Fuel for Female Empowerment: How Sustainability Expert and Santa Monica Commissioner Elena Christopo
Sustainability expert and
Santa Monica Commissioner of the Status of Women
Sustainability expert and political consultant Elena Christopoulos may be a native of Toronto, Canada, but it’s her work in the United States that makes her one of the most sought after resources for women’s empowerment.
One of 9 multicultural commissioners on the Commission for the Status of Women of Santa Monica, Calif, Christopoulos is dedicated to improving the physical, emotional and mental well-being of women and girls by creating provisions that increase women’s safety. It’s her own story that drives her determination to help others—she knows from personal experience how quickly and unexpectedly a woman’s mental and physical health can be compromised.
WATCH: Elena Christopoulos talks about how she survived her #MeToo sexual assault and how she uses her ordeal to fuel the fire of female empowerment.
Christopoulos was the victim of a heinous college campus sexual assault at age 19 and miraculously lived to tell about it. After weeks in the hospital and years of therapy to help heal her emotional trauma, she believes that “whatever you don’t own, owns you.” To that end Christopoulos discovered soon after that sharing her #MeToo story helped empower others who had similar stories of their own. It also helped the healing process: each time she shared her truth she felt more strongly that “these three men don’t get to own any more of my life.”
Keeping the fire lit for survivors: Elena Christopoulos is joined by founder of the #MeToo movement Tarana Burke and actress Frances Fisher. Photo courtesy: Instagram
Christopoulos joined The She-Compass Show to talk about how she is using her voice and political position to ensure that all women’s voices, especially those that intersect race, class, and gender identity, are heard. “Testifying has enabled me to live fully; this is part of my truth. I have always known what white privilege is and that I have it. If I don’t hold the space for people of color and LGBTQIA people, they’re not even in the picture. The most important thing you can do for a survivor is to believe them. I want to facilitate other survivors telling their story and shine a light to help others.”
“We Believe Anita Hill.” Christopoulos (far right) with (left to right) Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe winning songwriter and hitmaker Diane Warren, actress Frances Fisher and Anita Hill, the woman who made history by sharing her #MeToo story on Capitol Hill in opposition to the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court.
Photo courtesy: Instagram
Christopoulos is a board member of Peace Over Violence, a non-profit, community-and-volunteer centered organization “dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities that are free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence.” She has also received several awards for her commitment to empowering women, including mayoral recognition for her participation in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Christopoulos and the City of Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women.
Photo courtesy: Instagram
Christopoulos is also a current board member of Buzz, LLC, a start-up social impact technology company focused on creating software and hardware that addresses campus sexual assault. The company’s introductory product scheduled for 2019 release is a wearable bracelet that connects young adults and encourages empathy and safety for one another.
Christopoulos is focused on ensuring that all women’s voices are heard and wants to use her platform to remind survivors that they can rise from their ordeal as strong women and leaders of their communities.
Christopoulos is focused on ensuring that all women’s voices are heard and wants to use her platform to remind survivors that they can rise from their ordeal as strong women and leaders of their communities. "What I would say to survivors is that I believe you." Photo courtesy: Instagram
“For me to speak my truth was the way that I found healing,” says Christopoulos. “What I would say to survivors is that I believe you and it’s not your fault. I stand with you and support you, and it’s time that this becomes the new normal.” On continuing the fight for empowerment of all women and uplifting intersectional feminism, Christopoulos reminds us that “it’s my job to hold the door open for another woman, to pass the baton on. Sometimes you’re on a path and you don’t know for what reason.”