Episode 20: Consent and Boundaries: Equipping Children with the Tools to Prevent Sexual Abuse
Episode 20: Consent and Boundaries: Equipping Children with the Tools to Prevent Sexual Abuse
Tune in for a candid conversation with consent educator and sexual literacy advocate, Rosalia Rivera. Rosalia dedicates her life to supporting sexual trauma survivors on educating their children about pleasure, consent, and boundaries in order to prevent abuse. Whether you’re a parent or not, this open discussion about sexual pleasure and the importance of knowing our bodies is useful for all of us. To learn more about Rosalia’s work, visit www.consentparenting.com
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Alyssa Scolari [00:23]:
Hello, hello. Welcome back for another episode of the Light After Trauma podcast. I’m your host, Alyssa Scolari and I am here today with Rosalia Rivera, who is a Consent Educator. So we’re going to be talking a little bit today about consent and abuse prevention. I am so excited to have her on. So Rosalia Rivera is also a Sexual Literacy Advocate, a Speaker, a change agent, and a founder of CONSENTparenting and host of the AboutCONSENT Podcast, creatrix of CONSENTwear and a child sexual abuse survivor turned thriver. She has helped sexual abuse survivors who are now parents learn how to educate their children on body safety, boundaries, and consent so that they can empower their children to prevent abuse. Hi Rosalia, how are you?
Rosalia Rivera [01:24]:
I’m doing really well. Thanks for having me.
Alyssa Scolari [01:27]:
I mean, I know I said this before we started recording, but I love everything that you stand for.
Rosalia Rivera [01:34]:
Oh, thank you.
Alyssa Scolari [01:36]:
I love how open you are, I’m truly honored to have you on this podcast because the work that you do, I feel like nobody is doing, and nobody is shedding… or I shouldn’t say nobody, but not many people are shedding any light on this area. So could you just talk a little bit more about what you do and how all of this came about for you?
Rosalia Rivera [02:03]:
Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you, I’m honored to be here and to connect with your audience, it’s work that has been 20 years in the making that I finally had the courage to start doing almost two years ago publicly. I started doing it with my own family in terms of educating my kids over four years ago now, but I also want to acknowledge all the people who in one way shape or rather inspired me to do this work as a survivor to showcase it from the lens of a survivor, which is really where I think there was like nobody doing it, right?
And although there are amazing educators out there talking about this, there’s organizations that are trying to push for awareness on this topic, and I think that they are all doing great work, there really wasn’t anyone that was speaking from the survivor lens, that was really connecting with people that were parents who these already traumas themselves and understanding how do you navigate, how triggering this can be as a parent and then to teach your kids, and then to try to empower them and protect them and live with the anxiety and all the things that come with it.
And so I just realized as a survivor myself, coming from a mom who’s a survivor and having a sister who’s a survivor and knowing so many, I just felt like we have to find the courage. We have to tap it, we’re all so powerful and society, and all of these different ways that we are conditioned to believe that when something happens to us, we are no longer either valuable, or valid or that we’re broken, and then that brokenness doesn’t give us the ability to overcome, and I’ve been able to do all those things with so much support that I wanted to help others be able to do the same. I wanted to pay it forward and just being able to see the transformations and the feedback that I’m getting on a daily basis from parents has been so deeply rewarding and proof, right? That this is definitely needed and that this is where I need to continue working.
So thank you so much for bringing me on and also for your platform that you’re also one of those warriors on this path with me. So it’s really not something that I feel like I ever do alone. This is something that more of us can come together and talk about this. The more we can dismantle shame, the more we can dismantle taboos, the more that this conversation comes out in the open, and that’s exactly what we need to be able to… It feels like we’re in a war against predators, right?
We’re in this war against those who find ways to stay in the shadows and continue to hurt others. And so by us speaking openly and tapping into our courage, and speaking about it in ways that we haven’t before, that’s how we’re going to win this war. And so, the fact that we’re here together talking about it is one more win, one more battle that we’re winning.
Alyssa Scolari [05:23]:
Yup, yup. That’s one more battle that we’ve won in the war against, like you said, the war against predators, the war against even the shame and the guilt that we are led to feel that rape culture makes us feel like, well this is my fault. We are in a war against all of it. So right, even just coming together as two survivors of childhood sexual abuse, to get real about how to break this cycle, because when you are as you know, a survivor of sexual abuse, trauma gets passed down through generations, if we don’t actively try to break that cycle, and that’s what you’re doing on your platform with kiddos, right? One of the most triggering things I think for any sexual abuse survivor is to become a parent.
And I would say… And maybe you could shed a little bit more light on this, so I personally don’t have children, I hope one day to be a mom. That’s one of my biggest aspirations in life, I can’t wait to be a mom, but I wanted to continue to work through my own sexual abuse because I understand how triggering it can been. I would say that it’s probably triggering from the moment of conception, not just when that baby’s in your arms, it’s the whole pregnancy, right? Would you agree with that?
Rosalia Rivera [06:53]:
I think it’s different for everyone, but it tends to be for many people, like for many parents, it can be that moment, but for others it’s actually, when it hits its peak, is maybe at the same age that your child’s becomes the age that you had started to be abused. So for a lot of parents that’s the triggering point. For others, it’s just even considering, thinking about having a child. For me, for example, I didn’t want kids, and it’s ironic when I first met my partner, I remember on our maybe first or second date, I was like, “I don’t want kids. I don’t want to get married.” And it was a mutual agreement.
We both were like, “This is great. We both want the same things.” And then two to five years in, I harassed him until he finally said yes to having a baby. We both really did want to, and I think it was a matter of determining if we shared the same values in terms of parenting, and that was really what made me realize this is someone who I could parent with, but for me I actually didn’t get triggered until my child… And for me, I actually had repressed memories, so I hadn’t really come to terms and confronted my own abuse until my child was five. My first child was five.
Alyssa Scolari [08:18]:
Was that when you began uncovering?
Rosalia Rivera [08:20]:
That was when… Yeah I actually went to a hypnotherapist and I was like, “I don’t understand why I’m so anxious.” I was also starting to be real self sabotaging about things in my life and having major anxiety and panic attacks and came to terms with the fact that it was because I had not realized how scared I was of my own child being abused. I thought like I could just protect them always, right? And that was my mother’s default too. She just was really over-protective because of what happened to her. And unfortunately didn’t look in the right places, right? And didn’t know where the dangers could be.
So that was one of the things that also informed the way that I did it, but I think in terms of being triggered yeah, it can happen from the point of conception. It can happen during the birth itself. It can happen when your child hits that age, or it can happen when you suddenly realize that people may… You may feel unsafe about someone and all of a sudden everything rushes back, right? So there’s so many ways that parenting in general, children in general can be a trigger. It can even be, not even your own children. It can be you see someone else’s child sitting on someone’s lap and it makes you feel uncomfortable because you’re not sure if that child is safe and that can be triggering, so it’s just a landmine when you haven’t stepped into any healing and even in the process of healing, right?
So I mean for me, one of the things that I always advocate with parents that I work with is to prioritize your own healing because that’s what’s going to help you be able to do this abuse prevention education. Otherwise, what happened with me was that I would pause, I would start educating myself and I would try to implement it and then I would get triggered by it, and I would stop for awhile. I would keep talking about it, and I thought, “Oh we’ve covered some of the basics, so we’re good.” But then something else would come up and it would trigger me again, my child would want a little bit more freedom do something, and I realize if I let them do that, then that means that there’s a potential for danger.
And I haven’t taught them enough yet. And then I would feel guilt and shame and be triggered again and get the anxiety. And I was like, “I have to do something.” And so I was like, “I have to figure out how to do this.” Because I don’t want to repeat what happened to my mom, what happened to me, what happened to my sister, it has to end with me, and so as triggered as I was, I realized I needed help. And so that’s what put me on this path. So yeah, I feel for parents who they all of a sudden, it’s like this can of worms basically opens up.
Alyssa Scolari [10:58]:
My heart breaks for parents, and I had repressed memories as well. And I feel like could easily do an entire podcast episode on just repression and what that does to you. But I don’t know how people manage, it’s just tough when you have kids, because I could barely manage myself when I started having all these memories come to the surface, I didn’t even know where I was half the time. So just to have kids and then to go through the uncovering process is so difficult, so difficult. And I love what you said about how it stops with me, right? This stops with me because I very much have that attitude as well, which is like, this will end with me and my family.
Rosalia Rivera [11:50]:
Yeah. Yeah. Did you ever see… Well, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. I know that the show in and of itself can be triggering for people because there’s a lot of sexual violence in it. But one of the things that I really connected with was the main character of Daenerys Stormborn, right? She gets captured at one point by, I can’t remember the name of the group, but she gets captured, and she’s in this space where they’re telling her, you are worthless, you’re our slave now, and we basically will get to do what we want with you, and you’re lucky if you spend your days serving us, right? And they have no idea who she is, what they’re messing with, and she’s like, “No, this is where it ends. You guys have no idea what you’ve stepped into.”
And a lot of times when I would get triggered in the past, there was a sense of helplessness. And through this healing, through tapping into my power and reclaiming it, I realized that I made that switch. And I was like, “I don’t have this fear anymore because this rage that I used to feel has transformed into this proactive energy that I use everyday to channel how I can empower myself and my kids.” And it has really gone from that feeling of like, “Oh my God, how can I possibly protect my kids, to I am doing what I need to do now to protect my kids.” And I’m making sure that they know that they have the right and that I always have their back. And all of these things that we do.
And it’s so transformational to go from that fear based place to this confident, I’m doing everything in my power and nobody better mess with me or my kids, that’s what I want everyone to feel because when you’re little and you go from this place of being hurt and helpless, and for many unfortunately either not believed, or blamed or whatever their experience was, that requires healing. It requires you to go back to yourself and tell yourself you’re going to be okay, and we’re going to get through this together. And that healing process can transform your parenting in such beautiful and positive ways. And I know that for a lot of parents who haven’t stepped into their healing journey, that can seem so foreign. And so like, “Oh, I can never do that.” Or maybe for someone else, but my trauma was really bad.
My sister for example, has complex trauma because her abuse was over a period of years. So, for anyone who’s listening and is like, “My abuse was years and years.” I get it. I completely understand my sister is still healing. But it’s possible, the beauty is that even witnessing her transformation, it’s slower because of so much that she has to overcome, but it is so possible. So I just want anyone who’s listening to know that it is absolutely doable and no one can take away your power, it’s inside of you and you just have to find the way to tap into it, so…
Alyssa Scolari [15:24]:
Yes, in a way that’s… And I 1000% echo that because it is possible and it is perhaps a little bit more challenging in some ways with complex trauma, but there was this transitional moment for me and I have complex trauma as well, and you go from feeling like your emotions have control of you to feeling like you have control over your emotions. And specifically that rage, when you have that unchecked rage, it comes out in a million different self-destructive ways, but that rage doesn’t go away. You take it and you use it to say no more. No more, no more, no more. I’m going to be the reason why this stops in my generation, with other people. I mean, it’s why we get into this field I believe.
Rosalia Rivera [16:29]:
Right, absolutely, yeah.
Alyssa Scolari [16:32]:
Yeah. So can you just talk a little bit about what it is to be a Sexual Literacy Advocate?
Rosalia Rivera [16:40]:
Yeah. So I’m glad you asked. So one of the things that… I grew up in a very conservative home, I was fully a Catholic, I’m from [crosstalk 00:16:50]. Yeah, so I’m an immigrant. I grew up in New York, but I am originally from El Salvador, so my mom grew up in El Salvador during a really conservative time there, and when we moved to the US it was a major cultural clash for her. And she just really was freaked out about how liberal… It was in the early 80s. So Madonna was singing Like a Virgin and then making videos with corn bras and stuff. And she was just mortified, but she was also raised with a very sex negative perspective, obviously being a survivor herself, also having experienced negative sexual experiences, right? So when I grew up, we didn’t talk about sex at home. She couldn’t even say the word vagina, there was no conversation other than to warn me to say, “Be careful because all that men is sex.” And she wouldn’t even say sex, she’s like, “All men want is the thing between your legs.” That’s literally how she explained it to me-
Alyssa Scolari [17:58]:
That’s what she would say?
Rosalia Rivera [18:00]:
Yeah. And so she really got it in my head that sex was not really pleasurable for women, that it was a duty that you had to do when you got married, and it was really for procreation. And that’s the extent of the education I got at home about it. And then at school, it was like the basics of STIs and abstinence-based information. So when I went off into the world, I really felt like something was wrong with me because I considered myself to have sexual desire. And I thought like, there must be something terribly wrong with me, maybe I was supposed to be born a guy. I really believe that for a while, if I have sexual desire, that means, I should have been a boy.
Alyssa Scolari [18:47]:
I felt the same exact way when I became a teenager. I truly did. I thought I should have been a guy-
Rosalia Rivera [18:55]:
That’s so… I’ve never met anybody else who thought that.
Alyssa Scolari [18:58]:
Nor have I, but I honestly for a time thought, “I think I should have been born a man because of my sex drive.”
Rosalia Rivera [19:06]:
Yeah. I was like, “I must have too much testosterone or something.” And so there was a lot of shame that came with that, right? It was like, I shouldn’t want this. And so I was date raped when I was 17. So I of course then blamed myself saying like, “I must have put the vibe out there. I must’ve said something or dressed the wrong way. I didn’t listen to my mom and put myself in situations.” And so I couldn’t tell her because I thought she was just going to be mad at me and blame me. And then I just had no idea that consent could be withdrawn all of these things. So sex has been a very integral part. I wanted to actually be a sex therapist because I really wanted to understand sex in general.
And I went to school for it. I didn’t end up… In my third year, I decided to leave for various reasons, which I won’t get into right now, so that really stuck with me that we don’t talk about sex yet it is such a huge part of our lives as humans. And I see so much that is wrong with the way that we talk about sex, the way we deal with sex. It’s so taboo yet it’s so in your face, all over the place. So it’s this weird dichotomy, right? And as I continued to educate myself about sex as someone who was born with a uterus and a vulva versus a penis, just that understanding was so important for me to say, “I want to educate my kids in age appropriate ways of course, but to make sure that they have the information that they need to make the healthy choices about their sexual lives.”
Because, one is understanding your body, understanding consent and respect, but there’s also this sense of understanding how your body works. That actually has a lot to do with abuse prevention. And so when I talk about parents teaching their kids about consent and abuse prevention, they hope that they don’t have to talk about sex ed, right? And they hope that, that’s not a necessary part of the conversation, but it actually is a huge part of the conversation. And there’s two reasons why. One is that, children who don’t understand the way that their bodies work, so for example, the fact that the genitals basically have the highest concentration of nerve endings than any other part of the body and that they feel good. It’s natural for the body to do that, right? If they don’t understand that, right? A predator could take advantage of that particularly the younger the child is.
They could take advantage of the fact that a child does feel pleasure when they’re touched there, and if they don’t know that it’s unsafe, that can be very normalized for them, right? A predator could very easily normalize that and say, “Well, it feels good.” And then actually implicate the child, make them feel guilty, or make them feel like they wanted it, right? And that can be a very confusing experience for a child. So if a parent can’t explain the basics of how their bodies work and to let them know that it’s okay for them to self explore and then educate them about safety and say, “That’s safe for you to do. It’s not safe for anybody else to do, right? To you.” And educating them about the concept of unsafe touch.
One thing leads to the other, right? And even educating them about the names of their body parts, that’s sex ed. Sex ed is educating your child about the fact that they have a vulva and labia and clitoris, all of these little things that I know for me, I couldn’t even say that. I couldn’t even say that word for a really long time-
Alyssa Scolari [22:58]:
Exactly. Giving your child the language, right? Giving your child the language, and I have to say, I mean I’m 28, and I only just this year began to learn as part of my recovery that it’s not a vagina, it’s a vulva. I am just… And of course now I have a beautiful artistic portrait, an abstract portrait of a vulva that my best friend sent me. Thank you Urvashi, that’s framed and hanging in my bedroom, but there’re so many parts that… Right? And part of it is education. This is your vulva, right? This is the labia, this is the clitoris. If we give kids language again, abuse prevention, because then they can speak about what is happening,
Rosalia Rivera [23:51]:
Right. Yeah, and if someone touches them inappropriately, they can say exactly where they were touched. So there’s these various reasons, but even beyond that, as the child gets older, them not having shame about their bodies, right? That what their bodies do is normal and making sure that they don’t have shame about exploring their bodies, right? We grow up with so much shame. So one of my missions is to dismantle shame. I think we grow up… There’s this idea that I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Madonna-whore complex, but it’s this idea-
Alyssa Scolari [23:51]:
No I haven’t.
Rosalia Rivera [24:30]:
Okay, so I have been talking about this, I recently published an article about this for both Latina Magazine, and it was basically to talk about this idea that is known, but it’s not very mainstream, and I really want people to get this in the mainstream so we can start to shift culture. And this is where we can dismantle shame, and it has a really big impact on survivors particularly, because the basis of the Madonna-whore construct, which is really this antiquated patriarchal concept, right? That was originally created from when women were sold off basically as property in a marriage contract, which is really what it was, right? Marriage in its very first iteration was women were the currency to exchange wealth between families, right? Through the inheritance of a child.
And so their virginity, their ‘purity’, right? Was what was the measure of their value. And because of that, you had to be a virgin to make sure that the offspring was from the person that you were marring, so that was the whole reason. Now as that crumbled, that way of the institution of marriage has evolved, this idea of virginity, which is a social construct stuck around, right? Because it’s part of this patriarchal oppressive system against women. And essentially what it continued to say was your value is your virginity, but really obviously that’s nonsense, we are much more than our virginity. Our value is much more than that.
And so if we start to deconstruct that today and look back at it and say we’re still doing that. We slut shame women, if they either have had too many partners, or in some spaces, this is still an issue where if you get married and you’re not a virgin, then you’re not as valuable. I’ve seen so many people even use this idea of the apple, if you basically consider yourself an apple and if it gets passed around, everyone takes a bite, then what is the apple look like after? I’ve heard these horrendous ways of explaining-
Alyssa Scolari [27:04]:
That is sickening.
Rosalia Rivera [27:04]:
Yeah. Well, and essentially that’s what it is, right? If you look at someone who let’s say is a stripper, people consider her less valuable than someone who got their PhD. And then someone who has a PhD and is a stripper, they don’t even know what to do with that. It’s like, “What do you do with that?”
Alyssa Scolari [27:22]:
We can’t tolerate that in our brain, right? As a society.
Rosalia Rivera [27:26]:
So the reason why I bring all of that up is because what that leads to is this idea that purity comes from virginity. And if someone who was very young was abused, right? And this whole idea which is fed to us by the mainstream, right? Like advertising, music, movies, films, all of that messaging basically is always showcasing that in one way or the other, right? You look at movies like pretty women or movies whatever it is. I mean, that messaging is constantly in our face and it’s very subliminal. So if we start looking at what can we do about it because when someone is assaulted, right? And they are blamed, if someone says, “Well, what were you wearing?” Well, that’s slut-shaming and saying you asked for it, you deserved being hurt because you were sexual, you were overtly sexual. So dress like a nun and you won’t be hurt, right? That’s really the messaging that we’re saying.
And so if someone is hurt, if they’re assaulted either when they are a child, or an adolescent, or even an adult, and the messaging has always been now you’re damaged goods or you’re not valuable anymore because you’re not pure, you’re not virginal, whatever it is you did things. And especially if the child is blamed in some way, like you asked for it, you liked it, you enjoyed it, whatever it is. Even with boys for example, not to get totally off topic, but with boys a lot of people think, or they’re told like if the child had an erection, right? Which is a normal bodily function against their… Something still happened against their will, but their body physiologically responded, that doesn’t mean that they wanted it, right?
So in the same sense with survivors, particularly females, if that happens when they’re young and they had any physiological response, they’re going to feel guilt and shame, they’re going to believe this Madonna-whore construct that they must have somehow wanted it, or they must have somehow invited it. They are somehow to blame. They’re somehow now less valuable, right? And this is one of the reasons why there is such little reporting.
It’s also one of the reasons why survivors won’t report to even tell anyone, they just hold it in because they’re afraid of what people are going to think, what people are going to say, if they’re going to blame them, if they’re going to not believe them, there’s all of these things that are because of this Madonna-whore construct that actually compounds, right? Why we have a culture of silence and why we carry so much shame. So one of my missions is to really dismantle that by being open about talking about sex, and that’s why I think educating ourselves about sex, even as adults, that didn’t get that education when we were young to learn how to normalize those conversations about pleasure, the fact that we have a right to pleasure, I very strongly believe in orgasm equality and having women understand that they do have a right to pleasure, that’s a big important part of the conversation when it comes to consent.
Alyssa Scolari [30:49]:
Yeah. It’s so important. I mean, and I think just to echo what you said is that I think that’s one of the things that abuse survivors struggle with the most is when I speak to people in my practice, it’s like, “But it felt good.” Or ,”But I had an orgasm, so I must have wanted it.” No, it doesn’t work like that, right? You can not control your body’s physiological response as you mentioned, right? Your genitals, they have the most nerve endings out of any other part of your body. You have no control over that, just because you maybe had an orgasm doesn’t mean that you wanted it. And in the same sense, I think that it is so important… I love the phrase orgasm equality, because women have a right to have orgasms.
And in working with adolescents, as they are really starting to explore their sexuality, one of the things, especially when working with female adolescents is like, “Are you getting what you need? Are you getting your needs met as well?” And I still say it, there’s so much of a push to please those who identify as men and for females there not be concerned about whether or not they have orgasms.
Rosalia Rivera [32:14]:
Yeah. Yeah. No female pleasure is never centered in media, in pornography, mainstream pornography particularly. And unfortunately, because for so many young people, that’s their sex ed, this is why it’s so important for us as parents to be that person that they can come to for information, right? And to give them guidance about why their pleasure should be centered. And not to say that male pleasure doesn’t have to be centered, but it should really be a mutual centering, right? And so when I say orgasm equality, it’s like I didn’t know that women could have clitoral orgasms because I didn’t know about the clitoris is for the longest time. I think I discovered it when I was like 27 and it was still shocking to me, and I consider myself pretty progressive.
So I mean, I know that for a lot of girls nowadays, or vulva owners I should say, they are seeing a lot of things like Cardi B talking about pleasure. But if you listen to her even most recent WAP song, right? That was so controversial, they’re still centering male pleasure in that song, even though it seems like it’s very female centered, her talking about what she likes. It’s still based on… I don’t think once I heard them talk at length at all, like it was always centered around penis pleasure. It was never centered around clitoral pleasure. And it was still always like this showing off of how they can please the guy.
Alyssa Scolari [33:57]:
Yes. Like, look what I have to offer you, right? Look at this WAP that I have to offer you for your pleasure.
Rosalia Rivera [34:05]:
Right, yeah. So I just think sexual literacy education is so important and I’m a true advocate of it because I think it actually does help young people know what are healthy sexual interactions versus it doesn’t feel good, but I guess it’s okay because he feels like it’s good. And there’s just a lot of questions that are unanswered and you just don’t have fulfilling experiences that are mutually fulfilling. So that’s beyond the safety piece, I think long-term, we’re giving our kids the ability to have healthier experiences as they go off into adulthood. So definitely important to educate young and as part of abuse prevention education, and consent education, but also for the longterm, I think it’s just sending young people off into the world without that I feel like leads them into some potentially dangerous paths.
Alyssa Scolari [35:10]:
Yes, absolutely. You are dismantling shame, dismantling rape culture for generations. So you’re preparing… You’re basically giving children the armor that they need to continue to fight this war for generations to come. There’s nothing more powerful than that. Now with the work that you do, what does that look like specifically? So do you have parents who reach out to you for consultation and coaching, or do you more spread awareness through the media, social media, your podcast, your Instagram. I also saw that you have a children’s book coming out. Congratulations.
Rosalia Rivera [35:52]:
Thank you. Yeah, yeah. So, well, I do work one-on-one with parents, I do have consultations that I do. Typically a lot of parents will reach out if something has happened unfortunately, so they’re looking for guidance as to like, “What do I do now? How do I deal with this?” But what I do also offer are courses. So I create workshops courses, and I also have a membership so that parents have a community of other survivor parents that are coming together and supporting each other through this and getting access to resources, and we do monthly coaching calls and masterclasses and things like that.
So I created something where people have space to dig into the content because there’s so much, right? And it can really easily feel overwhelming, but I encourage you to know that even if you’re making small progress, it’s progress, just the biggest thing is to be consistent, right? So I do offer all of that, but then yeah, also, I’m always putting out content on Instagram. I do Facebook lives where I do educational content as well. I’m always trying to put as much out there as possible because at the end of the day, the goal is really for you to be able to take some action.
I think gathering information is great, but if you’re not doing anything with it, then it’s not really going to change anything. So, I’m on social media, I’m putting out whatever content I can, if I can create articles and blogs and things like that, and then also I do have the podcast, which is where I talk more about survivor type of content, not necessarily just parenting. So it’s really how can we help you like I said, dismantle shame, that’s one of the biggest roadblocks to healing, I think, and help people step into healing journeys.
I am not a therapist or anything, so I don’t help with that, but I do like to point people in the direction to say these are resources that I’ve vetted, that I’ve discovered and have either helped me, or I know have helped others, and maybe this is something that can help you get closer to that, to stepping into that. And I think a lot of times, my sister for example, I always use her as an example because what she went through was so traumatic that, seeing her journey and how scary it was for her to even consider healing, right? Because when you’re thinking about healing, it’s like, “Okay, you’re asking me to open up a can of worms. I don’t know if I have the strength to do, because I’ve just been surviving enough to keep it together, and now you’re saying to unravel?”
That’s essentially what people are hearing when I say that, right? And what I came to realize is that not everyone’s ready to step into a healing journey just yet. And that’s okay too. But what you can be working towards is building your resiliency so that you can step into that healing journey. So what does that look like? That looks like self care, that looks like doing something that’s going to help strengthen you. So maybe that’s just drinking more water. Maybe that’s eating a little bit better. Maybe that’s getting more sleep. Maybe that’s taking[crosstalk 00:39:14]-
Alyssa Scolari [39:14]:
Out there, you should be very familiar with this. The episode that I launched just this morning is called Resiliency-
Rosalia Rivera [39:21]:
There you go.
Alyssa Scolari [39:23]:
So we’ll talk about concrete ways, so for everybody out there, you already should know this.
Rosalia Rivera [39:28]:
I’m going to share that episode on my page, because that’s exactly it. We have to build up that resiliency so that when we do step into a healing journey, we can handle it, right? Because healing can get messy and it isn’t linear, and we can get stuck in the middle, but what’s on the other side of that is just worth it. It’s so worth it, it is amazing and for those who feel like they’re not able to achieve that dream life of thriving, you can. It may take a little bit longer for some, but that’s okay.
It’s so worth it once you get to the other end. So part of what I’m also doing is helping parents who have that trauma to know that when you’re doing abuse prevention, it has to be in conjunction with a lot of self-care, building up resiliency, and if you already are at that place where you can step into a healing journey to move in that direction, it doesn’t have to happen overnight, but moving that direction because ultimately that’s what’s going to help you to teach all of these things that are inevitably triggering in some ways maybe not so much for some, but maybe a lot more for others, and so, all of those pieces are essentially what I’m always putting out there and trying to help people with, through all the different ways that I put out content.
Alyssa Scolari [40:58]:
I just love what you’re doing. I really do. It’s so needed, and your content has truly helped me to be a better therapist, and it has helped me to understand my own body more. It’s helped me to do better work with the parents of the kids that I see, and even with the adults who don’t know their own bodies, because so many of us are never taught how to know our own bodies. So the work that you do is great and you are in Canada, right?
Rosalia Rivera [41:32]:
Alyssa Scolari [41:33]:
Canada. So do you work with people? Are you working with people on a virtual platform right now?
Rosalia Rivera [41:42]:
Yeah, so I do everything online because I work from home and we homeschool our kids part-time so they, they go to school part-time and homeschool part-time ,so I basically do everything virtually because that allows me the flexibility to do that.
Alyssa Scolari [41:57]:
And will you work with people all over the world?
Rosalia Rivera [42:01]:
Yeah, I mean, it’s amazing to be able to do everything digitally because there’s people in Dubai, and Australia, and the UK, and California and Costa Rica, it’s amazing. And I’m also working currently on translating a lot of my content into Spanish so that I can serve the Latin American community.
Alyssa Scolari [42:25]:
Rosalia Rivera [42:26]:
Yeah, which is so needed in that community because it’s just such an even more taboo topic that we just definitely need to be talking about.
Alyssa Scolari [42:37]:
Yes. Yes. Oh, that’s awesome. That’s so great. So in the show notes for all the listeners out there, I’m going to link Rosalia’s Instagram handle and her website as well as her podcast, so then you guys can all check it out. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to contact you, can they just reach out to you on any of your platforms or is it better to go through the website? What do you prefer?
Rosalia Rivera [43:06]:
Yeah, I’m accessible through all the different platforms, so I’m always online checking out all the stuff. So typically most people will connect with me through Instagram. So if you want to DM me, that’s probably the best way.
Alyssa Scolari [43:20]:
Perfect. Okay. So I will link all that stuff for everybody out there. I honestly want to stand up and just give you a huge round of applause because I am just… Thank heavens that somebody is doing this work because it’s so needed, and so thank you for coming on the show, and for sharing, and being such an open book, I really appreciate it.
Rosalia Rivera [43:44]:
Oh, thank you so much. And I appreciate the work you’re doing and I love hearing that it is helping you with your patients and clients and that just makes my heart happy. So thank you.
Alyssa Scolari [43:58]:
Thanks for listening everyone for more information about today’s episode and to sign up for the Light After Trauma newsletter, head over to my website @alyssascolari.com. The really great thing about being a part of this newsletter is that not only do you get weekly updates on new podcast episodes and blog posts, but you also get access to the private Facebook community, as well as access to all insider tips, resources, and info graphs that supplement what we talk about on the show. You also can connect with me and other trauma warriors, I’m super active on the Facebook community. And I look forward to talking with you.