Survivor, expert and activist Jodee Blanco is one of the country’s pre-eminent voices on the subject of school bullying. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller, Please Stop Laughing At Me: One Woman’s Inspirational Story. A chronicle of her years as the student outcast, the book inspired a movement inside the nation’s schools and has become an American classic. Referred to by many as “the anti-bullying bible,” it is required reading in hundreds of middle and high schools and many universities throughout the country. Please Stop Laughing at Me . . . has also been recognized as an essential resource by The National Crime Prevention Council, The Department of Health & Human Services, the National Association of Youth Courts, Special Olympics, The FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), The American School Counselor’s Association, Teacher Magazine and hundreds of state and local organizations from the PTA and regional law enforcement coalitions to school safety groups.
Blanco’s award winning sequel, Please Stop Laughing at Us . . (BenBella Books), was written in response to the demand for more information from her core audience—teens, teachers, parents and other Adult Survivors of Peer Abuse like herself, who have come to know Blanco as the champion of their cause. It provides advice and solutions set against the backdrop of her dramatic personal and professional journey as the survivor who unexpectedly finds herself the country’s most sought-after anti-bullying activist. Blanco also released a companion journal to Please Stop Laughing At Me... entitled The Please Stop Laughing At Me...Journal: A Safe Place for Us to Talk, in which she helps draw teens out of silence to a place of renewed self-understanding and acceptance. Chock-full of insightful quotes, practical activities, and meaningful questions, Jodee gives young readers a safe place to vent, accompanying them on a guided tour of their deepest thoughts and emotions.
Michele Rosenthal is an award-winning PTSD blogger, bestselling and award-nominated author, founder of HealMyPTSD.com, host of Changing Direction radio, and a former faculty member of the Clinical Development Institute for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. She is also a trauma survivor who struggled with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for over twenty-five years before launching a successful “healing rampage.” Her most recent books are Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity (W. W. Norton) and Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies that Work (Conari Press).
Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was motivated to create it while working as a blood technician with the South African Blood Transfusion Service, during which time she met many rape victims. Ehler mentioned that she was inspired to create RAPEX (later renamed to Rape-aXe) when a patient who had been raped stated, "If only I had teeth down there,” suggesting the myth of the vagina dentata. Initially called RapeX, the name was changed in 2006 upon discovering that RAPEX is also an EU warning system against dangerous goods on the market.
The Rape-aXe is a latex sheath embedded with shafts of sharp, inward-facing barbs that would be worn by a woman in her vagina like a female condom. If an attacker were to attempt vaginal rape, his penis would enter the latex sheath and be snagged by the barbs, causing the attacker excruciating pain during withdrawal and giving the victim time to escape. The condom would remain attached to the attacker's body when he withdrew and could only be removed surgically, which would alert hospital staff and police. Like most condoms, Rape-aXe also usually prevents pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Rape-aXe was unveiled on August 31, 2005 in South Africa. Although media coverage at the time implied that mass production was due to begin in April 2007, the device has never been marketed to the public and it remains unclear whether the product will ever be available for purchase.
Jim Mandelin was born in rural Alberta to a violent, alcoholic, Klu Klux Klan father and a teenage runaway, homeless kid who became Jim’s mother. His grandmother insisted on caring for him and he was taken from his parents to be raised on her farm from infancy until fifteen years of age. Jim never saw his mother again until adulthood. Though his grandmother did her best to care for him, she was confined to a wheelchair and his care became the primary responsibility of his father’s younger siblings. This they did with great resentment and animosity.
Jim endured years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at home and severe bullying at school. At fifteen years old he ran away to the mean streets of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver British Columbia where he continued to be abused, selling drug for the gangs, ending up in prison and being recruited into a motorcycle gang. He became a debt collector for the gang and beat people. Life changed for Jim when at the age of twenty two he entered drug rehab where he had a drug induced heart attack and had a near death experience.
Although Jim’s story is one of great trials and much sadness, he has lived to overcome a life of addiction, prison life and gang violence. With years of painful introspection and therapy Jim was able to stop his self-abuse, violent behavior and develop empathy for himself. The results of this helped Jim to quit a four package a day cigarette habit, completely change his thinking and behavior and to create a holistic health regimen for himself.
With much therapeutic help Jim is now thirty-eight years clean and sober. Jim currently works as an inspirational speaker and counselor sharing his experience and hope with thousands of kids in schools and prisons each year. For the past ten years now he has also taught a course at several Universities to classes of new police officers, prison guards, border guards and parole officers on the topic of Interpersonal Relationships and the Development of Empathy. He is now living happily with his wife (Kids have grown up) in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Linh Do is a social change advocate and has been working on environmental issues for the past six years. She has a background in community organising, campaigning, journalism and strategy development. Linh has worked with a wide array of individuals from high school students to UNEP and the Reuters Foundation. She is a co-founder of OurSay, recreationally the editor of The Verb, and sits on the board of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Linh is signed with BookedOut Agency and is an occasional writer. Linh is currently the community coordinator at Australian Conservation Foundation and in 2013 was named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year and one of Junior Chamber International Outstanding Young Persons of the World. She is based in Melbourne, Australia with extensive experience overseas.