I feel the need to explain why I personally participated in yesterday’s Women’s March. There are so many ugly words being slung and so much misinformation being shared. I am being told by several people why they assumed I was marching, and almost every single assumption was wrong.
I marched because my rights are not being protected.
I marched because when I was 5 years old, a male family member started visiting my bedroom when everyone was asleep and started his exploration of my tiny body.
I marched because as the years went on that same man got bolder in his survey of my developing body. He not only roamed my skin, but turned his attention inward, and finally taking all I had left of myself when I was 13 and stealing the last of my innocence and taking something from me that I was not ready to give away.
I marched because that man who shared my blood and took all of me never had to pay for his crimes because, at five years old, “I should have protected myself better,” – “I should have guarded myself in my sleep better.” Instead of the man who SEXUALLY ASSAULTED a FIVE-year-old and continuing for years and finally RAPING her when she was 13, was subjected to a seventy-two-hour evaluation hold because authorities weren’t sure of the merit of my claims.
I marched because I need to remind myself every morning that I am worthy and that I am more than what has happened to me and my body. I live in a world where I am constantly on guard because the only thing standing in the way of someone touching me is not my consent, but eye contact or a smile or my clothes.
I marched because every night I have to will myself to close my eyes. I have a beautiful man whom I share my life and bed with. I know with every fiber of my being that he would never hurt me and would do everything in his power to protect me, but the terror of my body being used and a knife to my throat to keep my mouth shut runs on repeat through my mind EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
I marched because I worry someone will take one of the most precious pieces of my daughter from her simply because she offered a smile.
I marched because a world in which my daughter is less-than simply because of her anatomy is unacceptable.
I marched because I cannot accept my sons buying into the worldview that that are worth more than any woman simply because they have a penis.
I marched because I worry that not only do we live in a victim-shaming culture where rape is acceptable, but that when it’s pointed out people don’t see it and the ones who do don’t care.
I marched because I know that there are too many other girls out there who have gone through what I have, and don’t have a support system in place at all, and are trying to do it by themselves in a country which insists it is their fault and lets their attackers walk free.
I marched because in the desire to pick specks out of others eyes in the form of homosexuality we toss the whole person aside.
I marched because after all this time we still blame women and their clothing choice, makeup, and words for the actions of a man.
I marched because 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their life.
I marched because every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. While only 6 out of every thousand perpetrators will go to jail.
I marched because my body is my own and not yours to grab at your own will.
I marched because I am more than those statistics.
I marched because I am not better than my darker skinned brothers and sisters.
I marched for love – for peace – for equality – for healing.
This is just part of my story. I was one of millions of women and men who gathered yesterday each with their own stories – their own heartache – their own stories of hate and oppression.
So I marched to support them and to love them.
Rising by standing on the backs of those we pushed face down in the mud is not rising. Rising comes when we unite and lift each other up.
We are supposed to be the foremost nation in the world, so we need raise the bar and act like it.