Kristine Irwin is a wife, a mother, and an advocate for changing our culture. She is the Founder of Voices of Hope, a platform for sexual violence advocacy. She has taken the time to heal from her own rape and has learned steps that have her grow and heal. She hopes that she can help others share their story and unveil their voice no matter what they have been through. Kristine lives in Pittsburgh with her loving Husband, JR, and her two children, Jay and Zella. Her inspiring interview with The I’m Loving Me Project gives women who’ve experienced rape hope and courage.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

When I look in the mirror, I see a woman who has been through hell but has made her way out. I see a strong, brave and smart woman. And while there can be moments of doubt or fear, I remember what it took to get where I am now.

What do you do for a living?

I am a Human Resource Professional, that focuses on Talent Acquisition at Black Box, an organization who is a leading provider for premier IT infrastructure. I am their Senior Recruiter of military and university relations.

Other than my role at Black Box, I run a non-profit called Voice of Hope. Our mission is to change our culture one voice at a time. We battle the stigma that surrounds trauma, including sexual violence and abuse. We do this through education, presentations and campaigns. 

How do you think self-love plays a role in success?

 I had a good friend once tell me that you cannot fully love someone if you do not love yourself. I believe this is also true with success. If you don’t take the time to learn and love yourself, how can you be successful? If you don’t love yourself and success comes to you, then behind the success is a broken-hearted individual. 

Self- love is the key to living the life you have always dreamed. When you love yourself, you are a better person for it. 

How do you think we, as women, can work together to lift each other?

Empower each other. I have learned that one can only do so much but together, we can truly make a difference.

If we take the time to empower each other, we can make a huge impact. And empowering each other can just be a short text, or comment letting a woman in your life know that you are amazing, or are doing a great job.

That can flip someone’s day from the darkest day of their life to the best day.

Have you had any adversities that you’ve had to overcome in order to achieve success?

Yes. I was raped as a freshman in college and the aftermath of the trauma tore up my entire existence. It was difficult to move forward. It was until I practiced radical acceptance, which I didn’t realize that was what I was doing at the time. When I stared my trauma in the face, accepted it and decided to move forward from it help others by sharing my story, I was truly able to heal.

Another adversity was fear. Fear in worrying what other people thought of me and the fear of failure. When I failed, I beat myself up. I would tear myself apart, piece by piece. By realizing that failing actual helped me grow, assisted me in processing failure differently.

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment would be my two children, which both our on this earth because of the path I had to take. This path led me to my best friend, who I had the honoring of marrying, and then I was blessed with my son and daughter. If the steps I took were slightly different on the path, they may not be here.

What inspires you to keep growing?

I have always loved to learn and continue to grow.

But what inspires me is my children. My son, Jay and my daughter, Zella.

They are the reason I developed my nonprofit and I want them to see their mom as a loving, present and passionate individuals.

I want to show them that they can not only love themselves fully but also do anything.

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