The past few days, I’ve been walking around in a haze with all of the current news outlining the gruesome abuse and demoralization of women across the globe.
It’s sickening. It’s shocking. It’s beyond upsetting.
And it’s not news to me.
I was molestated at the age of seven by a family member and raped by someone I was dating at 25 while living in Costa Rica. I’ve sat in public places and had men pull out their penises and jack off to me. I’ve been grabbed, cat-called, and had innumerable confrontations with men who thought my body was a toy to be poked and prodded at will.
But the stories of how Marilyn Manson violently treated and broke down his girlfriends, the purported cannabilism fetishes of Arnie Hammer, or the truly horrific tales of rape and torture from Uigher women inside the Chinese re-education camps take this all to a new level for me.
I’ve never met a woman who hasn’t been molested, raped or treated violently at one point or another in her life. And I also know there are lots of men who quietly keep their stories to themselves.
So why aren’t we doing better at listening to these stories? Why do we look the other way when “powerful” men are consistently called out about their mistreatment of women? R. Kelly definitely comes to mind — all the young girls he’s defiled and yet never been held accountable. OR the assistants, managers, friends, etc who enable these abusers and aid them in their endeavors.
And yet, the majority of the time, women are treated like it’s our fault or that we’re lying. What were we wearing? How were we acting? As if any of these things gave the perpetrator permission to pillage our bodies. As if any of those things are an excuse.
But we don’t listen and now these stories are reaching a screeching pitch that demands change.
We MUST start listening to women. We MUST start changing the way women are viewed, treated and protected.
Every person on this planet comes through a woman. EVERY single one of us. How could we ever allow these injustices to happen?
Women need to be heard. The stories must be shared. Evil must be stopped.
Our voices won’t be quiet any longer.