As a female runner, yesterday’s news regarding the alleged brazen sexual assault in Fort Thomas left me unsettled. So, as I sit here writing a story about ten Northern Kentucky policewomen and their bold decision to, as Erlanger Police Detective, Jill Stultz describes, “to promote female strength, confidence, and fearlessness” through a fitness calendar with powerful imagery, I can’t help but feel empowered already.
Stultz, also a Highlands alum, and nine other policewomen, including Emily Leising of the FTPD, will be posing for a calendar shoot in the coming weeks depicting them in workout gear, “shredding” to promote positive female body image and mindset. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars will go to the Northern Kentucky Women’s Crisis Center in Burlington, KY.
Said Stultz of the thought process behind this calendar, “I've wanted to come up with a fundraising project that involved female police officers from the area for awhile; something that was different, something that showed women being strong and confident. In January, a friend posted a link to a calendar out of North Carolina that dealt with male firefighters raising money for a charity and that instantly clicked with me. Why can't female officers do a fitness based calendar for charity?”
Stultz is hopeful that through this calendar she can raise $5,000 for the charity of her choice. This particular organization has a lot of personal meaning to her; as a Sociology student at Northern Kentucky University, she was first introduced to the charity from a Mayerson Student Philanthropy research project. She was impressed by the good they do for the community. She went on to say that, “Years later while working as a police officer on the road and now as a detective, I am able to see firsthand how much good the Women’s Crisis continues to do.”
In addition to the monies raised to support this philanthropy, Stultz also hopes to spread a message of positivity for women and female police officers. “For law enforcement officers, fitness is very important. Being unhealthy and not exercising makes us more susceptible to work-related injuries. If we can’t adequately defend our community, we’re not doing our job.”
As to whether or not she feels there is any risk of the calendar being debased and leading to the objectification of female officers, she firmly responds in the negative. “There are other calendars out there featuring police officers and firefighters, but most tend to be a bit sexualized. We are doing this to be different, to show that you don’t have to look like a fashion model to be your best self, that women can be strong and fearless.”
Jacalyn Smith Mains, owner of JMM Photography, is donating her time to do the photo shoot. Smith says of the opportunity to support this cause, “First and foremost, I love women power! It's the whole philosophy behind Forza (my boudoir photography) and it just made sense to be a part of a movement that supports the idea that women are strong and can come out of a terrible domestic violence situation having learned there was strength within themselves despite what they might have been told by their abuser," she said. "In this world where it is so easy to feel like you don't measure up, there is a need for something different...support instead of suppression. Therefore, it was refreshing to be a part of a project that dared to say otherwise. Empowering women to feel good about themselves is a great path towards a sisterhood where we support each other instead of put down or try to one up.”
Calendars will be available for sale beginning in October, domestic violence awareness month, through the Erlanger PD, FOP #55, Stultz, and possibly other venues. Check back here for more information. To see the mission of the Northern Kentucky Women’s Crisis Center and/or support it, visit their website.