2020 Is The Year Self Love Combats Domestic Violence With An Initiative Launch by Zen & Boujee
As if a year consumed by a global pandemic wasn’t already enough, alarming numbers have driven what is now being referred to as the shadow pandemic. A study by the National Domestic Violence Hotline started on March 16, 2020, indicated a surge in intimate partner violence and child abuse that was exacerbated by more frequent proximity. With increased financial strain as a known factor that contributes to violence, the report indicates that 61% of 6,210 contacts said the abuse was physical.
The study also found 24% of the contacts reported financial abuse, which it defines in the report as “when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves.”
Teri Yuan, founder of En(gender)ed Collective, writer, and feminist thought leader, exercises zero tolerance for normalized violence against women and children. “The combination of systemic sexism and misogyny exacerbates existing gender inequities for victims trying to leave. When women are faced with leaving an abusive relationship, the existing wage and wealth gap disparities can often weigh into their decision of whether or not to stay. For far too many, the calculation is an economic one of whether they can afford to leave. If they choose to, they might be confronted with a choice between something bad and something horrible.”
After living a nightmare—one that many people minimize or deny exists—where do you begin picking up the pieces and solving the very social issues that once threatened to consume you? Shia Joyner, medical esthetician, Reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and founder of Zen & Boujee, a plant-based luxury beauty and wellness brand, had to ask herself that very question. Her discovery: Healing might not happen 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 am honoring my value, self-worth, and dedication to upwardly mobile growth. Owning this title has given me power, brought me closure, and has put me on a course to heal others.”
In Nicaragua, she gained needed clarity and restoration through deepening practices that have helped her begin shedding the burden of being in an unsafe environment while reimagining the possibilities of what could be on the other side of the stifling aggression and bullying economic abuse she was the target of for far too long.
The problem for many is that abuse is normalized. “I grew up in an environment where I witnessed domestic violence frequently. The amount of love and gifts received after a ‘blow up’ normalized the abuse—it made me believe that this was how relationships worked. Sometimes you will get hit. You get over it, makeup, and move on. I was never told by any woman in my family that a man should never hit a woman.”
The choice meditation retreat became her safe place and allowed her to confront old conditioning, gain a more profound understanding of how complicated and devastating normalization is, and dream up ways to support other women to gain independence.
Despite the pandemic, Joyner launched her luxury social impact business in early 2020. Soon after, deeply troubled by the alarming increase of reports of domestic violence, she launched the #PledgeBuy1Gift1 Self Love Goddess Box campaign in partnership with NewSafeStart.org with $7.50 of each box supporting domestic violence survivors. A host of other nonprofits have begun to express interest in collaborating.
If maskne, that annoying breakout around the nose and mouth caused by face masks, is cramping your style, you’ll love what’s in the box: a limited custom tote from artist Mekia Machine, Love Is Like Breathing by author April May B., handcrafted Boujee Boost Serum, Boujee Bae Body Scrub, Rose Ayee Balancing Powder Masque, Palo Santo Meditation Stick, Pretty Puss Organic Natural Feminine Spray, and a gold Boujee pleasure necklace bonus gift. Zen & Boujee’s ethically sourced artisan beauty and wellness products—some of which are created to be used topically or taken internally—will soon become accessible by way of the brand’s buy-before-you-try touchless beauty experience.
Joyner remains motivated by accessible wellness and empowering “new now womxn,” the x being a nod to equity and inclusion for all women.
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Having worked alongside a host of niche creatives, Kahshanna Evans is a storyteller with an affinity for social impact. Evans has supported and written impactful stories about culture and the arts, celebrities, influencers & icons, lifestyles, real estate, social impact, tech, trends, and wellness as a contributor to the Huffington Post contributors platform, MeetMindful, Ebby Magazine, and Social Lifestyles Magazine.