Hey! I’m Chantelle Baxter – a 27 year old Australian whose currently living in Melbourne, Australia.
I spend most of my time working on One Girl, a non-profit organisation that I co-founded in April 2009. Did you know that 60 MILLION girls around the world aren’t in school? That’s almost three times the population of Australia. When a girl doesn’t have the opportunity to go to school, there’s a strong chance she’ll be forced into marriage and pregnant before her 18th birthday. Her risk of contracting HIV / AIDs sky rockets, and her children are less likely to live past the age of 5.
I exist to be of service to those 60 million girls. The One Girl team work their bums off to provide education scholarships to girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa. We’re also starting a business called LaunchPad – it sells low cost eco-friendly sanitary pads. You can find out more about that at the One Girl site.
I’m a Vagina Warrior. Eve Ensler coined the term. A vagina warrior is : a vagina friendly person of any gender who embodies the spirit of equality and empowerment, and assists in the battle to end violence against women. More often than not, a Vagina Warrior has experienced some kind of violence first hand, and they use that experience as the motivation behind their work. If you haven’t heard of Eve Ensler you should check out her TED talks – she’s a rockstar.
And I know I’m not the only Vagina Warrior around here.
Did you know that 1 in 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime?
I’m one those statistics. For those of you who’ve experienced physical violence, I get it. For those who’ve been sexually abused or assaulted, I get it. For those of you’ve had an abortion because you were way too young to have a kid, I get it. For those of you who’ve used drugs and alcohol to cover up the pain, I get it. For those of you who’ve been impacted by suicide, I get it.
And for those of you who’ve read this far, I know that you ‘get’ it too. There’s a code of silence around these issues. I’m here to change that.
Life is challenging for the women and girls of the world. From the second we’re born, we’re told we’re not enough. We’re squished down, repressed and constantly expected to change in order to ‘fit in’ with what society considers the norm. Well I’ve haven’t done that, and I don’t want you to do that either. Please, stop hiding yourself. There’s a Vagina Warrior in you. Let her out. The world needs you to shine.
I’ve achieved some awesome things when I’ve given myself permission to shine.
When I was 20 I won a penthouse apartment rent-free for an entire year. Oh, and a house cleaner was included the deal. Yes, my first experience of moving out of home was into a penthouse apartment – talk about high expectations for the rest of my life..
When I was 21 I purchased my own city apartment with the view of becoming a property mogul and retiring by the time I was 30.
When I was 23 I started a web design company that turned over $130,000 in it’s first year of operation.
When I was 24, I went on a one month volunteer trip to Sierra Leone to help build a primary school. I returned ‘a changed woman’, and 6 months later I co-founded One Girl, a non-profit organisation that works with women and girls in Sierra Leone.
When I was 25 I began to embrace my past and pay attention to the areas that needed healing. I couldn’t have done this without my mentors, my best-friend (@davedixon), a brilliant support team and yoga.
When I turned 26 I decided I’d had enough of working 12 hour days in Melbourne. I sold my apartment and moved to Bali to continue my journey of healing. I’m currently training to become a Venus Yoga Teacher. Venus Yoga is yoga specifically for women and girls. It works on healing areas of our body where we hold a lot of emotional and past pain.
And so here we are. There have been ecstatic highs and painful lows, but it’s all gotten me here. And shit, I’m happy to be here.
For a long time I believed that there was something wrong with me. That I was somehow broken, or completely rotten – right to the core. And I know you’ve felt that too. That’s why I’ve created Beyond Venus. We’re a community of women who are connecting with our inner compass, healing through our pain and becoming the fullest, juiciest, out there expression of ourselves. Why? Coz we’re fucking perfect – just the way we are. There is a feminine revolution coming – your participation is required.