Resource Spotlight – Brandy Carrasco, Gimme A Voice
The more I do this work, the more I get to meet amazing people who have recovered from sexual harassment and are doing inspiring things as a result of their recovery. Brandy Carrasco, with Gimme A Voice, is one example and the first San Diego business to be a Resource Spotlight on Stories from Athena’s Garden.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Brandy at the SCORE Women’s Networking Breakfast. On the recommendation of a friend, she very boldly came up to me and introduced herself in the brief moments we had before the breakfast began. As a budding business woman in San Diego, her elevator pitch was beautifully on target. We quickly connected in person and on Instagram! I was immediately impressed by her passion and her mission and the synergies that they had in common with Stories from Athena’s Garden.
This week, we had the opportunity to connect and this time I had the opportunity to learn more about her. Having overcome childhood poverty, school bullying, and workplace sexual harassment, Brandy is turning her healing into social action and her own small business.
“Many things happened in my life that drove me to create Gimme,” she began. Insightfully, she started with the earliest stories in her young childhood. She was raised in poverty and with tough love. Other students at school teased and bullied her for it. Very self-aware, Brandy sees how these oppressive experiences “trained” her to become very introverted and a people pleaser. When she began being sexually harassed at work, she had not yet had the training she needed to stand up to her office place bully, but she found her voice and called on HR.
Brandy has recovered from her traumas and has recently decided to launch an apparel company, Gimme A Voice, to help all women tap into our natural, powerful voices.
At the gym, in yoga class, out shopping, her stylish tank tops are a subtle way of sending a message to other people. It lets you wear the words you want everyone you come across to use when relating to you.
Is she the first to design a line of clothing for victims of mistreatment? She hasn’t found another yet, but she’s keeping her eye out!
Ultimately, she wants to build a sense of community so that every mistreated victim knows that they are not alone. There is strength in unity.
In the short term, she is building a strong following on Instagram and encouraging women to help spread unity and empowerment for women by tagging #gimmeavoice with their own images and stories. So far, she has 999 followers – you can be the 1000th!
How does she want to achieve her vision in the long term?
She visualizes a recurring event to give women the opportunity to share their stories. The speakers would be everyday women. Women who have lots of influence, especially those that have been through it, but never get the chance to be heard.
She also sees the need to connect women, victims of domestic violence, harassment and bullying, with resources and various activities they need to help them emotionally grow and heal.
Group meditation sessions to help them learn how to be in the moment is just one example.
You can see the synergies, can’t you?!
Being the Change
Brandy is giving women a voice because many still don’t have one. “I didn’t have one, but now I do,” she says with confidence. “The draw [for me to do this work] is to let them know that they are not alone and we can get through these difficulties and struggles together with resources and support.”
To help be a part of the solution, Brandy also gives 10% of her proceeds from her apparel line and future events to domestic violence organizations, such as Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTSADV) – The National Voice of Domestic Violence.
Her Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas
When I talk with people about their experiences with sexual harassment, I like to ask them 3 questions to help us all learn what we can do better the next time someone tries to sexually harass us and to offer insight and examples to those who need to learn how to better respect their colleagues in the workplace. Here are Brandy’s Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas…
1. What should have happened that didn’t?
“After [I was sexually harassed], I went to the right individuals and filed a complaint.”
“I was told to go back and talk to my harasser, but I didn’t want to talk to him. I wish it never happened at all. I didn’t want them to do do anything to jeopardize my job, but I wanted them to talk to him and help him understand how his actions hurt me and impacted my life. I wanted a sincere, genuine apology. When someone from the top comes down to force his apology, it’s not sincere.”
2. What could have happened that didn’t?
“I wish I had confronted him. I would have said something like, ‘When you did X, it made me feel Y. Please don’t do that again.’ I wish I had. But I was in fear of losing my job. Instead, I would always stand against the door frame because I didn’t want to go into his office or get too close to him. I was so disgusted that I had a hard time even touching sheets of paper that he handed to me. But, I had to work with this man. I felt I had no choice.”
“There were others in the office that encouraged me to move my desk, but if I moved, that would have made it worse. Everyone would know something was wrong. So instead, I became quiet, and gave him an attitude of distance.”
“I cried about it. I stressed about it. I prayed about it. I almost quit my job because of it.”
“But then one day, he must have hit the reset button. His behavior changed, and I was able to continue to work well with him. Sometimes, I will still see him and it’s like nothing ever happened. Huge sigh of relief.”
3. What would life had been like if the shouldas and couldas had happened?
“It would have made things easier if he had not harassed me. It was such an ugly, ugly feeling. It would have saved a lot of stress and grief. This all started within the first 6 months in his new position.”
“The whole time I was aggressively looked for another job. I almost quit, without another job in hand. I persisted. I kept telling myself ‘I need to survive. I need this money.’ I had to be really disciplined and not give up.”
Connect with Gimme A Voice