I believe each individual should have power to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, no matter what age that person happens to be.
Patricia is a member of the Young Women of Color Leadership Council.
My need to be an advocate developed at a very young age. Ever since I was 7 years old, I knew that I wanted to help women. Back then, I thought the only way to do that was to become a domestic violence lawyer. Since then, I have broadened my horizon as to how I can actually help. I had an alternative childhood to say the lease. Being raised by divorced parents lead to me moving around a great deal when I was a child and was put into many unfortunate situations. By the age of 9, I was a survivor of domestic violence and rape, so I am extremely proud of how many odds I have beaten in order to make it to a position to advocate for others.
My first major experience in advocacy was a seven month long internship with the House of Ruth legal clinic. There I assisted the lawyers with the case processes. I helped provide victims of domestic violence with information about legal options, assisted victims in obtaining legal protective orders, peace orders and emergency family maintenance. I also attended seminars with my sponsor that focused on advocacy for battered women. This experience also introduced me to many different areas that I could get involved with, including sexual reproductive rights and policy making.
Sexual and reproductive health for the youth of our country is a very important cause, which attracted me to Advocates for Youth. Personally, I have been in the position where my future greatly depended on the birth control and abortion laws in place at the time. I was able to received help from Planned Parenthood which allowed me to continue to attend the University of Maryland. I have a very personal experience that allows me to value the rights that organizations like Advocates for Youth fight for. My personal experiences also give me passion and motivation to get involved. I believe each individual should have power to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, no matter what age that person happens to be. You are the person who is most affected by your own sexual and reproductive lifestyle, you should have the right to make educated decisions about it.