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Updated: Oct 14, 2019

Jen's Story

I am going to call her "Jen". In a valiant plea, Jen wanted to lend her name, her voice and her soul to my rinky dink idea. After dusting off my legal 'hat' I concluded it is Jen's best interest is to remain anonymous. I know her perpetrator is angry and I did not want to provoke further altercations. However, the following snapshots are all genuine . They are hers. This is what happened behind closed doors. #wingsprogram

1:3 women are victims of domestic abuse. (I am not excluding the guys-statistics point out about 15% of men are victims of domestic abuse). This means that 5 million innocent children, see with their very own innocent eyes-the people they love and trust most in their world beating the crap out of each other. And the cycle continues.

The last time Jen got the crap beaten out of her was around the holidays of 2018. I answered the phone to guttural cries. It was the first time I knew of the abuse. I always knew Jen as a positive girl, a fantastic mom and a loyal wife. For the past decade, I always sensed there was a cloud of dissolution hovering around her marital union. I rationalized it as typical struggles. After years of marriage, there are the peaks and valleys. I know this from first hand experience. It takes a lot of effort to keep the sparkle in a marriage.

My brain reaches into it's farthest depths, trying to recall any signs that my friend was in distress. I never saw bruises, blood or evidence of confrontation. Her husband was a known entity in my life for years. Yes, he was insecure and lacked immaculate hygiene-but a wife beater he was not.

Jen, too, didn't even recognize the severity of the abuse and likened it a dark part of her marriage. This is a fantastic tool we as women have mastered--the ability to justify and compartmentalize. ( Compartmentalize the abuse--it is not all the time-he said he was sorry--flowers, dinner....)

Jen lived in suburbia. Jen had friends. Jen socialized. Jen parented. Everything seemed normal. Was it normal for Jen to be called a "piece of sh*t"? Was it normal to be told that if she ever left no one would ever want to f*ck her?". Was it normal for her spouse to keep her up at night with P.O.W. type tactics?

This is how her husband did it (Vietnam Style)-- deprive her of sleep. He would stare at her all night and threaten to kill her. Again, she compartmentalized (her kids deserve a family). Don't we all dream of a happily ever after? So she was beaten again. Mocked another time. She was denied funds -- by controlling her finances-this limited her ability to navigate a daily routine.


I kick myself. I feel, at my true essence, I am a decent friend. I remember birthdays, I engage in mindful conversations. I try to feed my friendships. And still I did not know. I did notice, however, that I heard less and less from Jen over the years. We had a typical routine of chatting about once a week--and then the pattern changed. Jen had become peculiarly unavailable. Her husband began isolating her. Her husband's vengeful rants began to seep into her pores. She actually started to believe that no one liked her and that she would be nothing without him. So she was silent. Victims often become eerily silent. This is because shame is a good motivator to keep secrets like this hidden and locked behind closed doors.


81% of women and 35% of men who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impact such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.

4% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the last 12 months.

Only 1 out of 3 people who are injured during a domestic violence incident will ever receive medical care for their injuries.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to police.

Men who are victimized are substantially less likely than women to report their situation to police.

SHE FINALLY LEFT- Jen was coming home from work one afternoon and there was a pit in her stomach. Things have not been good and her husband. He was more pissed off today than he usually was. He was waiting for her outside when she pulled her car into the driveway. Jen was met with vulgarity and a fist. He wrapped his hands around her neck and she couldn't breathe. She felt that she was going to pass out. However, she mustered a scream that her neighbors responded. And the police were called. Husband thought he was smart and quickly ran inside the home and scratched his face. The police arrived to a chaotic scene. Nothing was done. The police told Jen that if she pressed charges, Child Protective Services would be called and the kids would be taken away. So today, the perpetrator, the man she once loved, remains free of any consequences. I am calling, no begging you, my dearest readers, friends and community to help make a small difference. The week of Mother's Day, if you post a picture on your Facebook page (or any social media page) and use the hashtag #realmecampaign, and tag Wings Program, Julie Drost Lokun or AH Laser Aesthetics., you can join me in my efforts to stop the shame.

Together, we are numbers. As numbers we can blitz the net with our pictures, our testimony, our brotherhood. I hope we can shelter these victims and revitalize their spirit.

I am working with WINGS PROGRAM , a not-for profit group that helps assists domestic abuse victims. They provide safe homes and services for the Chicago land area and beyond. If a woman or man is beaten, they open their doors to the broken families. They provide a sense of normality for the children. They provide shelter, food and support for a human who is at the lowest point in their life.

I promise you "Jen"--these bruises will not be in vain. xo-Jules

Need Help? Or do you know someone who does?

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Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Anoint Yourself, Girl

This is not a drill! This is , in fact your coronation day. Your tiara is polished and your subjects await this anticipated regal appointment. You are the protector of your realm. You are the figurehead of your nation.

This, of course, is an analogy. And I present to you the question--why are you insistent on keeping your diamond encrusted crown tucked away in your closet? You ascended to this role through years of hard fought battles. It is your day to shine. And it is now your duty to pass along the wisdom of your experiences to the sisters in your commonwealth.

As I connect with women every day, I notice a constant in many of their lives. They often are reluctant to let others observe their glory.

All too often though, women play down their competence as well as their accomplishments. Perhaps it’s through modesty, not wanting to be seen to brag, fear of what others will think, or lack of self-belief. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop downplaying your success and instead celebrate it.

Here are a couple reasons why women fear their own success:

  1. Women have been groomed to downplay their successes as it seems boastful.

  2. Women often suffer from low self esteem: The importance of self-esteem cannot be ignored. Self Esteem has profound consequences that affect every aspect of our existence: how we operate in the workplace, how we deal with people, how high we are likely to rise, how much we are likely to achieve.

And in a more personal realm, the level of self-esteem influences our choice of the one with whom we fall in love, how we interact with our partner, children, and friends, and what level of personal happiness we attain.

All too often though, women play down their competence as well as their accomplishments. Perhaps it’s through modesty, not wanting to be seen to brag, fear of what others will think, or lack of self-belief. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop downplaying your success and instead celebrate it. Here are several reasons why women should hold their heads high and own their success.

Successful Women Are Inspirations

Women who succeed can offer inspiration to others. It is part of the human experience that when a person witnesses the greatness of another that motivation will follow. Your path to success story may plant the seed for someone who lacks confidence. You triumphs may trigger another to take risks.

Celebrating your victories is not boastful- as the ripple effect can touch lives in ways you may never fully comprehend. By curating your road to success into a relatable story is a tangible tool in teaching others how to better their lives. Become a mentor. Give Back. Wear your Crown.

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Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Your voice is powerful. Speak Up.

We are the master of all trades. Wearer of all hats. We have --in thanks to our feminist fore-mothers broken down barriers that once were only whispered about in secret. 2019 presents us with powerful voices.

We are recognized as the givers of life, partners, lovers, executives, activists, moral compasses, heart-breakers, back bones of the familial structure, lovers of Lululemon--(you get where I am going--we are everything). The job description for the female human is unquantifiable-- and impossible to articulate, because we are required to bend, twist and improvise in each moment of each day.

So I ponder --why do I wake every morning, with NO flipping idea what the world will expect of me?

Let's unpack this loaded question.

Looking back a generation or two ago- female masses were not confronted with the confusing role of "womanhood" as we see it in the 21st century. Grandma knew her role. Grandma had her duties specifically curated by the mores of her time. She was well groomed, donning crisply ironed frocks from the Sears & Roebuck catalog and she never, ever fell for the seduction of a comfortable yoga pant. Her role was specific- and easy to detail on paper:

She was a mother, wife, homemaker and mixologist for her husband when he required his shaken-not stirred martini after his hard day at the office. Grandma was the purveyor of indulgent casseroles, neatly hemmed pinafores and a skillful hand at Bridge. She knew exactly how she would meet each day and did it with the confidence that her neighbors enjoyed the same, homogenous lifestyle.

The emergence of the female battle cry in the 60s and 70s was quite an uncomfortable time for members of grandma's circle. Ladies who were like my grandmother quickly became outdated and irrelevant. As opportunity opened for fresher , more progressive gals - the tenure of the coiffed housewife faded into 50's oblivion. The housewife was packaged and revisited with a "Leave it to Beaver" lens.

In the matter of a few years, and several hard-fought Supreme Court rulings, womanhood was permanently altered. There was no going back. A collective bra was burned and set us free.

Can I get an "AMEN"?

Finally, woman had the ability to make personal decisions regarding the regulation of their anatomy. We were gifted , from male dominated legislators the choice to manage our fertility. This brilliant explosion of feminist led change launched housewives into unimaginable atmospheric success.

While the ladies (and gents) of the 60s/70s propped the door open -- the decades to follow persevered in equalizing the sexes. We became-- more than just our XY Chromosomes. A generation of Ms. Gloria Steinem devotees began living a feminist manifesto. This manifesto liberated us to do whatever the heck we wanted.

And this is where it got a little confusing.

Many of us questioned our place in this new wide world. We questioned the very essence of who we were. Suddenly, we as grade schoolers- we were given the same athletic opportunities as the boys. Girls were mentored in science and math. And alas, home economics courses were not the only field of study for the gentler sex.

Let's give accolades to our moms who had to navigate --and, ultimately guide a new generation of go-getting girls. Moms tried hard to teach their daughters to have "it" all. Problem was---most of our moms had no frame of reference as to how to teach their daughters, because no one taught them.

I imagine (mind you, I have a colorful imagination) --that emancipation looked like ladies tearing of f their kitchen aprons and jumping into finely tailored power suits- with the agility of an Olympic athlete . This equalizing garment, the Pantsuit --gave us the bravado to compete like a man! @pantsuitnation #pantsuitnation.

However, I wish this imagined emancipation unfolded in reality with such ease. Lady-kind had a buffet of choices- and this blessing led yet to another challenge. Do we need to adapt masculine like ideologies to show we have fully evolved into our new feminist role? Does the lady legacy that we leave to our daughters omit femininity?

I find this juxtaposition fascinating. While we are told that we should strive for dominance professionally, we are equally assailed with messages that bigger breasts and poutier lips dictate our self worth.

This is when you have to start digging. Unearth the truth of who you are at your very core. What are your core values and are you representing these values with integrity. And when you make decisions to veer from the course of who you really, truly are that is when you may find at a stumbling block.

Do you find yourself living in harmony with your values?

Life will have so much more meaning when you live in accordance with your value system. '

Take time and understand your core beliefs and values-- ASK QUESTIONS:

  • Who inspires you?

  • Am I a scholar?

  • Am I a humanitarian?

  • Am I Kim Kardashian?

  • Where do you find you make the most impact in your life?

  • Am I a badass homemaker with a side hustle?

  • What rules do you impose but are hard for you to follow?

  • At what time are you at your best?

  • Are there qualities in others you detest?

Once you have a deep understanding of who you are at a cellular level--your choices should fall into alignment with your core truths. And--as a noted side effect--your relationships will flourish.

This prose should not be read as an anti-feminist rant. It is the quite the opposite. I was born in an era where I have the freedom to chose a birth plan, a career path and my sexual orientation. Hell-- I can be a man if I want to be.

Truth Be Told

I made incorrect decisions based on this confusion. I knew I wanted to make an big impact. I wanted to compete on a level men had done in my family for generations. Yet, in my core, I was clearly feminine and wanted to be a mom, a wife and create a home. I enjoy a drawer stocked with beauty products and have a slight addiction to pink.

My decision to go to law school was profound. I felt a connection with my father and grandfathers that made me so proud of myself. And when I walked across the stage at my law school commencement I felt powerful. Yet- my heart was not fully vested. This career that would take 80 hours of my week and leave my sons at home without me.--their momma. Lawyering was not the real me. #realmegirls.

This was hard for me to admit to myself. I was groomed to be the next legal eagle in my family. What I KNOW is that while I was trying to be a bad ass boy-like executive I ignored my truth-- I love being a woman. I found contentment in the role of mother and wife. *Albeit, a driven and educated mom/wife.

Domestic goddess, I am not.

But I try. And I found passion on earth is to help other humans and give a voice to those who are intended to rise. It is a fine dance between accessing my female spirit and understanding my masculine pursuits.

I am grateful for those bridge-playing , martini-making grandmothers who organized whispers of discontentment. They rocked it - in their own uncomplicated feminine style.

And I am equally grateful for the bra-burning bohemian sisters that allowed me to have a choice! The lady legacy I chose to leave is to celebrate with unabashed excitement the accomplishments of Boss Ladies , Momma Warriors and all the beautiful girls in between. YOU can be who you are and YOU DO NOT HAVE TO defend your choices. Just make the right one.

Leave a Lady Legacy you are proud of.

#realmecampaign #realmegirls #HRC #girlpower

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