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Mom comes out to her 7-year-old as a sexual assault survivor. The discomfort was worth it.

Sometimes speaking our truth can help history from repeating itself.

sa, sexual assault
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Almost all the important conversations are uncomfortable

Sarah Shanley Hope's story is frighteningly common.

As a kid, she went over to her neighbor's house one day to play with her best friend. While there, her friend's older brother sexually assaulted both of them.

Hope was only 6 years old.


Being so young, she didn't know how to verbalize what happened or how to process it. She carried the pain with her for years, until she had daughters of her own.

two women hugging each otherPhoto by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

She told her own girls from the beginning, "You're in charge of your body." But at times, the message seemed to ring hollow.

Mostly, Hope recalls her older daughter, now 8, rolling her eyes, having heard the refrain so many times before: "There goes mom being overprotective, again."

But one day Hope got a call from school. A boy in the class had been caught inappropriately touching some of the girls. Her own daughter had even had a run-in with him.

"He kept hanging on me even after I said 'stop'! It was so annoying," Hope recalls her daughter saying.

Hope decided that, finally, it was time to tell her daughter her own story — her own "Me Too" moment.

"I finally said, honey, the reason I'm paying such close attention to this is that mommy had an experience when I was a kid, where someone did something to my body that wasn't OK."

"I don’t want you to feel badly inside like I did," she continued, according to her impassioned post on Medium. "I want you to know that we can always talk about the hard and confusing stuff.”

An uncomfortable but, sadly, necessary conversation. You can watch what happens next in the video below:

Why She Told Her 7-Year-Old Daughter About Her Own MeToo Story?

7 might seem like a very young age to tackle such a weighty conversation. But it might be necessary even earlier than that.

The National Center for Victims of Crime estimates that 20% of women (and 5-10% of men) recall an incident of sexual abuse as a child, with kids between 7 and 13 being the most vulnerable.

Those are horrifying statistics for any parent, so horrifying that we might wish we could be with our kids every second of the day to protect them from the horrors of the world. But we can't.

The best we can do is make sure they are aware of the danger and armed with knowledge about what to do if they need help. That includes direct talks — like the ones Hope has had with her kids — and modeling proper boundaries in our own lives.

In Hope's case, sharing her story has triggered a wave of positive change in her own community. She says several of her parent friends have called her recently for advice about how to have these conversations with their kids of all ages. And that's definitely something we need more of.

"We can’t undo the harm," Hope writes. "What we can do is choose discomfort over hiding from the pain — or worse, repeating it."


This story originally appeared on 01.26.18

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

Health

Teenager creates eye-opening videos that shatter stereotypes surrounding autism and girls

"I get that a lot, that because I'm good-looking, nothing can be wrong with me — so I want to show that mental illness is diverse."

via paigelayle / Instagram

The most recent data shows that about one in 68 children in the U.S. are affected by autism and boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is marked by communication and social difficulties, sensory processing issues, and inflexible patterns of behavior. Almost everything that researchers have learned about the disorder is based on data derived from studies of boys.

However, researchers are starting to learn that ASD manifests differently in girls. This has led many girls to be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

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Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.
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Florida teacher Yolanda Turner engaged 8th grade students in a dance-off.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Teachers deserve all the kudos, high fives, raises, accolades, prizes and thanks for everything they do. Even if they just stuck to academics alone, they'd be worth far more than they get, but so many teachers go above and beyond to teach the whole child, from balancing equations to building character qualities.

One way dedicated educators do that is by developing relationships and building rapport with their students. And one surefire way to build rapport is to dance with them.

A viral video shared by an assistant principal at Sumner High School & Academy in Riverview, Florida shows a group of students gathered around one student as he challenges a teacher to a dance-off.

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@lacie_kraatz/TikTok

Lacie films as the mysterious man visibly gets closer.

It’s no secret that even the most seemingly safe of public places can instantly turn dangerous for a woman. Is it fair? No. But is it common? Absolutely, to the point where more and more women are documenting moments of being stalked or harassed as a grim reminder to be aware of one’s surroundings.

Lacie (@lacie_kraatz) is one of those women. On April 11th, she was out on a run when she noticed a man in front of her displaying suspicious behavior. Things got especially dicey when the man somehow got behind her. That’s when she pulled out her phone and started filming—partially to prove that it wasn’t just her imagination, and also out of fear for her safety.

“Hello. I’m just making this video so that women are a little more aware of them,” she begins in the video. “See this gentleman behind me? Yeah, this is what this video’s about.”

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Stop what you're doing. There's a dog that looks just like Snoopy.

Soooo, there's this dog and I'm pretty sure it's the actual Snoopy come to life. Seriously all the dog needs is a red dog house out back and a little yellow bird that follows it around. If you think it can't be true, then you're going to have to fight the entire internet about it because nobody can get enough of how much this sweet dog looks like the iconic cartoon character.

Snoopy is Charlie Brown's pet from the comic strip "Peanuts" that eventually spawned several movies and cartoon series, and Bayley is a dead ringer for the black and white animated pup. Since we live in a digital age, people across the country have been falling all over themselves to get to the pooch's Instagram account and admire her cartoonish mug.

Bayley is a 1-year-old mini sheepadoodle, which is a cross between a miniature poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. Her sweet face is something you have to see to believe and even then you may question if she's real.

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