The problem with trauma is that it often goes un-talked about. We get uncomfortable when people speak of pain and injustice, we avoid the topics, and we gloss over them with pleasantries and half-hearted sorry’s. This discomfort and avoidance that surrounds trauma is the case even more so in situations concerning rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse/violence.
Because it’s sexual and personal it’s often associated with shame, and shame is the cruelest of qualities, frightening us from living our truths, let alone talking about them. Rape and assault survivors commonly feel stripped of their voices, so it is imperative that we lend these individuals our ears, unwavering and without judgment, and show them that they are heard, and they are not alone.
Jenna Wiebe has not only lent her ear to countless survivors, but she has shared her story of injustice and survival, loud and powerful, for the world to hear. Jenna created Duvet Days, her platform which uses design to “create awareness, self-discovery, and self-love” to support those affected by rape and domestic abuse.
In addition to anatomical design, she also has a Survivor Talks series which includes the stories of survivors from around the world which creates a safe space for sharing without shame or judgment, gives force to survivors, shows those who are not yet ready to speak up that they are not alone, and that “shame is not yours to carry” among other inspirational, yet simplistic mantras.
As you can tell, we’re beyond in love with her stuff.
As you may want to know learn a little bit more about the remarkable individual behind the magic that is Duvet Days (we know we sure did), here’s a bit about Jenna and a couple of questions we were just dying to ask her.
“From the day I was born, I was a fighter.”
Jenna was born in South Korea and experienced health complications immediately upon arrival into the world. Her father was an abusive man which resulted in her mother to leave him, and after which she found herself unable to care for Jenna, propelling her to put Jenna up for adoption. At the age of three Jenna “was placed in an orphanage and then a foster home, before [she] was adopted at age three and a half to a Canadian couple who spoke a different language and belonged to a culture totally foreign to [her] own.”
After moving to Vancouver for post-secondary Jenna experienced both rape and sexual assault by the hands of two individuals she then deemed to be friends. Her chilling story did not end there as she began to lead a destructive lifestyle and wound-up in an abusive partnership. When the last straw broke and Jenna feared seriously for her life, she left her abuser and began the long and turbulent road to recovery. Duvet Days is a manifestation of all of Jenna’s experiences, her recovery, and the person she is today. It is a platform for healing, sharing, and change. These stories can be hard to hear, which is exactly why we need to hear them; because they exist, more than we think and would like to admit. If you’d like to read more about Jenna’s story, click here.
After reading about Jenna, learning about her experiences, and falling head-over-heels for all that she does.
We had a few questions for her.
Psychnsex: You origin from South Korea and were adopted into a family in Canada. Where you had a complete culture change and were removed from a bad situation.
Do you think that your transition and freedom gave you the inspiration to make simplistic designs that anyone from really any background could understand and feel connected to?
- Jenna: I have always been creative my entire life and I think being adopted into a Canadian family gave me the opportunity to explore this. I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities if I had stayed in Korea. I think every experience I have had in my life up until this point has contributed to the designs I create today.In all honesty, I don’t think if I hadn’t gone through the things I had I would have never created the anatomy illustrations as my view on things would have been different. My hardest experiences have been my inspiration.
Psychnsex: “I unconsciously started making destructive life choices. I started drinking and experimenting with drugs to cope, and I became extremely promiscuous. I was completely disconnected from myself. I believed no one could love me if I did not fulfill their sexual needs.” Reading how you felt after your second experience, it sounded like a page from my journal. “ I learned to perfect the things in my life that I could control.”
How do you think your design, art, and mission can help other people realize that many people actually are going through these exact same things?
- Jenna: I think the less we filter about our experiences and feelings the more genuine conversations can evolve. It isn’t easy to share our vulnerability as we are taught to hide these things from others because somewhere along the line we were taught feelings = weakness. I’ve learned in the process that there is more strength in being honest and speaking your truth than putting on a face for the rest of the world just because they are uncomfortable with the subject at hand.We all have a right to feel whatever we are feeling and should never be told otherwise. Doesn’t mean it needs to define us or dictate how our lives play out, but I think it is important to always acknowledge our feelings as well as others. In the end, everyone just wants to be heard so sometimes sharing our own experiences helps another person have the strength to share a little of theirs and not feel so alone.
Psychnsex: You moved again, to Bali, nonetheless! Can you tell us about how your next transition and meeting your partner and *yay* becoming a mother, has also aided in your creativity and helped to end the self-shame we put on ourselves?
- Jenna: My partner and I are now living in Costa Rica after almost a year of living in Bali as well as some time in LA. My partner was/is a big part of my own personal journey of healing. I struggled with a lot of intimacy issues and my partner has been a part of my journey to learning to value and view my body as sacred rather than just something to be seen/used as something sexual.Being pregnant and a soon-to-be mother was apart of my inspiration for creating my illustrations, but not the reason I originally started them. I have talked to so many survivors and women/men and the common theme among survivors is that many struggles with intimacy, their bodies, and feelings of self-shame. I wanted to create illustrations that illustrated the beauty of their bodies even if they struggle to see their bodies in this light. I think education is also extremely important to develop body positivity and self-love so creating informative, but beautiful/whimsical anatomy illustrations allow viewers to engage with the illustrations without feelings of shame or at least this is my hope. Less medical and more trying to help people view/value their bodies again for the beauty they hold.
Psychnsex: You *blew up* on social media. Especially, when I look at my bubble of a feed of all sexual health and wellness accounts. People LOVE to repost your art, girl! How do you feel about that?
Is there anything you’d like your fans and reposters to know? Any future projects or things we can look out for from you?
- Jenna: Honestly I was really surprised and have felt so honored that so many people are engaged with my illustrations not only for art purposes but for the educational side. That people want to learn more about their bodies, which makes me really happy. We live in a society where outer beauty is at the forefront that I felt it was so important to celebrate what our bodies are truly capable of and allow us to do. To see the type of engagement that I have been getting has been really rewarding and inspires me to keep creating. People can continue to look forward to more anatomy illustrations from me and I always love to hear suggestions from fans what they would like to see or find beneficial in the future.
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