WE HAVE MOVED!!!

MIHI is exceedingly excited to announce that we have moved over to our new website. We got to many hits on our blog to remain a blog (a great problem to have, I assure you)! I am so in love with the new site. Thank you so much to all who have given financially to make this possible. I am so incredibly grateful! Our regular blogging will resume tomorrow. All the glory to God!

OUR NEW WEBSITE: WWW.MADEINHISIMAGE.ORG

Thanks for all of the love and support,

Maura Byrne

Founder & President

So does that mean rape and an ice cream are okay?

Along with every other American last week, I watched the second Presidential debate. Afterwards, I posted a status on Made in His Image’s facebook wall that produced countless emails of disgust and support. I posted about President Obama’s comment in regards to Planned Parenthood offering mammograms to women. To which I replied, (and I paraphrase because I’m flying back to Nashville and don’t want to spend $9.95 for internet access to check the exact wording), Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms they just kill innocent babies.

Being the president of a non-profit organization, I learned early on not to take people’s comments personally, especially when countless people are trying to offer me advice on how to run the organization. One reader did make a comment saying that I shouldn’t bring the election into the realm of inspiration that Made in His image offers. I felt compelled to respond because I vehemently oppose that statement.

Everyday Made in His Image advocates for women who have been physically and sexually assaulted. In short, women that have been violated and who are exceedingly vulnerable. I have given everything to this mission, sometimes living month to month not knowing how I am going to pay my rent, car insurance, etc. I do it because I know God has called me to this beautiful task, even though at times it’s exceedingly scary and uncertain.

If Made in His Image is going to protect victims and survivors of physical and sexual assault then shouldn’t we also be a voice for the most vulnerable human beings on earth – the unborn? We would be contradicting ourselves if we didn’t. I’d give my last drop of blood for an unborn child and Made in His Image joyfully and strongly supports the right to life from conception until nature death.

I am aware that Planned Parenthood doesn’t just do abortions and I’m sure some of their “other” services have helped women in financial need. But because they do abortions we can not support them. The evil of murdering a human life outweighs any other “good” they are doing. According to the FBI, murder is the highest level of crime, with rape second to it. What if a young girl was raped and then taken to ice cream by the same person. Don’t you think the evil outweighs the “good” deed here? The same is true with Planned Parenthood. You can’t kill a child and offer counseling services, etc and claim to do “good” deeds. That my friends, is seer hypocrisy.

A woman once told me that her baby was the size of a lemon. The sad truth, babies the size of lemons are being aborted daily. People say, Oh they can’t feel anything, referring to the baby. Who are we to say what the baby can or cannot feel. Have you ever cut your finger peeling potatoes or slicing vegetables? Did you feel it? Of course you did. Well, your finger is smaller than the size of a lemon.

Paul Ryan brilliantly stated in the Vice Presidential debate that yes he is Catholic, but he doesn’t necessarily believe in the right to life from conception until natural death because of his Catholic faith. He said he believes that the unborn are alive due to science. I thought his philosophy was beautifully stated.

In reality you should base your vote this election on one principle alone – which candidate believes in the unprecedented sacredness of human life. Because after all, if a child isn’t given a fighting chance to live, then who the heck cares about tax cuts, budgets, gun control, etc. Because if aborted, he or she wouldn’t even be alive to pay taxes in the first place.

Exciting News!

Thank you so much for visiting Made in His Image’s blog, I am exceedingly grateful for your support! Thank you so much to those who have given financially, I am so incredibly thankful, as MIHI runs on donations. God has truly blessed Made in His Image and we are almost a year old. ‎And we are getting a new website!!!!! I’m very exciting! The new website is madeinHisimage.org and it will be launched soon! I will resume my regular blogging as soon as we launch the site. I can’t wait to show you!!

I was raped, can you help me?

Since the launch of Made in His Image, we have received thousands of emails. Some of the most heart wrenching to read involve the following. I was abused, can you please help me? I don’t know what to do and I feel like abuse is all I’m good for. My boyfriend/father is abusive, how do I get out? I was raped/sexually abused, what do I do now? I feel gross all the time after the abuse, can you help me? What happens after a sexually assault? What do I do?

Should I Report My Attack to the Police?

We hope you will decide to report your attack to the police. While there’s no way to change what happened to you, you can seek justice while helping to stop it from happening to someone else. Reporting to the police is the key to preventing sexual assault: every time we lock up a rapist, we’re preventing him or her from committing another attack. It’s the most effective tool that exists to prevent future rapes. In the end, though, whether or not to report is your decision to make.

How do I report the rape to police?

Call 911 (or ask a friend to call) to report your rape to police. Or, visit a hospital emergency room or your own doctor and ask them to call the police for you. If you visit the emergency room and tell the nurse you have been raped, the hospital will generally perform a sexual assault forensic examination. This involves collecting evidence of the attack, such as hairs, fluids and fibers, and preserving the evidence for forensic analysis. In most areas, the local rape crisis center can provide someone to accompany you, if you wish. Call 1.800.656.HOPE to contact the center in your area.

Can I report to police even if I have no physical injuries?

Yes. In fact, most rapes do not result in physical injuries. So, the lack of such injuries should not deter you from reporting.

The rapist got scared away before finishing the attack. Can I still report it?

Yes. Attempted rape is still a serious crime and should be reported.

I knew the person who raped me and invited him/her in. Can I still report it?

Yes. About 2/3 of victims know their attacker. And the fact that you were voluntarily together, or even invited him/her home with you, does not change anything. Rape is a serious crime, no matter what the circumstances.

I’m afraid that my actions will be scrutinized and I’ll have to testify about intimate details of my personal life.

Many successful prosecutions end in a plea agreement, without trial, which means that the victim will not have to testify. However if your case does go to trial, you will generally have to testify. Although there are no guarantees, prosecutors have legal tools they can use to protect you in court. One tool is called a rape shield law, which limits what the defense can ask you about your prior sexual history. The prosecutor can also file legal motions to try to protect you from having to disclose personal information

If you are worried about having to testify about intimate matters such as your own sexual history, let the police or prosecutor know about your concerns. They can explain the laws in your state and help you understand what might happen if you do go to trial.

For these and other questions, please read the complete article by clicking HERE. And please don’t hesitate to contact MIHI for further help. We exists to serve YOU!

Finding Mr. Right

I mean forget dating, what about just finding Mr. Right? Pretty challenging huh? A woman wrote to Made in His Image, I live in an area where the majority of the population is incredibly spiritually ill, and its like if I am supposed to ever find someone to spend the rest of my life with I have to succumb to that as well.

I know a gentleman who was attracted to a Catholic woman’s beauty. He desperately wanted to date her, but every time he asked her out, she said no. After several rejections, he smartly figured out that he would have to change his lifestyle if he was to win her heart. He started going to Mass, praying, and living morally. He continued to develop his relationship with God, then asked her out again. She said yes, and today they are married.

A woman by her very nature is a mystery. And when she conducts herself in accordance with the way in which God created her, she reflects this beauty and appeal in a unique way. When a woman is authentic, she calls a man to a higher standard by her very nature. Men are naturally attracted to her authentic beauty and integrity.

Don’t ever conform to immorality to attract a man. You are worth more than that. In fact, your worth is beyond human comprehension. God created the universe, surely he didn’t forget about your future. Every woman yearns for a man who is going to protect and cherish her. My question for you is: are you conducting yourself in such a way to attract a virtuous man? Embrace the beauty of your femininity, and you will inspire a man to step up. 

So, instead of finding him, let him find you. Men have an inherent desire to pursue a woman, let them do that.

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

The Readers Weigh In: Women and Pornography

Made in His Image is exceedingly grateful to New Advent for promoting our blog!! Yesterday’s post “Let Her Speak: Women and Pornography” produced countless emails and responses. Thank you so much to all who have written. It’s my hope, that the following will be a source of inspiration and healing to you.

A reader writes, I stumbled upon your blog though a link on New Advent. Your recent blog post, “Pornography: Not just a Man’s Problem,” tackles a subject that doesn’t receive enough attention, women can become addicted to porn, just like men. As a woman who struggles with porn, I have a suggestion for a resource for your readers: “Pure Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Integrity.” A few things to note about this book, the writer is not Catholic (there’s nothing anti-Catholic in the book); the book is aimed at all women who are experiencing problems staying chaste, not just at women with a pornography addiction, though there is one chapter that specifically addresses porn; and I found it presented some of the same ideas as Theology of the Body, but was a much easier read. As someone who has struggled with pornography and masturbation, the book was very helpful to me.

Other things that have helped me in my struggle: frequent Mass and Confession, prayers to St. Joseph, patron saint of purity, the Rosary, lots of Bible reading, and patience. I have lots of patience with others, but when it comes to myself, I forget that I’m not perfect and that habits can be hard to break. Although once in a while, I need to give myself a good talking to, I have a history of self harm and eating disorders, and it is far to easy for me to slip back into destructive patterns. So, I try to be patient with myself.

I’m glad that you and others have drawn attention to the problem of women and pornography.  When I first admitted I had a problem, I could hardly find resources on women and chastity, much less anything on women and pornography! Everyone seemed to be assuming that women didn’t need help with chastity. There’s nothing quite so lonely as believing yourself to be the only person in the world with a certain problem! Not that I’m glad other women have this problem, but when I heard about other women with a porn problem, it comforted me to know that other women were in the same boat. The greater comfort came from hearing that there were women who had conquered the problem.

Another reader writes, One resource that is outstanding for both men and women is the book of meditations called “Clean of Heart” by Rosemarie Scott. It’s the best Catholic resource that I have found for helping to heal these sins.

Another reader concurred, I agree. This book really helped to turn my life around, and it isn’t geared toward men specifically at all. Good luck and God bless to all who struggle. 

Another gentleman wrote, I recommend another wonderful and useful book: Neal Lozano “Unbound.” No doubt, it will change your way of thinking on this matter. Blessings!

Justin wrote, pornnomore.com is a good site for those struggling with this issue and is geared towards Catholics who want to be serious about the Faith and about recovering from porn and other sins against purity. Anyone that says pornography is harmless needs a reality check. It does deep damage to people on almost every level. I will offer up a decade of the rosary for all who struggle with this.

Always remember, “We are not the sum of our failures, but of our Father’s love.” – Blessed John Paul II

Let Her Speak: Women and Pornography

The following was sent to me by a very brave woman. I thank her immensely for her candor, courage and willingness to share her story to help other women who are struggling with an addiction to pornography. May she be greatly blessed and always know how loved she is.

I was twelve and browsing on a website my sister showed me.  A harmless website, she thought, just little quizzes, “What Superhero are you?” “What planet are you most like?” One day, I clicked on a link and my life changed.  There were stories on the website too.  Many of them were harmless stories, but several of them were hard-core erotica.  The first one I clicked was a fairly tame story, but soon I was into some very depraved stuff.  I soon found other websites, easier to navigate, more stories.  I didn’t admit to myself that I had a problem or that it was a sin for two years.  By that point, I was reading and watching porn almost every day.

My addiction to pornography led to other problems, even before I admitted it was a problem.  I had such strong feelings of self-hatred that I frequently cut myself and periodically stopped eating.  After I admitted I had a porn problem, the cutting temporarily got worse.  I thought I was disgusting  and horrible and cut to make myself feel better.  Then I would feel horrible for cutting and eventually cut again to punish myself for being horrible.  It makes no sense, but if there is one thing I’ve learned its that I, like every other human, am not always rational.

Recovery is an ongoing process.  I am both blessed and cursed with a wonderful memory and porn is designed to stick in your head.  The images and words still come back to me, generally when I least expect it.  Confession is a weekly must and I make it to daily Mass as often as possible.  Every night I make an examination of conscience paying close attention to the slightest lack of purity.  I ask St. Joseph’s intercession daily for purity and try to pray the Rosary every day.  Every night I read the Bible and a chapter or two of some spiritual book.  And most of all, I have patience with myself.  When I fall, I remember how far I’ve come and how much God loves me.  Then I rush off to Confession to try again.

Before A Man Can Tell You

As women, we are very vulnerable to what we hear. Sure, it’s nice to hear that you are beautiful, but true confidence is believing it in your heart. You need to get comfortable in who God created you to be, before you would even believe what a man told you anyway.

Nothing compares to the beauty, the confidence, the Truth and the joy of knowing that you are created with a purpose, created by a loving Father, and that you are beautiful because you have His hand print on your soul.

You are a daughter of God and you are beautiful, because He created you. God doesn’t create ugly, it would go against His very nature. He can only create beautiful and that’s what you are.

So you see my dear readers, there is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in her inherent dignity as a daughter of God. She is capable of anything she puts her mind to. There is a gentle beauty in her strength, courage and determination, for she perseveres despite pain, loss and suffering. There is beauty in a woman who falls and then rises, again and again. There is immense beauty in a woman who loves.

A woman who embraces the beauty of her feminine genius is a strong woman. She feels deeply, yet is sensitive and compassionate to those who suffer, she feels their pain. She loves passionately, has a gentle spirit and giving heart. A strong woman finds her peace and joy in the Father. A strong woman who embraces the beauty of her femininity is a gift to this world.

You are beautiful.

You are valuable.

You are enough.

   You are made in His Image.