Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix

For those of you who have teenagers, you know what this time of the year is….Prom Season.  Our daughter, Allison, has modeled her red gown from Frills and Fancies many times around our home.  Now, with only two weeks to go until the big event, she has added the shoes and dazzling earrings to complete the beautiful masterpiece.  Indeed, it’s a magical time in the life of a teenage girl. 

Prom night, unfortunately, can also become a massive party night and an opportunity as a drinking rite of passage for some adolescents.  The reason I bring this up is statistical evidence that alcohol mixed with teenagers under 21 sprinkled with binge drinking can end up creating the opportunity for date rape. Although our girls are not yet in college, they are only one year away from enrolling at a university.  As parents, let’s become educated and aware of how vulnerable our children can be when alcohol is allowed into the picture.  Let’s keep our prom….and our girls….safe!

Read the following statistics: 

o   In 2004, there were about 210,000 rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults in the U.S. (2)
o   About 44% of rape victims are under age 18 (3)
  • An estimated 80 percent to 92 percent of all teen rape victims know their attackers. (4)
o   Because these crimes often occur in situations where drugs and alcohol are being used, many teen victims are reluctant to report date rape due to their own illegal drug use or underage drinking at the time they were assaulted. (5)

More statistics from the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Arizona, published in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol:

o   Ninety percent of all crime on college campuses, including rape and murder, is alcohol-related.  Rape is more common on college campuses with higher rates of binge drinking – and alcohol use is a central factor in most college rapes.
o   Overall, one in 20 (4.7 percent) women reported being raped in college since the beginning of the school year – a period of approximately 7 months – and nearly three-quarters of those rapes (72 percent) happened when the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse.
o   Most significantly, women from colleges with medium and high binge-drinking rates had more than a 1.5-fold increased chance of being raped while intoxicated than those from schools with low binge- drinking rates. Other significant risk factors for rape were being under 21 years old, white, residing in sorority houses, using illicit drugs and binge drinking in high school.
o   Heavy episodic drinking (or binge drinking) is the number one public health problem among college students
o   Men need education about what constitutes rape, and women should be better informed of strategies to avoid risky situations. Previous research shows that more women get raped while under the influence of alcohol than under the influence of any other so-called ‘date rape’
o   Binge drinking isn’t a harmless rite of passage but a risk factor in violence against women.
For more information about signs, symptoms and treatment of teen drug abuse, you may find The National Organization of Students Against Substance Abuse website a resource you can use.

Teen Date Rape Sources:

  1. Project on the Status and Education of Women [online]
  2. 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey [online]
  3. RAINN – The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network [online]
  4. Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault [online]
  5. Cincinnati Children’s Organization [online]

Spring Break Travel Safety Tips

Our daughter Morgan will travel to Jamaica in two days for a week-long mission trip as part of UGA’s Freshley.  As parents, we worry, of course, about our children and especially in this case ask for travel mercies as she journeys almost 1,000 miles away to Hunney Bay located between Montego Bay and Kingston.  Many of our children will begin departing for spring break in less than 48 hours.  I offer these tips for women of all ages for travel safely.  See the article in the “Living the Vibrant Life” at Phi Mu National’s website at

Reclaiming my Life….Bit by Bit

Yesterday I visited Dr. Marc Bisseck, a plastic surgeon in Statesboro, and did something I would never have considered years ago….I allowed myself a BOTOX treatment.
As Dr. Bisseck was administering the injections, I began thinking about the sexual assault impact statement I had written almost two years ago in Dr. Ellen Emerson’s office. I was trying to put my life back together. I remember well recording, “The skin tissue around my eyes has been terribly impacted by the assault, due to those painful years of weeping seemingly ever ongoing. My eyes once cheery and bright, were a harsh reminder of my pain.”
Many view Botox as vanity, but in my case, I claim it as empowering myself to rid physical scars allowing the return of a renewed beauty, as I began finding the true Jenny Lynn again.  And guess, what?  The once solid tenor of my voice is returning as well. But that’s not from BOTOX. That’s prayer at work.
As you watch the video of my addressing a press conference regarding sexual violation held at the state Capitol last week, think for a moment about what can you do today to begin bettering yourself, leading to a much needed and deserved restoration.

Sexual Violence…It is OK to Talk about It!

Every 2 minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted.  In 1990, I would have never dreamed I would become a sexual assault statistic.  But indeed I did. Now, 22 years later, I will stand in the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 2nd at the Stop Violence Against Women Day and speak at noon at a press conference about what it means to be a survivor of sexual assualt. Take a moment and look at the information provided of Georgia’s statistics and share this with others. 

Loving Being A Google Alerts Gal

I admit freely…I love Google Alerts!  I have my computer set with the words “Room 939” and any time Google “crawls” upon it, it alerts me that new content about my book is on the worldwide web.
Google Alerts are useful to:

  • monitor a developing news story
  • keep current on a competitor or industry
  • learn where you or your company is cited or quoted
  • get the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keep tabs on your favorite sports teams
  • find when people link to your site
  • discover new websites on a certain topic

This morning an email popped up with Google Alert in the subject line.  As always, my heart raced with anticipation of who is out there talking about my book.

Today it was Matilda Butler and  Kendra Bonnett who publish Women’s Memoirs, a blog dedicated to women who are writing memoirs, journaling, storytelling, and sharing memoirs.  They have about 5000 unique visitors per month.  A couple months ago, I was interviewed by Matilda and I’ve enjoyed seeing the power of digital marketing in generating buzz about my book.  Thanks to Tynicka Battle of Think Tank Digital, Women’s Memoirs has highlighted my book twice now.

I’ll share the link to Women’s Memoirs below for all of my 939 friends to read.

And again, thanks for all your support in my journey to healing.

Jenny Lynn

Suffering can Produce Meaning in Life

I had the opportunity recently to have lunch in Statesboro with Mike Ryan who is the Op-Ed Editor of The Augusta Chronicle.  He also happens to be the author of The Last Freedom, a book about the life of Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor.  In the book, Dr. Frankl shares a parable: “A man came upon three stonecutters and asked the firs one what they were doing.  ‘Cutting stone — what does it look like?’ the first one sharply replied.  He asked the second one, who answered, ‘Making a cornerstone, of course!’  He then asked the third stonecutter what he was doing.  This one put down his tools, brushed off his hands and announced proudly, ‘Making a cathedral.”
The parable illustrates that meaning can be found in life, at any time and in all sorts of situations.  Dr. Frankl believed that human beings can find meaning in life from 1)creating a work or doing a deed 2)experiencing your values, specifically by loving another person and 3)suffering.  He states that “when faced with unavoidable suffering, one often finds opportunities for great meaning — most prominent among them the opportunity to face up to your suffering with dignity and with a sense of purpose.”
I believe that is what has happened in my life with the writing of “Room 939.”  Today I travel to Atlanta to meet with 40 friends of Beth Brannen Chandler’s at her home to share my message of hope and healing.  Dr. Frankl taught that we should not ask what we can expect from life—rather, what life expects of us.
What does life expect of you?