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September 28, 2018

A Heroine

So far in my life, I have never been sexually assaulted. I am one of the lucky women in the United States who has never been groped, touched, or raped without consent. The transgressions against me are minor in comparison - sexual harassment, cat calls, vulgar slurs and suggestive comments, bra straps snapped, and a cigarette thrown at me by a stranger that left a burn mark.

But I know women who have not been as lucky. I know women who have lived through horrific experiences we would expect to only happen in war-torn countries. Those are not my stories to tell. But many women have stories that deserve to be heard with compassion, and deserve to be believed.

Although I have been fortunate enough to not be a victim, the past 48 hours have left me an emotional wreck. Watching this heroine - yes, heroine, calmly address a panel of people questioning her in front of the entire nation (and world) about the most traumatizing and horrific moment of her life is nothing short of inspirational. Her story is heartbreaking and her testimony emotionally raw. For the millions of women who have been sexually assaulted, the testimony is even more painful, as they deal with the never-ending memories of their own assaults.

On the other side, watching the angry response from the men is maddening. It is unfathomable to me that the ones who are yelling and spitting mad are the men. While the victim of a sexual assault that has marred her life for decades tells her story with grace and a calm demeanor, the men respond with rage.

Through all of this, I keep asking myself: When will we teach all boys that these things are not okay? That is not okay to assault women. That it is not okay to snap girls' bra straps or touch them inappropriately. That it is not okay to expose yourself to them. That it is not okay to take advantage of them if they are tipsy or sleeping. And it is not okay to be a bystander and look on instead of standing up to protect them.

Today, it has been decided by a small group of men that women's stories do not matter. We are being told that we are not credible, and even if we are, it doesn't matter. And although men in many high positions have been brought down in the past year by dozens, if not hundreds, of sexual wrong-doing stories against them, those reaching for the highest seats of power - the Supreme Court and the Presidency - remain untouched, secure in their positions of privilege.

Right now I am not feeling hopeful. I am feeling a deep pit of sadness deep within my chest and tearing away pieces of my heart. I am sure that many women and men across the country feel the same way. But there is also a well-deserved anger boiling up inside me. The same anger that has fueled record numbers of women running for office and encouraged women to be brave enough to tell their stories - even if it means risking everything. This anger isn't new, it has been present in generations of women who have been abused, assaulted, mocked, and ignored. But our anger is growing, and with it, our resolve for change.

August 23, 2018

This is Why

This is why I run with my keys between my fingers, ready to strike back within a moment. This is why the volume in my ear buds is low, so I can hear my surroundings. This is why my mother told me not to go out on the recreation trails late at night or early in the morning and why I get off the streets before dark or surround myself with a moat of friends. This is why I hawkishly watch every man I pass on the street - tuned to every flinch, sway, or movement in my direction. This is why catcalls and whistles make me nervous and groups of men standing around as I walk by make my heart pound. This is why I carry pepper spray in my car and am uncomfortable entering almost empty buildings or rooms. This is why my mother told me to be careful drinking and to always stay aware. This is why I think about the clothes I am wearing and the actions I am taking - my freedoms restricted to protect myself from events that should never occur. This is why I am afraid of angry men and my mother told me to immediately leave any man who hits me. This is why I am always cautious, careful, and watchful. This is why.

But in the United States alone - why are 1 in 3 of us victims of physical violence by an intimate partner? Why are 1 in 7 of us stalked by an intimate partner? Why are 1 in 5 of us raped and 1 in 2 of us victims of sexual violence? Why are three of us murdered in a domestic dispute every day?

Why. I can tell you why I am fearful. But can you tell me why you hurt me?



  • April 2, 2018

    The Swing

    and forth
    Pumping your legs
    Gripping the chains
    The cold metal on your fingers
    The seat beneath you
    but unchanging
    as you drift
    and forth
    The sun beams beckoning
    The breeze whispering in your ear
    The clouds calling your name
    And earth pushing you
    Just a little lighter
    And then
    The swing leaving its home
    Breaking gravity
    Embracing the sky
    To embark on a new journey
    Of a world beyond the pendulum