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Ashley Judd speaks at World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Women & Girls

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So Ashley I would love you to come and speak to the audience. Namaste. Oh good, you sound like you're from the South of the United States. Because when we say "Good morning," "Good afternoon" everybody says back Exactly, from all over the world, right? Rachel, what time is it for you? That's the answer probably for many people in the room, we don't even know. So thank you all so much for making the effort to be here, and I'm just as delighted as I could possibly be to be in perhaps one of the most powerful rooms in which I think I've ever found myself. And I've spoken to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and in front of the Senate of foreign relations, committee of the United States Congress, and I believe that this is indeed the most powerful room in which I have ever stood, because the folks in here know that we should put the Last Girl first. And, Ruchira was talking about who is the Last Girl talking about different intersections of gender and poverty and location and ethnicity and, you know, in my family it was a Judd who was the Last Girl And that was me. And one of the things that's always important to me to stay right at the outset, is that although I was the Last Girl in my family I also was a very loved girl. I know that my parents adored me then and are so proud of me now. But I also remember being this very important word that was used, and Ruchira emphasized, and it was very specific and intentional: vulnerable. I remember being so vulnerable and needy and dependent and having the sense that that made me fundamentally wrong because there were adult men who took sexual advantage of me and that vulnerability and exploited it. I was molested at the first time I can remember, because I probably have a very important, traumatic amnesia, and therefore don't remember other instances. But my brain imaging, which I had the opportunity to do a lot, and other indicators, like my non-dominant hand's art when I'm in regression indicate that I may even have had pre-verbal sexual abuse. But the first one I remember, I was seven. I was also incested by a relative's long-term husband and the way I was brought up, the definition in my social justice work as an empowered adult of incest, is it doesn't have to be a biological relative but it was someone who married into the family, and that lasted the whole summer and I was also raped twice, as a 14 year old. And there were other sexual assaults, and I'm going to give you an example of traumatic amnesia, because one of the most important things the first thing I had to do was believe myself, and I had to learn to believe myself even if it was something I couldn't remember. I had to learn to trust my body, and I had to learn to trust the power of my emotional responsiveness to situations and to people. And once I began to trust myself, I could then, with more confidence, say to another girl or woman, "I believe you." So recently, I was doing some grief work with my mom because as I mentioned, my mom and I love each other, right? Just because I was abused and neglected and abandoned and lived in different states without a grownup at least 3 different times that I can remember, it doesn't mean I wasn't loved So we were doing some grief work together recently, and I was eating a sandwich for our lunch break and all of a sudden she says, "Oh do you remember that time you were sexually assaulted?" And she named a name of a store that we frequented when I was between the ages of 11 and 14. And I froze. My whole body started to tingle. And she said, "You had on your cheerleading uniform." And I said, "The green and gold one?" No, I said, "The maroon one?" And she said, "No, the green and gold." And my whole body started to tingle again. And I knew that I had a choice in that moment. I could start to talk about it, which would turn the sensory, the extemporaneous expression of the grief and the trauma, off. Or I can be really brave. And it's so hard in that moment y'all Most of you have done this kind of work and so I have a hunch you understand what I mean. I put my feet on the floor and I began to breathe. Because it is tough, to be in one's own body when one is starting to re-experience the trauma, which is really an invitation to pass through that in order to empower a newly, freshly, rewired brain chemistry. So because I was fortunately in this space where we were doing grief work

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Duration: 5 minutes and 1 second
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Language: English
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Posted by: us_apneaap on Jul 9, 2019

Ashley Judd is a feminist social justice humanitarian. She has been working internationally, with NGO's, Government, and supranational bodies since 2004. Presently,she serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, Global Ambassador for Population Services International, and also for Polaris Project. She serves on the Advisory Boards of International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap,and Demand Abolition. She is Chairperson of the Women's Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom

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