April 1, 2009

UAADV supports Miss Laura Pennington as the next Miss Virginia!

Miss Laura Pennington is running for Miss Virginia 2009, and UAADV support her as a Sister Survivor and Advocate, and feel that she will bring much needed awareness in her role as Miss Virginia 2009.  Domestic Violence and Breaking the Silence is her platform for the pageant, and has always been in the past.  To Miss Laura Pennington, it is not just a platform or a pageant, but a positive way to reach out to women and children about Domestic Violence and how to have a healthy relationship.
Below is a write up that she has shared, and more information will be coming in the future.  Please, visit her personal site, get to know her and her mission, and support her in becoming the next Miss Virginia!

Personal message from Miss Laura Pennington:
I feel like my position as a survivor, someone who has worked for a DV attorney for three years, and someone who has volunteered and interned for years in shelters has allowed me to see this issue from all sides.  The fact is-DV is so often miscatergorized.  People just don't understand it.  I have honestly been surprised at what has happened recently with Chris Brown and Rhianna-many celebrities have actually stepped up and refused to support Chris Brown or his music because of what he did, but then my mom and I saw Judge Judy on Larry King saying that Chris Brown just had "anger management issues."  Anger management issues that only seem to break out around females?  He's never exploded at his manager, gotten into a fight with friends, etc?  He has a problem abusing women, not an anger management problem.  This current issue highlights so many reasons people just don't understand what's really happening.
There are so many stereotypes out there about women and I feel we so frequently get pigeon-holed.  It's something I live every day.  I have been asked by colleagues "How do you expect to be taken seriously as a graduate student when you compete in pageants?"  The answer is because I believe that women SHOULD be able to do whatever they want to do without social stigmas attached to it.  And I believe that I will be taken seriously on both ends precisely because I refuse to fit into the mold society has provided for me.  Little girls today are given women like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to look up to-not real women, putting themselves through college and graduate school, volunteering on the side and reaching for their dreams.
So absolutely, if I have the chance to show little girls a real woman in myself, that is my goal.  This summer they are going to do a people's choice vote again and I will need your help.  This years Miss America was the "People's Choice" and the judges choice for the crown, and I hope to follow in her footsteps.  I think wearing the crown is not about the glamor or the opportunities it presents you personally, but the opportunities it gives you to reach out to other people during the year, making a real impact talking about something that you care about.  Miss Virginia gives 40 presentations connecting her platform to making good decisions throughout her year of service.  That means a chance for me to reach out to an incredible number of school children talking about self-esteem, the importance of treating others well, and how to create and maintain healthy relationships.

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