Silence does not help anyone.
This is a motto that Julie Hussey follows as an advocate as well as a mother. She credits being a mother of two boys as the reason for her passion for advocacy. She views silence on important topics like sexuality as a detriment to a person’s knowledge that will eventually leave them unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the topic.
“I knew I was representing women in front of them [my children] and it was really important that I show them confidence in myself and help them become confident in their physicality and sexuality.”
This is why Hussey supports comprehensive health education and has worked towards having an open and honest dialogue about it with her children.
“I want them to be good loving people and part of being a loving person is being comfortable with understanding sexuality.”
Not only does Hussey make sure she teaches her children about sexuality but she also believes that they need to know that information is out there and available for them to find themselves.
She says she models this after her own mother who worked really hard to make sure that both her and her sister knew that information was available and it was important to be empowered by it. She was always grateful that her mother used that approach with her which lead Hussey to instruct her children in the same manner.
“We feel that parents should be the first teacher, but as a teacher, I know that I need to be constantly aware of what’s going on. In this day and age, I know that their friends and their culture is going to be a major teacher. If I want to be a good teacher for my children, I need to make sure that I have the latest information and that I am encouraging them to be getting information from multiple sources. It can’t just be in the house.”
Hussey believes that eliminating the silence on these subjects will benefit everyone- it will help young people make the best decisions for themselves, create more honest relationships, and even help end domestic violence. She has said that “silence works for them” by enabling the perpetrators to continue their abuse without being recognized and stopped.
“We have a long culture of ‘if we don’t talk about it, it will go away’. I think that [talking] is not as comfortable but we have to break that barrier.”
She sees this narrow way of thinking with many legislators in our nation and believes that there needs to be more voices added into the conversations to combat this. That there needs to be more moms, more working women, more young women, adding their voices and getting heard.
“We just need to have a lot of different voices because these are conversations that aren’t just happening in one generation at one time with one group.”
Before she was involved with advocacy, Hussey says she did not realize how easy it was for people to ignore issues and hope they would work out. She credits Tell Them with illustrating the importance of talking about issues like domestic violence and sexual health in our state.
“We are all experiencing sexuality as a part of our humanity. It is something that should bind us together, it shouldn’t be something that separates us.”
As long as our culture chooses to ignore issues because people are not comfortable talking about them, it will only mask the problems. Hussey encourages those who wish to become advocates to empower themselves with information on the issues that they care about and not be afraid to start talking about them.
“Remember that silence is the enemy of the good. We need to be comfortable talking and we shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking about sexual health.”