Student life network: "How this rape survivor is healing others with her pain"

"The unexpected aftermath.

“I obviously knew that rape would immensely impact a person, but I didn’t know that extent of that,” she said. “I became really, really depressed and felt like all of my world views were smashed.”

Now, the 23-year-old Ryerson student is using her pain to change the conversation around sexual violence and helping others heal.

“After that experience, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Normalcy felt really weird and I just started writing for my own sake to process things and for an outlet.”

And she didn’t put her pen down.

“It became a really important therapy for me and allowed me to take all these destructive thoughts and turn them into creations.” 

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nasty women's press: an interview with marlee about re-humanize, the book & movement

"After I attended Re-Humanize’s event Dance Up a Movement and felt that community's power, Marlee and I sat down to discuss her book.

NF: Your book starts with your experience of being sexually assaulted through incredibly poignant poetry. It continues with a broadening of your subject and with the use of second person, “you”. You encourage the reader to think about objectification, success, power, and other constructs prevalent in society as well as “fierce compassion”, “victim blaming”, “mental health” and other topics that are all interwoven. What do you hope that readers ultimately take away from your book?

ML: That was my process. At first it was narrowed into the horror of sexual assault but as I was navigating survival I realized how every area of my life was affected by this one incident. The way that bodies are objectified and commoditized in the media was a trigger. Even Trump being elected felt related. It comes to a place where we consider “how are we treating others as humans?” and a really broad look at pain.

People can come at it from various places.

What I hope comes out of it is that people give themselves permission to feel their pain and look at their wounds so deeply they realize how much healing is required. Pain gets swept under the rug and we don’t realize how much there is to deal with. There is such a gift for us if we are able to look at our pain and see how much healing is required. I felt more called than ever to see how we can radiate love and healing. It begins with our own healing before we can radiate it outwards. This book and this movement and the community it creates around it can create this safe space.

It really challenges the idea that survivors should be silent, or thinking that we have to deal with this in silence when so many of us are sharing this pain and really challenging that notion."

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nasty women's press: Read about re-humanize and our december dance-based fundraiser

"This event created a safer space for people to rediscover themselves and their bodies in a world that is often violent towards us. Dance Up a Movement helped participants reclaim their bodies in a society where objectification, sexual assault and gender-based violence are rampant. Dance seems like a strange medium to do this work, as an art form that is often associated with objectification and perfection of movement for audiences."

“Rather than focusing on the perpetrators,
let’s focus on ourselves and reclaim the space we deserve." - Marlee Liss

"Reba Campbell, also known as Dancing Wildfire and founder of Badass Body Love movement, continued the night by encouraging participants to love our bodies while we dance. Reba asked participants to consider that the bodies we inhabit are “magical adventure suits that we are born in” and that it is incredibly important to “love them and claim them”. This, however, often feels difficult in a world where, for many of us, our bodies are assaulted on a regular basis.

I had the opportunity to ask Reba what it is about dance specifically that can potentially help us love our bodies despite the negative experiences we may experience through them.

“There is this idea that has been given to me that all of our issues also lie in our tissues. The trauma stays within our body spaces. So movement and dance and reclaiming the playfulness, the freedom, the power allows us to move those emotional spaces and move the trauma so that there is a different way of engaging with it"

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Check out this yorkregion.com & sister newspaper's feature on marlee and the re-humanize story

"That’s what the #MeToo movement is doing, she says, and what she is trying to do, too.

Since ancient times, around the world, sexual assault has been happening and swept under a rug, she says. “I feel like now, we’ve picked up the rug and we’re like, oh my God there’s a real mess under here and it’s huge and ugly and devastating!

“But it’s a pivotal and important moment, because we do have to look at the mess in order to truly heal things.”

There is an important ‘What’s Next’ movement that has to happen now, she says.

“We can’t just stare at the mess for the next year.”

Liss hopes to be part of that What’s Next movement.

Her writing has been published in a book called Re-Humanize, and she has launched a campaign under the same name, hosting gatherings that bring awareness, promote healing and raise funds for the End Rape on Campus campaign.

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Listen to Marlee's interview with Rudy Blair Media on re-Humanize: Dance up a movement


Check out

The Re-HUmanize Movement youtube channel

Featuring weekly videos with Marlee Liss and Tessa Kuz.

"We invite you to join us as we, Marlee and Tessa, use this channel to raise awareness and questions around humanity's current state. Based upon Marlee Liss's book "Re-Humanize" we are offering heart-softening remembrance of what it means to be human, built upon liberating expectations of connection and love. Join the Movement & help us Re-Humanize the world!" 


read marlee's article for liquido active: celebrating body resilience on and off the mat

When I first began practicing yoga, my intentions were pretty surface level. I was coming from a dance background and was mainly focused on flexibility, strength, and even weight loss. My whole world and mindset demonstrated a focus on aesthetics that was incredibly detrimental. An upbringing of mirrors, media, and self-comparison had really shaped my sense of worth and the way I approached movement. My ego hates to admit this, but I even competed with those around me, pushing myself deeper into a pose and risking injury if I saw my neighbour was more advanced.

Truthfully, going from an aesthetic sport *world* to a deeply internal experience of yoga *life* has been one of the most lesson-filled gifts.

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check out marlee's article for worth living

"A Rape Survivor on How to be There for a Rape Survivor"

After experiencing sexual violence last year, my focus shifted further away from friends and family and closer towards myself in dealing with my own healing and impact. This is normal and sensible and it should be the whole story, but it’s only part of it really. I had a lot of trouble Receiving and many of my friends had a lot of trouble Giving. I am not discounting the actions of those who stood by me, held me up, moved with me through immense darkness without ever letting go- I will never discount the voices of those that showed me love when I needed proof of it most. Thank you to each of you.

But, I am tired of making silver linings for those who have trouble giving. For those who say things like, “I didn’t say anything to you because I didn’t know what to say” or “I’ve never been through this, so I don’t know how to be there for you”. I am telling you now and I want this to be truly heard: you don’t have to experience the cause of the pain, you just have to know pain itself in order to be there for someone – in other words, you just have to be human. The most validating responses I received were people responding naturally, from the heart or the gut: a nurse saying, “This guy is fu**ed, rape is a monster”. One friend saying, “I know I get awkward in serious situations, but I love you and I will learn to be here for you”. Another friend catching my tears and simply saying, “I am so moved by your emotion right now”.

You just have to hold space. Truly, that is all.

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Check out marlee's blog post for

end rape on campus

Trauma itself is a global earthquake
Relentless hands that shake your world
And when the shaking stops, it has only just begun
Because you look around and become lost in the damage:
The home of your body, it has been destroyed
Your openness to trust collapsed and your sense of safety demolished
It will take us months to count the losses
Everyday you find a new reason to grieve

So ignore them when they tell you to pick up your chin
For they are choosing ignorance in the face of the aftermath
Tell them it is not so easy to move forward
When your entire world is unrecognizable

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