Vag What? Who?
So, Who are You?
I'm Vanessa Geffrard.
Geff-what? That's clearly something foreign.
My parents are from Haiti and it's one of my favorite places on Earth!
My last name is French and I'm proud of it.
Haitian? Sex? You've lost your way.
Lol! Well, talking about sex, sexual health, and women are all my favorite things. I haven't lost my way, I just feel that conversation about sex are one of the most important that a person will ever have in their lives... it determines the kinds of relationships we'll have, even the most important one... The relationship to ourselves and our bodies. And you're right, I didn't really have conversations about sex at school or at home, so I'm always pumped because I get to bring those conversations to others!
Sex at school? Girl, what in the world do you do?!
I have the pleasure of teaching sex ed. to the young and to the seasoned and it rocks. Like really rocks. Like I really love it.
Where do you reside?
Okay nosey. Baltimore.
Don't you dare.
Let's keep it to VagEsteem then, what's that? Why that word?
So, VagEsteem is a workshop series I created in 2014 for women. It's also a podcast, that came along in 2016. I created VagEsteem because I realized that once folks hit a certain age, they don't keep up with sex education. Folks leave high school and never learn a new thing about sex... and that's not good.
I also found through my personal work, that women are reluctant to speak about sex openly. Sure, they'll probably talk about it with their gynocologist once a year... but I doubt it's a fun conversation with giggles, loud laughs, sisterhood, experience, and new techniques being discussed... but maybe that's just me.
Third, why not?!?!?! Talking about sex is fun. VagEsteem is not only a noun, it's also a safe, empowering space for women where we learn from each other by having courageous conversations.
Okay, so why couldn't you just name it Sex Education for Women, why VagEsteem?
Well, first of all, "sex education for women" is sorta blah. Would you come to something named that?
Okay then. VagEsteem is a term I coined during a workshop educating the women about "Vag' and body confidence. It became the mantra for all of the workshops. I believe that if women have confidence in themselves, their bodies, especially their vaginas (vulvas)- they are more likely to care for them, love them, and bring them pleasure.
I think so too. I meet so many amazing women and we all end up having a great time. My goal is to create a safe space for women to come together, laugh, and learn. If you're looking for sessions, check back on the website! Thanks so much for coming and feel free to ask a question, request a class for your group or your friends, or leave a comment!
noun| vag·es·teem | vaj·e·steem
1. the concept by which one builds the confidence of/in their vulva and vagina. This confidence leads to a healthy and satisfying sex life.
2. A workshops series and podcast that teaches folks with vaginas how to have good and healthy sex through courageous conversations.
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, someone is sexually assaulted in America every 98 seconds. And every eight minutes, that victim is a child. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this morning licensed social worker Billie Shabazz and sexual health educator Vanessa Geffrard debunked myths on consent and how to help victims of abuse.
Vanessa Geffrard is a passionate health educator residing in West Baltimore. Vanessa wears a multitude of hats; she manages and implements middle school programming, adults trainings, and community workshops. She also trains and educates adults, parents, and community groups around sexual health topics such as consent and boundaries, sexually transmitted infection prevention, contraceptive methods, teen pregnancy and abortion stigma, healthy relationships, LGBTQ inclusion.
Vanessa is the founder of VagEsteem™, a workshop series and podcast that encourages good and healthy sex through courageous conversations about love, sex, relationships, and everything in between. Recently, she traveled to Nigeria to engage in a learning exchange with health educators and providers on best health outreach and education practices and global access to reproductive healthcare. She chronicled her journey and was featured in xojane. Vanessa's specialty conversations on consent and healthy relationships was also featured in For Harriet.
Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Science Community Health degree from University of Maryland, College Park and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Morgan State University. In her Master’s program, Vanessa focused on health policy, specifically researching the positive impact of web-based interventions as they relate to decreasing the risk of HIV/AIDS among young women of color.
In 2015, Vanessa was awarded The Daily Record's Leading Women Award. She runs a Girl Scout Troop, loves to travel, loves eating Chinese and Mexican food, loves spending time with her amazing and supportive husband, her adorable nephew and her dog, Buttons.