(I wrote this on my Facebook page in the days following the Women’s March– it occurred to me recently that I might like to save it here so I have easier access to it in the future. Most of my friends have already read this, but if you haven’t I hope it helps you)
I have very carefully considered what I wanted to say on this after seeing so much hate and backlash from people in my community. Please know that I am saying these things not because I want to fight, but because I want try to help you understand. I’m writing this in hopes that you can set aside your judgment, your gut reaction and at least try to see things from another person’s point of view.
One of the most quintessential American ideals is the freedom to stand up for what we believe in, to fight against injustices, to let our voices be heard. Time after time we have looked back in history on those who have fought for their rights– and we see the great and important progress that has been made in our country because of people who were not afraid to Rise Up. But not everyone likes to see us exercising that right, not back then and certainly not now. Some of the very same people who bitterly told us that if we didn’t like how the election turned out, we should stop crying already and *do* something with our energy, are now telling us that we need to sit down, shut up, and accept things are the way they are. They want to know why we can’t just give things a chance, calm down and see how it turns out, it won’t be as bad as we think… I will tell you why we can’t do that, why *I* can’t do that.
When I was a girl, I was taught that my worth was tied to my virginity, that women who did not keep themselves “pure” were used up and undesirable. When I was sexually assaulted, people defended my abuser. I believed I was less than, and dirty; I carried deep and unrelenting shame for years because of something that was taken from me by force. So I march for my younger self and for all the women like me (there are more than you know). I march because the same people who are saying women’s rights “aren’t an issue” were the people who were bewildered that Brock Turner got off with a slap on the wrist months ago, and write off abusive behavior by saying, “That’s just locker room talk… boys will be boys.” (I expect so much more from the men in my life.)
If you claim to have never been made to feel less than for being female, please know you are *so* profoundly lucky. I march because sexual assault is real, because my body, my choice, because Black Lives Matter, because racism is ALIVE, because our government is not a CHURCH, because homophobia and bigotry are not just a difference of opinion, because science is not a liberal conspiracy, because fear based hatred of people who are different from you is the real thing that is wrong in this country today. I march because the person you are calling names, the person you flip the middle finger at when you drive by the protest, the person you make fun of for being a “brainwashed leftist,” the person you hate and look down on for being involved in this movement is Me, it is your friend, your cousin, your classmate, your coworker. We stand together to show our solidarity, to stand up for those who can’t, to be a voice for those who do not have one. I will not go quietly into a future where there are not equal rights for all.