The Ears to Listen and Understand: Heather Corinna
By OBOS — April 27, 2009
From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Stephanie Kline
Nominee: Heather Corinna, Founder & Editor of Scarleteen
When I think of the word hero, what comes to the front of my mind is someone who is present through all of the tough times. They are the people wanting to make a change, and willing to take the steps others are unwilling or unable to, because of what society, friends, family, and even strangers may believe or say. A hero is the one who remains when there seems to be no other place to turn, the one who offers the helping hand and guidance that was being searched for all along.
With this understanding of a hero, if I were asked to show the world who a true Women’s Health Hero is, I would without hesitation say the Scarleteen organization and its founder Heather Corinna.
Scarleteen is a comprehensive, feminist sexual education resource. Everyday Heather and her volunteers give their time, offer a listening ear, and most importantly offer accurate information to teens and young adults, a group that often receives information that is inaccurate or incomplete.
At Scarleteen, young women are given the knowledge that their sexuality and sexual desires are complete on their own, rather than an answer to, or product of, male sexuality and sexual desire. Here women are encouraged to not only learn about themselves on a holistic level, but also to recognize and respect that the body and genitals of all people are active, engaged parts of a whole, rather than passive or objects.
On a daily basis, Heather and her volunteers work with young women that have a variety of questions ranging through such general areas as their bodies, readiness for any type of sex, contraception, pregnancy and STI risks (as well as how to reduce those risks) and relationships. Guiding the way in which such issues are addressed is Scarleteen’s pro-choice stance, which includes offering information about all the options available and helping women to understand that they have complete sovereignty over their bodies at all times, including during pregnancy, and supporting their right to choose the option that they feel is best for them at any time.
Additionally, Scarleteen volunteers and Heather help by listening and offering guidance – including providing many outside resources – to women who are survivors of rape and abuse. In this, they work to help the women understand that the blame belongs to the abuser, that there are a lot of support networks present, and that they are not alone and never will be.
Scarleteen also serves as a resource for parents, teachers, and other adults, to assist them in understanding teens better, and to help them offer teens information that is age appropriate and comprehensive.
Scarleteen has helped thousands of women in all of these areas, and in countless other ways. Its founder, Heather Corinna, and volunteers are an unending source of support and understanding, and are the epitome of kindness and caring. In their work every day, they are true heroes to women all over the world.
I’m very glad that there is a website for young women to go to for support. Some subjects are just too uncomfortable to discuss with parents and now adays young women often get mislead in what they hear from their peers. Keep up the good work team Scarleteen!
Scarleteen is one of the few support groups I’ve seen that actually lays out all of the facts and options relating to sex. My girlfriend is one of the volunteers, and she really looks up to Heather for what she has created and does to help the people coming to the site and her volunteers. I personally think the site is a great source because it does help everyone – guys and girls alike. I wish I had known about it when I was looking for some of those same supports.
As a father of four as well as a professional sex-ed teacher I highly recommend ST and often refer my young charges to its wise words and thought provoking articles. I have reviewed countless books dealing with teen sexuality and my absolute favorite is Heather’s valuable book. I have given it to several parents and young teens and the response has been phenomenal. Thank goodness for Heather Corinna and her crew. Using teen vernacular, “You are off the chain!”