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Calling Girls This Word May Seem Harmless — But Why Are Boys Never Called It?

For every girl who holds back from raising her hand in class, who stops herself from raising her voice, or who doubts herself and what she's capable of: This video is for you. For the rest of you reading this? Well, if you find yourself using the word in the video to describe young girls, I hope these girls — who are at the age where studies have shown girls' self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys — remind you that words matter. Now, girls: Speak up, take the lead, and let's run this world.

Calling Girls This Word May Seem Harmless — But Why Are Boys Never Called It?
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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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via Cathy Pedrayes / Instagram

Sometimes the most innocuous question can give a predator all the information they need to stalk, harass, or assault a woman. That's why Instagram's "safety queen" Cathy Pedrayes has made a series of videos showing women the best times to lie to a stranger.

We've all been raised to tell the truth, but when it comes to being safe there's no reason we should feel compelled to give out personal information to a random stranger. Pedrayes' videos do a great job at not only showing women when to lie and but how to feel comfortable doing so.

Pedrayes originally started making videos about philosophy and being a "mom friend," but soon fell into making clips centered around safety because of her unique background.

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