At Least Nothing.

Do not even whisper a statement that begins with “At least…” Do not try find a light at the end of their tunnel. There isn’t one, and any that you manufacture will blind you to the pain they’re experiencing. There is no bright side to sexual assault.

Don’t try to solve or fix anything.

For some people the urge to fix a problem is the first and strongest natural response. That approach has no place here. Actions that appear to be moving things forward often make only you, the helper, feel better and put added pressure on the survivor to return to normal. They have a new normal and it’s not one they want. They’re fragile and traumatized. Let the survivor dictate the pace of forward motion. It’s possible that they will remain physically and emotionally stalled, spinning in place, for some time. Go with that.

Don’t judge or blame. 

Asking questions like “What were you doing there so late?” “How much did you have to drink?” or comments like “That dress is pretty provocative,” can cause survivors to blame themselves. Inadvertently insinuating, even in the smallest way, that they somehow brought this upon themselves absolves the perpetrator. Nothing a person does or wears—really NO THING—makes them deserve to be raped.

✨Manage Your Own Anger or Denial.

If you know the assaulter you may find it difficult or even impossible to believe that they’re capable of such hideous behavior. Expressing disbelief makes the survivor think you don’t believe them. Again, it turns the blame onto them. It’s equally important to suppress comments like “I’m going to kill them.” Seeing your anger can make the survivor feel as though they’ve burdened you with undue anguish and it does nothing to help ease their trauma. Confronting the assaulter can put the survivor in additional danger.

✨Ask them what they need.

Don’t try to guess. Everyone who experiences violent trauma will need something different. Let them tell you what that is by asking them “What do you need right now? How can I help you?” If they can’t tell you just assure them that you will stay right there with them and that they don’t need to talk. Be with them for as long as they need you to be. Even if the person is not someone you are close to, they chose to tell you. Don’t abandon them.

✨Honor Their Trust.

Whatever information they share with you should be considered sacred. Keep it to yourself and do not share it with anyone else without expressed permission. You can do that.

Unique survivor jewelry for sexual assault and rape survivors
XIZOZU™ honoring the survivors of sexual assault.

Have you found yourself in the position of being there for someone who was sexually assaulted? What did you experience? We’d love if you would share in the comments below what you thought was the hardest and/or the most rewarding  part for you.


The pronoun “she” was  intentionally not used  to describe the survivor. While the large majority of sexual assaults are against women, men also experience this horrible trauma which comes with its own set of complex reactions and symptoms.