In the last couple of months women of all races across the country have received backlash for recent protests regarding our government’s decisions on women’s rights. Just like when we were protesting for the right to vote, we are being called ridiculous, ignorant, and uninformed. Labeled as “whining” over real issues that are plaguing women every day. We are faced with the constant threat of violence, losing our right to choose what’s best for us, and affordable health care options to those who cannot afford our country’s ridiculously expensive medications. This post will be controversial. Not everyone will agree with what I am about to write, and you don’t need to. But like many women in our country right now, I also refuse to be silent.
Two years ago, I met a guy at a bar. We had both been drinking, and he got the impression that I wanted to go home with him. At the time I was married and had no intention of leading him to believe this, but having a very open and bubbly personality he took my friendliness as flirtation and acted upon it. We all left at the same time as the bar was closing, and he followed me to my car (that was unlocked at the time) and got in the passenger seat without my invitation. After multiple verbal attempts telling him to get out of my car, I finally threatened to call the police. He left, but followed me as I drove away and a few minutes later he clipped my car and spun it out, totaling it–and then he drove away. Since then, I’ve carried a taser with me everywhere I go; and many women I know carry some sort of protection with them when they are out.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered violence in my life.
It is not the first time I’ve realized I was in danger.
This kind of danger is a constant threat to women in our society. As of 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 women will be raped in their life time. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners between 2001 and 2012 was 11,766, and 40% of women were killed worldwide. 25% of women will encounter some kind of domestic violence in their lifetime; and this is only reported cases. Harassment from men towards women who do not want to sleep with them is increasing—every day I see more screenshots of behavior that makes me sick to stomach than I’ve ever seen before.
This is what we are fighting against.
Our right to choose what we do with our bodies.
Do we really believe that by choosing not to fund organizations that provide safe options for women that we will decrease the rate of abortion? Statistically this will only increase poverty by women who are having children they cannot afford, and by all means they will go to life threatening measures to prevent it. By choosing not to fund these organizations we take away preventative care for these same women–for pregnancies and for health. Planned Parenthood offers affordable cancer screenings, giving women in poverty options to literally save their lives. And we’re taking this away for what? Your beliefs? That idea seems ridiculous to me considering the consequences.
As a mother, I cannot imagine my daughter growing up in a world that does not justly punish acts of violence. I cannot imagine a world where my daughter must be silent in fear of her attacker coming after her later. We are not just fighting for women in America—it’s true we are luckier than most. We are truly fighting for women across the globe. America is a country that others follow. Our laws and our society are mimicked all over the world. If we can change what we are doing, many others will follow. If we can raise our children to act in kindness, we can change so much. We are being told that we are ignorant to believe this. But the truth is we have access to so much information that we cannot deny what is right in front of us. Truly, millennials will not be the ones to destroy our country–but it will be those who refuse to progress, to grow, and to change. Those who cannot see what is in front of them will be our downfall.
For those of you fighting, I fight with you. For every race, for every gender, for every sexuality, for every religion. I fight with you. Equality cannot be achieved through dividing us. Together, and only together, can we seek the change we wish to see. And it starts with us. By spreading loving kindness one person at a time, perhaps we can see that love blossom into a society that truly seeks out the well being of others. But until then, I fight with you.
“The day the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” -Ghandi