Blurred Lines – From actual Rapists.

I am taking a short hiatus, but will be back on November 13th with a brand new blog post on another event that I was fortunate enough to speak at!!

The Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” was a hit song in 2013. It had a good beat and hook, and of course initially I sang right along with it. Although, the more I thought about, the more I realized that this song is walking a fine line in the grey area of consensual sex and assault.

I knew there had to MANY other people that thought this, so I begin researching. And sure enough, I found a great post that I wanted to share.

I will warn you right now, there are triggers in, and even for me it was a little difficult to read. The blog post follows the song lyrics, and then shows pictures of people holding a sign that states what their rapist said to them.

From the mouth of Rapists: The lyrics of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines


Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

11954591_865927280169181_5150418539155885356_n 12011368_865949813500261_4599568949421451556_n 12003214_865951733500069_1313765704547633829_n 11041074_865950756833500_6561690674143908983_n

~ Kristine Irwin

Imagine this. You wake up in a hospital bed, and you have no idea why you are there. You turn to a nurse, and you say, “What am I doing here?” They turn to you and say, “Because you were raped.” What would you do if this was you or a friend telling you this story?

Take a moment and put yourself in that person’s shoes…with the organization called “Walk a Mile Her Shoes,” you can.

Walk a Mile in her Shoes is an organization that was founded back in 2001 by Fred Baird. This event takes the saying, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Its primary focus is men putting on women’s shoes and walking a mile in hope of bringing an end to sexual violence. Today, WaMiHS is a worldwide event with over 100 events taking place during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. It has also expanded to where women also Walk the Mile as well to show that sexual violence knows no boundaries.

Pittsburgh, where I reside, did not have a Walk a Mile Event until 2015. I first heard about the event when PAAR, Pittsburgh’s Action Against Rape, reached out to me to be the keynote speaker. Through correspondence, I was able to meet the amazing Camille Goleb.

Camille moved to Pittsburgh a few years ago and found that Pittsburgh is a city she absolutely loves. After sitting down with her, I was able to gain some insight about her thought process on this event and why she organized it.

Camille had previously participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes during college, where the campus police would participate in the event. She was able to partake in the walk twice.

Once she moved to Pittsburgh and realized that this event had not yet taken place in the city of steel, she wanted to take action and began formulating on how to organize it. Camille choose the date of September 12th and had the event kick off around 6PM. She was able to get sponsors, bands, raffle prizes and had t-shirts made. Many shoes were donated for the men participating. All the money raised from the event was then donated to PAAR. Camille chose PAAR because it is the only Rape Crisis Center in Allegheny County and she felt that all money raised would be donated entirely to the cause.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is such a great statement to get the word out about sexual violence. Camille says that she gets frustrated when people focus on protecting yourself in order to prevent sexual violence. The event truly can make a impact on our society by changing views from victim blaming, and shaming to giving hope to survivors and starting a conversation that educates our culture which includes learning what consent truly is.

When I sat down with Camille and discussed the event, she mentioned some of the negative comments that she had seen on social media about it. She then said that every event is not perfect, but this event does not exclude anyone. As mentioned above, sexual violence knows no boundaries and Walk a Mile can attest to that.

I must say that I have to give a major shout out to Camille for standing up for what she believes in and making a loud proclamation to take a step to end sexual violence. It is truly inspiring and I hope she continues to bring the event back every year.

Thank you, Camille!

KDKA’s Spot on Walk a Mile PGH

#WalkaMile #PAAR #StopRapeEducate #VOH

VOH Excerpt: JR Irwin Raises His Voice

The driving force behind Voices of Hope is to tell the story of my sexual assault through the words of my family and friends. My assault is an experience that goes beyond me, especially because a piece of them was also destroyed when my innocence was taken away.

The first official Voices of Hope excerpt that I will share is from my Husband, JR Irwin.


“When Kristine and I first start dating it was 2011. I remember the first year that we were together when the anniversary of her rape approached. On that day, she was different…not sad, just distant. It was obvious that something was heavily weighing on her. However, since then, her emotional state on that date has become completely different. In 2011, she still felt bad and struggled with blaming herself. Now, in 2015, when that day arrives, it’s no longer spent in a haze of regret and distance. It has now become a day of encouragement and determination! Her sorrows have turned to motivation. If she can have this traumatic event happen and do the amazing things she has, then she can show others that experience sexual violence how it can be turned into something to help save themselves and others. My admiration of her strength and willingness to help others grows daily.

It is very interesting for me to reflect upon JR’s thoughts, because a lot of emotions tend to stir up for me around this time.  During the fall of 2010, I was not in a relationship and posted the following to Facebook:

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it
has all worked together to bring you to this very moment…yet as much as I want to be an advocate for that (because truly I am)…How can I when this is the first time I truly am alone on the anniversary of a particular event in my past that altered my existence.”

Up until 2010, I had always been in relationships during the fall. 2010 was a challenging time to not officially be in one. I knew that I had a great support system with friends and family, but I was still in the mind set that I needed to be in a relationship, when what I really needed was to learn to love myself. It was not until the beginning of 2011 that I truly learned to do that.

During the summer of 2011, JR, my husband, and I began dating.  He was the first man who officially accepted me for who I was at the time and who I was in the past. I remember waking up on 10/10/2011 and the anniversary had become more of an after thought rather than something that was immediately in front of my mind as it had been in previous years.

I feel I can thank JR helping those feelings finally shift in me. Entering this particular relationship was very therapeutic because it opened my eyes to a world that I have never been in before. I was finally able to be open about what had happened to me and not feel ashamed. As time went on in our relationship, my confidence grew stronger because I knew that I had this amazing person standing behind me.

A few weeks ago, I went to a Sexual Assault Counselor training at PAAR (Pittsburgh’s Action Against Rape).  During the training, the organizers shared stories of those who have experienced sexual violence. Both watching and hearing these stories caused tears to well up in my eyes. It was painful to hear about the experiences of others and I was mourning for them. One in particular which stood out involved a little boy, whom after his therapy shared that the wanted to put all the perpetrators in the world on an island so that they couldn’t hurt any one anymore. For that young boy to make such a powerful statement was incredibly eye opening to me.

I know now the fight to end sexual violence will be a long and hard battle, but I hope anyone that has either experienced a sexual violence, knows someone who has experienced it, or just wants to be educated on how to prevent it, takes the time to make a difference and help change our culture!