consent education | journalism | exposing abuse at Fenwick
My career began with social justice focused journalism and
My senior project at Santa Clara University was a documentary
exposing sexual assault on campus, "The Morning After". I graduated in
2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Italian Studies.
After graduating, I moved to Rome, Italy where I worked as an ESL teacher in a school and at the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center for one year.
Next, I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where I worked in a school and Casa Abba, a refuge center for Central American migrants making the dangerous journey north. During this time, I appeared in and had a very small role in the production of a powerful documentary exposing the voices behind the headlines "The Migrant Crisis: Where Can We Live in Peace?"
Due to the 2020 Covid-19 shutdowns, I returned to Chicago to continue teaching ESL to refugees with Exodus World Service and get my Master of Science in Journalism from the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. I graduated in 2021 with a 3.95 GPA.
My master's project is a documentary about food insecurity on the West Side of Chicago. "Feed 'Em All" won the Virginia Dares Cinematic Award for Decolonizing and Re-indigenizing Media and was an official selection in the Oregon Documentary Film Festival, the Female Feedback Film Festival, and Austin Eats.
After graduating from Medill, I began working for the One Earth Film Festival where I continue to work today.
And most importantly. . .
I exposed sexual abuse at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois. Through my Youtube videos and community organizing, I got a sexual predator fired from the school.
Throughout the impressive list of achievements mentioned above, I was a victim of sexual violence for over ten years. I battled addiction, eating disorders, and PTSD as a result of abuse starting at age 13 and continuing into adulthood. Raised in the Catholic school system, I did not understand consent or what constitutes sexual abuse. I found myself trapped in an abusive cycle for over ten years.
I was so disempowered as a child and young adult that I didn't have the words to communicate the abuse. I had no understanding of my bodily autonomy or legal rights. I survived a suicide attempt at age 14 because I could not articulate my experiences and was bound by pervasive religious sexual shame.
In 2021, I had a professional partnership with "Injustice Watch" that required me to read criminal complaints against personnel in Chicago Public Schools. This was the first time I was confronted with the laws around the sexual misconduct of minors in schools, and I related to the stories of abuse of minors behind redacted names on the court documents. After a painful year of accepting what had been happening to me, I sought both legal justice and professional help, and I'm proud to say I have been in recovery and 100% sober for over two years. As I work on healing myself, I'm also healing my community.
I share these very personal details because my story is not uncommon, and I wholeheartedly believe that comprehensive sexuality education with a focus on consent is life-saving. I believe it is sexual violence prevention, suicide prevention, eating disorder prevention, domestic violence prevention, and addiction prevention. We have the opportunity to equip the next generation with life-saving tools, and we can do it in a fun and empowering way!