TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault
victim survivor of sexual assault, actually let’s call it what it is, rape and molestation, I may live in a different world than you perceive to live in. It’s okay, I am pleased you don’t live in my world, I don’t wish it on anyone.
However, if you have the time, I’d like to explain what it is and why it is I speak out for women’s rights.
Let me start by explaining to you I didn’t just begin my crusade, I have lived this movement since the first time a man put his hands on me — at the ripe old age of 3. Then again at 13, when I learned of the existence of date rape. Or as I like to call it, rape.
Even though I have spent a considerable amount of time writing my stories and desperately trying to end rape culture, there comes a time when it is needed more than ever.
For us women, the ones who still live in a world of fear, this is that time. It is why I will continue to march in the streets and shout until my voice is hoarse.
Our time is now while it is at the lead of everyone’s minds. As we wrap our heads around a misogynist man leading one of the most powerful countries in our world, a man who women/me see as a threat to our freedom.
I know you doubt the loss of my freedoms, perhaps you even doubt the word feminism — it hasn’t been shed in a brilliant light. (That in itself is an entirely different topic). But please don’t doubt the way I feel as a woman, who has survived rape and molestation, in the same world you live in.
It’s not an easy lore to wrap your head around, molestation, rape. The words themselves cause social discomfort. However, the idea that society is uncomfortable with my discourse regarding my rape at 13 and my abuse as a 3-year-old, is one of the main reasons I speak of it, one of the main reasons I fight for women’s rights.
There are a plethora of reasons, but today I want you to taste the world I live in, maybe then we can begin to be more compassionate towards each other. Perhaps we can come to an agreement, or at least we could show more clemency.
I fight for women’s rights because my molestation and rape aggravated my senses and gave me empathy. I feel for other women who have gone through the same hellish moments I have. I understand what it is like to absolutely believe the last vision you will ever have is that of a man you barely know pushing his power and strength upon you. Considering in that instant death is a better option, even desiring it.
I fight for women who have once been overawed children as their bodies were taken away from them and given to their abuser. I fight for the little girls who had to walk through their abuser’s door every day and put on a brave face as they lived a silent hell.
I speak only from my view, not because I don’t sympathize with others, but it is what I know and I certainly know what it feels like to live with rape.
It’s hard to blame or shame a child for rape. It isn’t as if you hear whispers of people asking what a toddler was wearing when the contemptible act occurred. You certainly don’t wonder if said toddler had too much to drink, or was flirting erroneously with her assailant. However, we silence children every day by not speaking on their behalf.
Unlike my rape at thirteen, as a child, I didn’t exactly feel shamed. It was fear that drove me to keep the secret. Fear of the man who put his hands on me every day for over three years.
Fear and shame are often all-encompassing.
Do not be mistaken, there was shame there. Enough shame to keep a little girl from telling her parents. Enough shame to prevent me and my brain from letting it come to the forefront of my thoughts. Enough fear and complacency from a society uncomfortable with the grotesque thought of a grown man raping a three-year-old it wasn’t spoken of.
As a victim, when society chooses to quiet your already confused and disgraced voice, the secret then feels dirty, shameful, tarnished and full of fault. This is rape culture and is prevalent in our society today. This is why I fight for women.
However, I don’t only fight for women’s rights because in my past I was raped. I fight because every day of my life since then I live in a society riddled with rape culture and misogyny. Perhaps you haven’t lived in this same world, as I said before, I am grateful you don’t. But I do.
I grew up in a different world than some of you, my entire life I have lived with the certainty I need an escape plan. Need. An. Escape. Plan. Please let those words resonate with you.
I do not go anywhere without scanning the room for threats. I become anxious if I am cornered. I exist on the edge of fight or flight. Flight almost always my instinct. I shame myself for drinking too much when I am away from the safety of my home because I fear my lack of control may get me in a precarious position. And when I have found myself in a position in which I felt was dangerous, it takes me months to recover from what I believe is my stupidity, my fault. In turn causing me to sink inside myself not wanting to leave my house.
My first instinct is to condemn myself if I am threatened by a man. Questioning what I did, what I said, or how I portrayed myself, and not examining his actions or how he may have intimidated me.
So when I watch a man in a powerful position make fun of, or disregard my right to my body, of course, it triggers me. Sadly, it triggers millions and millions of women around the world.
But you don’t live in my world, so please don’t tell me these actions are normal. It is not normal that any woman should fear the right to her body isn’t guaranteed. It is a disgrace to believe just because you don’t know the fear of walking down a street alone, that another woman is silly for feeling so.
For the ones who think it is silly to stand up for women’s rights, it’s okay, I’ll do your dirty work.
I will continue to speak out for women’s rights, not only because I was raped and feel threatened in my skin some days, but because there are millions of women in this world who fear it also. Because my children deserve to live in a world where they NEVER doubt themselves when they are threatened. Because not only does misogyny exist, it has become the leader of one of the most powerful countries in my world.
I’m elated you don’t live in my world, and I want to keep it that way. That is why I speak for my rights, women’s rights.
Originally posted on NewWorldMom
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.