I met Jessica Dailey at a women’s networking event. She sponsored a booth for Diamond Mind Radio, her podcast project, where she “believes that sharing stories of empowerment and strength will not only contribute a POSITIVE perspective, it will ignite the passion within and be a catalyst to reaching the next level you!”
Jessica’s work in the area of sexual abuse awareness and prevention triggered a slew of thoughts. I naturally wondered about her abuse story. But I mostly wanted to know what was happening with her now, and how she appeared to be transforming trauma into triumph.
Besides hosting her podcasts, Jessica is also a certified occupational therapy assistant, family & youth coordinator, photographer, mother, and fire wife. She’s in that busy season, so I was/am most thankful for her sharing her time to answer some relevant questions to Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
1. You were sexually abused as a child. When and how did you decide to tell someone?
I don’t have an exact age. What I can tell you is that they are some of my very first memories. I always had this knowing within me that I would finally be able to tell someone. I just never had the courage. I actually told myself that I would tell my “bestest” friends when I was 16. Why I picked 16 is beyond me. Maybe it forced me to mentally prepare for “telling.” I actually ended up telling a couple of my best girlfriends at age 16 and my now husband at age 17.
I do think there was a “how“ I decided, but I feel it was more about the “why.” I wanted to protect my little sister. I wanted to break the cycle. I didn’t want to keep living in shame and guilt. I wanted to be free from all the dysfunction and all the self-sabotaging. I wanted to feel pure happiness being me, and I knew I could never own that if I remained silent. (Listen to Jessica’s first, second and third podcasts for more about her story).
2. How has your sexual abuse affected you?
Ah…this is a great question in which I could be here forever explaining my answer. Actually, in my podcast there is an answer to this question in each episode when I think about it. So, I will try to touch on some main points.
- It has affected EVERY area of my life, without a doubt. My childhood was not all bad, however it is infested with traumatic memories that made me who I am today.
- After therapy and my self-healing journey, I have been able to control how it affects me today for a majority of the time. Prior to that, I was a mess! I did not value myself. I had low self-esteem. I would self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, which started at a very young age.
- I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can be challenging for me.
- I had to work on intimacy which was and still can be challenging.
- Becoming a mother was another challenge. It ultimately led me to where I am today. I founded my podcast, Diamond Mind Radio, and work with children because of my past trauma in hopes to help at least one person.
My goal for myself is to turn my trauma into something beautiful and to show that what I went through does not define who I am. It only makes me stronger.
3. What is your most difficult hurdle still?
Hmmm…I really have to think about this because I feel so great about where I am today. I think my most difficult hurdle would probably be balance right now in my life. I am a people pleaser and want to make everyone happy. I am really having to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities which is very difficult for me because I truly love everything I am currently involved in. As a child I was always wanting to keep the peace and make everyone happy. I have come to a place of awareness within myself that I can only control what I can control. The rest is in God’s hands and I am okay with that.
4. I understand that you provide sexual abuse education in the public schools. Can you tell me about that? Is this a class? What do you teach?
I advocate for the Safer Smarter Kids Curriculum developed by Lauren’s Kids to be taught at all our schools here in Volusia County. The curriculum is for pre-K through high school students. I have facilitated the curriculum at our local elementary school and now teach it to high school students. The curriculum covers imperative topics such as cyber safety and safe versus unsafe secrets. It is a wonderful way to prevent child abuse. Check out the Safer Smarter Schools curriculum.
5. The MeToo Movement speaks out against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Do you see yourself as part of this movement? Please explain.
Yes, I suppose so. I say this because part of my purpose is to educate and bring awareness. I am able to do this by sharing my story and having my podcast as a platform for others to share their story as well.
6. Like with preventive health, can women do anything to help reduce their chances of being sexually harassed or assaulted?
Education is key. My podcast covers a variety of topics to educate people. (Rape, Abuse & Incest National network also provides helpful Safety & Prevention information at its website: RAINN.org).
7. You have a son and daughter. How old are they and how do you educate them on the topic of sex?
My son William is 13 and my daughter is 9. My husband and I are very honest with them, having knowledge of the safe or smart or kids’ curriculum it has been quite easy to use those tools to educate them about sex. I also find it very important to let my children know that they can come to us with any question and not to feel ashamed ever.
8. What message would you tell girls and women about body image?
Another great question! The way we feel inside has a lot to do with how we feel about our outside appearance. If you are feeling bad or unhappy about yourself take time to check in with your mental health and nutrition. It has always helped me to know that we are all different, and I promise myself to never compare myself to others. This promise keeps me focused on who I am. Body Image is not just who you see in the mirror. It is so much more. If you feel unhappy, “Why is that?” Embrace your flaws and your perfections, and all the things that make you…You!
Check out Episode 8 where Jessica discusses three mindset shifts that pushed her into her best life:
- Jumping in even when she was scared.
- Changing her thoughts to change her world.
- And always doing the “right by me” thing.
9. How do you stay strong and focused? What do you do when you’re not?
Mindset is so important to me and doing all I can to foster a strong mindset. That is why I named my podcast Diamond Mind Radio. As far as staying focused, I set priorities and keep the end result in mind. When I am not (focused), this usually means I am unbalanced, need a break, and/or it’s time to reflect on myself/life.
Did you know that every 98 seconds an American is assaulted?
Did you also know that awareness leads to prevention?