It is often said that from devastation, hardship or adversity comes a renewed vision and an abundance of blessings. Our challenges are a test of our faith and our ability to persevere so we can become aware of the blessings that await us. Who knows better than CJ Scarlet what adversity means and how it can impact one’s life. From childhood to adulthood, she has experienced one devastation after another. She became a victim of sexual abuse and was raped three times, including being raped by a recruiter while serving in the Marines. Much later in life Scarlet was diagnosed with lupus and scleroderma, two debilitating and possibly deadly autoimmune diseases. It is not what she experienced that impacted her life the most but how she eventually overcame each circumstance and how she changed her mind set and perspective on life, which gave her a new attitude, deep compassion and a renewed vision to serve others. Sometimes when we experience adversity, we ask ourselves, “Why?” But “Why” is not the question to be asked. We should ask ourselves, “How can we use our challenges to gain new insights into our lives and our ability to endure difficulties? How can we use what we’ve learned to positively impact the lives others?” Scarlet is a warrior in every sense of the word. As a former Marine, she has turned her marred life experiences into a passion for protecting humanity from crime. As the founder of 10 for Humanity, she has embarked upon an amazing journey to develop her first product designed to help potential victims of crimes. The new device, called the Tiger Eye Security Sensor, (TESS) will help deter violent crimes before they occur. The mission of 10 for Humanity is to develop 10 solutions to reduce acts of crime and violence by 10% over the next decade. With TESS due to debut in Spring of 2014, Scarlet is destined to achieve her mission. The founder of Exceptional People Magazine was delighted to speak with Scarlet about her life’s passion to help protect millions of people from becoming victims of violent crimes.
Monica: You have had some amazing life experiences that have enabled you to develop faith, perseverance and a positive outlook, despite any difficulties you may face. Would you speak about some of those experiences?
CJ: As a child, I was sexually abused by a neighbor, and while a freshman in college at the age of 19, I was raped by a police officer. I was so traumatized by that experience that when I was assaulted by my Marine recruiter several months later, after initially fighting and failing to stop it, I merely cowered and whimpered. I spent the first 40 years of my life believing there was something inherently wrong with me that made good people do bad things. I thought and behaved like a victim because that was all I knew. Then I got help and took my power back, working through my issues and beginning to stand up to protect myself. I became an advocate for others who had been victimized, running a child advocacy center and serving as Director of Victims Issues for the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. In that office I initiated and co-lead the implementation of the nation’s first statewide automated victim notification system, which notifies crime victims before their perpetrators are released from custody. I also earned a master’s degree with an emphasis on Human Violence and became an international expert on crime victim issues and technology. Monica: You served in the Marine Corps. Can you talk a little about that experience and how it has impacted your life over time in terms of who you are today? CJ: My time in the Marine Corps, while marred by the rape of my recruiter, turned out to be a positive experience. I learned discipline and respect and how to act professionally. I was a photojournalist and got to do something new and exciting every day—riding in tanks, standing on the skids of a Huey helicopter and firing a Gatling gun, interviewing generals and grunts and movie stars—it was a fun job. I believe my Marine Corps experience transformed me into a professional woman with a solid work ethic. Monica: There are not that many women who serve in the Marines. Do you believe there is a particular mindset that women must have -- one that is slightly different than what’s expected of men in order to succeed in the Marine Corps? CJ: Sadly, women in the military still face sexual harassment and assault at much higher rates than in the civilian world. It is possible to have a very positive, rewarding experience, but women need to know that they can and must stand up for themselves.
November-December 2013 | Exceptional People Magazine | 35
Published on Dec 8, 2013
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