“Fundamental violations of human rights always leads to people feeling less and less human” ~ Aung San Suu Kyi
I realize that it is now trendy to take a stand on the woman’s rights movement, to express a view regarding the impact of the marches held across the country; good, bad or indifferent. Up until now I have been putting off sharing any thoughts about the matter, for the most part, because it is messy. It is messy for me as a mother, a military wife and a business owner. The easy road would be to sweep it under the rug in my head and heart, making numb the anger and fear, the disappointment and bewilderment. Taking precious hours out of my days to gather my thoughts isn’t something I would really care to spend anymore time doing. It also isn’t an option to ignore myself any longer.
There has been an unsettling deep inside since the tapes were released of our now President spewing disrespect and sexual entitlement toward women. The kind of unsettling that feels as though your insides have been scooped out like the seeds of a cantaloupe. Leaving the feeling of hopelessness, voices bouncing off a canyon with no place to rest, heard a few times over only to disappear into the clouds. That hollow feeling never really went away. In fact, with all the social media coverage the pit has become deeper. In addition to bringing awareness it seems to have created yet another divide, among women.
Initially, I was all in favor of marching. In fact, I looked up places I could go locally to support the cause. In the midst of an extremely busy day being a mother, it wasn’t a viable option to march in person but I did feel that I would be there in spirit. You see, I am a woman, raising three little women and a son, who will be a gentleman. I am a woman who sobbed during Divergent when Tris’ greatest fear was revealed. The fear of sexual assault, the fear that her saying “no,” won’t be taken seriously. The statistics are staggering. The last article I read showed the victim rate to be 1 in 4 women. That means, statistically speaking since I have three daughters, one of us makes the stat come true. I just can not fathom that a reality.
The release of the audio bites got a lot of attention regarding the election, but, for me it was more than the presidency at stake. It was an invitation to increase the statistic. It was a public service announcement of acceptance to this mentality that women are just sexual objects that can be taken by a man whenever said man has the urge. It denounced the “no means no” campaign and replaced it with “no means nothing if the man is a man of wealth and power, or simply believes himself to be.” I just can not stand beside the idea that this way of thinking is acceptable.
This entire topic is difficult to discuss because although I am completely against creating a society where this sort of talk is glazed over and rationalized, I am struggling a bit with the #notmypresident. Even though I myself have never been a Trump supporter, my husband is a member of our armed forces. Denouncing my support of our electoral process is suggesting I lack faith in America, feeling much like a slap in the face to the vow he has made to risk his life to protect those who are off spewing hate and acting violently because they feel it is their right. While my heart aches and my tongue feels sore and tangled, don’t mistake my silence for indifference. Deep in those hollow places I do not believe this is the American portriat he intended to defend.
For me, the marches weren’t about equality. While I believe in equality, I do not believe that men and women are equal. I do not want us to be. There are so many things that each gender does differently, to me equal means the same, even. I do not think we are the same in dealing with our emotions, our relationships, parenting or our physical attributes and I like it that way. This is not to say that one is better, stronger, smarter, just different. Uniquely made to I was inclined to march because I do, however, believe in human rights and equality in terms of opportunities and gains; regardless of gender, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity or any other inconsequential difference. I do not believe in the acceptance of violating another human being and the dismissal of these acts with victim shaming and blaming. I do not believe that we should do nothing and accept this behavior as “locker room talk.” I believe my children should not have to be taught how to fight off attackers or avoid potential situations that may lead to rape because the country as shown their tolerance of said crimes, by the leniency given to those who are guilty. I believe that those in positions of power should be held to a higher standard as part of that territory. I believe in respect. I believe that no one should be grabbed by the genitals, the end.
So, while my arms longed to hug all the ladies sporting their pink hats on Saturday, they hugged my children instead. They reached onward and upward hoping to pull a message from the heavens to comfort all those who are hurting. I did not walk in protest.I did not turn my head with disregard. I did not allow my tongue to swell inside my mouth and seal clothed the words that were fighting their way out. Instead I decided to fight back in a softer way, within my field of influence.
I checked out a bag full of “Who is? Who was?” book series biographies from the library about women who have made an impact. With words, with movements, by being their true selves in the wake of judgement, by pushing through, speaking out and not giving up. I handed my girls each a book, in hopes of changing the tide. We will march by being like Malala, Rosa, Maya, Helen, Anne…
I will continue to educate, myself and my children, so they are able to handle the ever-changing ways of this world. I will guide our hearts and minds to the best of my ability so as to not fill the hollowness with darkness. I will continue to have faith that all the pieces are falling into place and replace the fear with hope. I will choose to see this as an out pouring of hearts, the passion spilling out light. For where there is light there can be no darkness and without darkness the fear diminishes. I pray that eliminating the fear allows us to increase the humanity.
Thank you for allowing me to set down these heavy thoughts and continue my journey with hands free to pick up others, where I can, along the way.
Be Brave, speak up and above all keep marching on,