As if the year taken by the global pandemic wasn’t enough, alarming numbers have fueled what is now referred to as a shadow pandemic. A study by National Domestic Violence Hotline began on March 16, 2020, showing a spike in intimate partner violence and child abuse that was exacerbated by more frequent intimacy. With increasing financial strain as a factor known to contribute to violence, the report shows that 61% of 6,210 contacts said the abuse was physical.
The study also found 24% of contacts reported financial abuse, defined in the report as “when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which reduces the victim’s capacity to support themselves.”
Teri Yuan, founder En(gender)ed Collective, writer, and feminist thought leader, exercises zero tolerance for normalized violence against women and youngsters. “The combination of systemic sexism and misogyny exacerbates existing gender inequalities for victims trying to leave. When women are faced with leaving an abusive relationship, the wage and wealth gap that exists can often factor into their decision to stay or not. For many people, the calculation is the economics of whether they can afford to leave. If they want, they may be faced with a choice between something bad and something terrible.”
After having a bad dream—a dream that many people belittle or deny—where did you begin to sort out and solve the social problems that once threatened you? Shia Joyner, medical esthetician, Reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and founder Zen & Boujee, a luxury plant-based beauty and wellness brand, had to ask itself that question. The discovery: Healing may not occur overnight.
“It took me 16 years to overcome so many layers of trauma. Acknowledging that I’m a survivor validates my journey. Every time I say, I’m a survivor, I honor my worth, dignity, and dedication to upward-moving growth. Having this title has given me strength, brought me closure, and put me on the way to healing others.”
In Nicaragua, she has found the clarity and healing she needs through deep practice that has helped her begin to shed the burden of being in an unsafe environment while re-imagining what might occur on the other side of the stifling aggression and intimidation of the economic abuse to which she is subject. too long.
The problem for many people is that abuse is normalized. “I grew up in an environment where I often witnessed domestic violence. Lots of love and gifts received after the ‘blast’ normalizes the abuse—leading me to believe that this is how relationships work. Sometimes you will be hit. You work it out, apply makeup, and move on. I was never told by any of the women in my family that men shouldn’t hit women.”
The choice meditation retreat became her safe haven and allowed her to face old conditioning, gain a deeper understanding of how complicated and devastating normalization can be, and dream of ways to support other women in their quest for independence.
Despite the pandemic, Joyner launched her luxury social impact business in early 2020. Soon after, deeply disturbed by increasing reports of domestic violence, she launched the Self Love Goddess Box campaign #PledgeBuy1Gift1 in partnership with NewSafeStart.org for $7 each, 50 boxes supporting domestic violence survivors. A number of other non-profit organizations have begun to express interest in collaborating.
If mask, annoying breakouts around the nose and mouth caused by the face mask, leave your style stiff, you will love what’s in the box: a limited-time special tote bag from artist Mekia Machine, Love Is Like Breathing by author April May B., handmade Boujee Boost Serum, Boujee Bae Body Scrub, Rose Ayee Balancing Powder Masque, Palo Santo Meditation Stick, Pretty Puss Organic Natural Feminine Spray, and a bonus gift of a gold Boujee pleasure necklace. Zen & Boujee’s ethically sourced artisan beauty and wellness products—some of which are made to be used topically or taken internally—will soon be accessible through the brand’s no-fuss buy-before-try beauty experience.
Joyner remains motivated by accessible and empowering health “new now womxn”, x being a nod to equality and inclusion for all women.