Some fool wrote #metoo on one of the most iconic statues the world has ever seen.
Who we are as women is in question, and I have an opinion about it. As a woman, I have watched the #metoo movement from the distance between my television set and couch, all the while with a gnawing feeling its roots might be unhealthy. As it has unfolded, women have struggled to set a good example for girls on how and when to raise their voices.
Speaking up about assault is paramount to our healing. Telling our story to those who can restore us to health is a powerful choice we make for ourselves, those we love, and others mistreated by abuse.
Little did I know, I would — without intention — subtly begin wearing the “victim” identity as if it were my skin.
Facing this has not been easy; I have warred the victim spirit attached to me as a young woman like a warrior in battle against the most evil forces, and won. Hands down, I know in my soul I am not a victim of my circumstances, nor of my past.
A victim is: a person or thing harmed, lost, or destroyed; a casualty; fatality; prey.
Sounds like me — once — but no longer. Today, I am healed, saved, restored; a victor.
I speak as a victor, on behalf of the virtuosity and value of women.
In the order of creation, neither male nor female is born a victim. Instead, we are created virtuous.
In the face of the latest popularity — even fame — of faking victimhood, it is time we remind ourselves who we are created to be.
We are not victims; we are virtuous.
1: morally excellent
: conforming to a standard of right
2 : reflecting beneficial qualities and power
3 : possessing strength and courage : VALIANT
4 : having commendable qualities and traits : MERIT
5 : with a capacity to act : POTENT
6 : chaste, modest, pure : VALUABLE
The thesaurus says virtuous means: decent, ethical, good, honest, moral, true, upright. Words relating to virtuous are: credible; noble; principled; exemplary; legitimate; law-abiding; upstanding; worthy; guiltless; incorrupt; inoffensive; unobjectionable; angelic.
It is because we are virtuous — that we speak up when victimized. But this speech does not pour out in dramatic lies or exaggerations before many; we speak our truth to wise people in private first.
When you speak the truth in counseling offices, to your trusted friends, and to empowered people robust with integrity (who are unafraid stand up against injustice), you live out your truest identity.
When I wrote Girl Perfect, I courageously faced the truth of the painful parts of my journey and spoke on behalf of women of all ages to find a better truth — we are More than just bodies; we are souls in living color. We are More than our sensuality; we are brilliant, and our sexual side is worth waiting for in marriage.
In speaking out, I never meant to spread a victim mentality — like, “poor us, we are victims of man’s urges” — and let’s spread male-hatred like gangrene. No. I honor men, for it is the man I married who encouraged me to speak, to heal, to write, to stop being a victim and live with my head held high. Further, it is both his father and my father — better yet, united with our mothers — who made the ministry possible in the first place. And it our sons and daughter who I hold in the highest esteem, who will carry our legacy onward.
No man-hater am I.
But there was a time I thought like a victim and behaved like a victim. As a victim, I wrestled in the mud of being undervalued as a human being created in the image of God. I thank God, my husband, and friends for for not letting me live every day of my life this way.
I am not a victim — I am virtuous.
And it is because we are virtuous that we speak with grace and truth about the mistakes we’ve made and forgive the sins of those who damaged us, or simply didn’t realize how priceless we are in the heavenly economy.
To rise to our truest identity is to stop acting like victims and embrace virtuosity as our new skin — which means we possess strength and courage, uprightness and merit, decency, ethics, and credibility.
This is who are meant to be — and every day is a living choice.
Pass it on.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
The honesty that Jennifer uses to tell her story drew our young women in and captured their hearts. She provided them with practical tips that the women use daily to transform their lives. These decisions have caused them to do things differently. We loved her so much, we are having her back!
Chrissie Dunham, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
Jennifer has the ability to make you laugh, cry, and see yourself as one of God’s glorious creations — and that is just her warm up! Once Jennifer starts speaking, all you want to do is listen, learn, laugh, and love her. She takes you outside of yourself while helping you see inside of yourself, and does it in such a way that you feel safe, empowered, and capable to embrace all that the Lord is waiting to give you. She opens your eyes and your heart to hear from God in ways you never have. She connects you with others who share similar life experiences — and shines a bright light on the pathway to forgiveness, love, and blessings. Jennifer is also an amazing mother, compassionate, loving wife, and loyal, dedicated friend. Any opportunity women of any age have to hear from her is a gift and one that will produce fruit in their lives.
Lori Kennedy, Outreach Event Coordinator, Riverview Evangelical Church, Bonsall, CA
I just picked up my girls from school today and they both talked all the way home about Jennifer’s presenation. It was a BIG HIT with Middle School and High School kids (both boys and girls). My high school daughter mentioned that she was glad that for once, a speaker focused on girl’s topics instead of sports or boy topics. She said that Jennifer engaged with the boys and made them answer questions too. My middle school daughter said that everyone in the middle school was paying attention too, and that all her friends were very tuned into what Jen was saying. Both girls said that they thought it was fine that the boys were with the girls during the presentation because the boys “needed to hear this stuff too.”
Mother of two student attendees
Mother of two student attendees of Jennifer's U R MORE school program for boys and girls
If you think Jennifer gets the attention of adults, just see how the teenagers respond! My teenage grandchildren said they wanted to hear more from her and that her book was the only one they’ve ever really enjoyed reading! If teenagers are informed, inspired, and desire more, does anything else need to be said? Jennifer is an unusual voice of truth, integrity, and dignity. She needs to tell the world about her experiences and her victory. She encouraged me, a 70-year-old great grandmother. So, from teens to grans she has something everyone can benefit from.