Hi! My name is Nadiyah Barrow, and Worthy Women NC started as a support group for survivors of sexual assault on the campus of North Carolina Central University in 2013. In October of 2016, Create Consent Culture was created. This is a black women owned apparel line that promotes sexual assault awareness. Our goal is to remind victors (not victims) of sexual assault that they are worthy of self-love, love from others, and happiness no matter what traumatic experience they've been through. We also use our apparel as a platform for conversations around consent and healing steps survivors can take after assault. Along with our apparel, we also advocate for victims and visit schools (and wherever else we are welcomed) to talk about levels of consent, healthy intimacy, and ending victim blaming.
Creating Consent Culture w/ Nadiyah!
K: What was your inspiration behind creating Worthy Women NC?
N: Worthy Women NC was inspired by my personal experiences of sexual trauma. When I went off to college, I struggled with depression and anxiety. I met many people that confided in me about their personal experiences of abuse, and I knew I wanted to create a special support system for people just like me. I wanted women at my college to have a safe space to heal from these experiences.
K: When did you first discover your love for writing and entrepreneurship?
N: Ever since I was a young girl, maybe around 11-12, I used to jot things down and had multiple diaries that I also wrote in. I never knew how much writing meant to me until I got older. I think it’s a deep rooted connection between pen and paper. For me, when I write something down, it becomes more real. As far as entrepreneurship, during my undergraduate years of college, I knew it was a path I was interested in, but I wasn’t confident in it until after graduation. I literally got so miserable at my job and felt I should truly follow my passion.
K: One of your phrases within your apparel line is a powerful statement, "Create Consent Culture." Explain the meaning of this. How do you define consent?
N: Create consent culture is about uplifting survivors and teaching human decency. Through this brand, we emphasize the importance of consent, respecting one another and bodily autonomy. Right now we live in a rape culture world which is an environment where sexual abuse is normalized. Rape culture is perpetuated through misogynistic language and behavior that includes blaming the victim for the abuse. Creating consent culture means we understand that consent it our given right. Consent is a mutual, ongoing agreement to anything.
K: What do you want your audience to take away from your brand?
N: I would like our audience to know that we are all healing from something. You are not alone. Your voice is vital.
K: In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up to tackle the world again?
N: In moments of self doubt, I like to read quotes from my favorite self care author: Alex Elle. Sometimes I cry it out and try again the next day! That’s the real. I’m not afraid to admit I’m a water baby and I have embraced my sensitivity as I’ve grown older. Most people view sensitivity as a weakness. For me I’ve owned my ability to feel things so deeply. I think it’s amazing honestly.
K: In your own words, how would you define the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment?
N: Sexual Harassment is a form of discrimination. Examples of this include: verbal comments, unwanted touches or sexual advances. Sexual assault is intentional, unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault includes use of force and intimidation. It is when a victim doesn’t give consent or cannot give consent.
K: At what moment in your life did you say, "This is it. This is what I was meant to be doing!" What called you to it?
N: My "This is it. This is what I was meant to be doing" moment came after my first semester of leading the Worthy Women support group I founded. I felt empowered just hearing positive feedback from all the group members who participated. This special moment reaffirmed that this was my path, and what I was meant to be doing!
K: What quote or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?
N: A quote that really inspires me is: “Plant yourself where you will bloom.” This is the ultimate reminder for me that no matter what you are temporarily stuck in, you can grow from it. Every chapter in your story builds a foundation for a beautiful flower to grow.
K: What characteristics do you most admire in other creative women?
N: In other creative women, I admire transparency the most. I believe that if you are true to yourself, your audience will be genuine.
K: Knowing what you know now, how do you handle consent for sexual intimacy in relationships and encounters?
N: I am a huge advocate for open communication when it comes to any form of intimacy. You should have conversations at each step.
K: Do you believe that mothers and daughters/fathers and sons should discuss more openly about sexual harassment and misconduct? If so, what should they say?
N: I most definitely believe that it’s a conversation we should all be having more. Everything starts with simple respect for others. It’s never too early to start teaching consent. I believe that healthy conversation within the family unit is great, and promotes awareness and openness amongst one another.
K: In the powerful #MeToo Movement, the case of Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics team doctor convicted of years of sexual abuse against many USA gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and more, has prompted questions from athletes and fans alike. Why do you believe that many women are hesitant to come forward when sexual assaulted?
N: Often times survivors are blamed for the circumstances that led to the assault (such as what they were wearing, if they were drinking). Along with being blamed, they are criticized for how they did or didn’t fight back. Victims are often too ashamed to come forward because sexual assault can seem very humiliating and dehumanizing. Attached to the shame is also a lot of self blame.
K: As a fellow blogger, what do you feel distinguishes a good writer from a GREAT writer?
N: Im still in my earliest stages of writing opposed to where I want to be, but I would say PASSION distinguishes a good writer from a great writer. I believe that you should do everything with passion! Often what happens is when you aren’t in it for passion, dreams, ideas and creativity begin to fade out. Keep the passion in whatever you love, strong!
K: What is the biggest sacrifice you've made throughout your journey of becoming a blogger and entrepreneur?
N: I would say the biggest sacrifice I made throughout my journey was quitting my full time job at Nordstrom in January of 2017! It was the scariest thing ever. I made the decision and didn’t consult with anyone; friends or family. I literally told myself I was going to quit by a certain time because I wasn’t truly fulfilling my purpose there, and now here I am!
K: What are great resources for women to use for those who may have experienced sexual assault?
N: Great resources for women are any local crisis response centers! Any crisis hotline, women’s resource center/ student health at any college, local support groups are all great resources for women that have experienced assault.
K: Are you working on any new projects that we can look forward to in the future?
N: I am looking forward to having a support group in the community! I am not sure of an exact date, but it will happen. We have also collaborated with the lovely empowerment coach, A. Richbook of Durham, NC on this event called “The Lotus Gathering.” This event is to inspire and empower victims and non-victims to take back their power through connecting with themselves through love. It is our goal to aid people (mostly women) in truly understanding the multifaceted experiences of domestic violence. If they've been affected, we want to provide a safe space for a jumpstart to healing. It will be an annual domestic violence awareness event. This past October was our introductory year, but we plan to expand next year and make it even bigger!
K: What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
N: I would tell any aspiring entrepreneur to stay true to yourself, don’t be afraid of your first “NO”, and make time for self care. Self care is imperative and you can not serve others if you don’t treat yourself well!
K: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
N: You can all follow me on social media! IG: NadiyahForever, Business IG: WorthyWomenNC, and website: wwshopnc.com!
I would like to send a special thank you to Nadiyah for taking time out of her schedule to interview with me! It was super fun doing this interview, and I had a great time talking consent, self-care, and women's empowerment, with such a sweet, passionate individual! In our society today, creating consent culture is so important! It all starts with a healthy conversation! I can't wait to see more amazing moments from you! Thank you for sharing your light with us! Thank you for reading, and thank you for allowing me to share my soul with yours! Happy #SoulfulSunday! Share, like, comment! Tell us what you think!
WE ARE WORTHY.