Hear Me ROAR.
Listen to me. Not because I’m your mother, or sister, or daughter, but because I am a HUMAN BEING. People act like there isn’t a major problem going on right now in our society. People say “it won’t happen to me” until it does. You think you don’t know anyone who is a threat, who thinks women are less than, who is a predator. Until you do. You think all of this talk doesn’t apply to you. Until it does. Until his breath is hot on your neck, pinning your arms above your head. Until you get catcalled while walking alone late at night. Until he grabs your ass without permission. Until you see tweets like this. From boys who walk the same path to class as you. Who eat the same food as you. Who are surrounded by women every day, yet are so ignorant to the pain associated with rape and sexual assault. This is real. And I’m done counting on someone else to stand up, to speak up, because the people I reached out to on my campus about this who are put in place to help me simply said that it’s freedom of speech, and that nothing can be done just because our “opinions differ.” To me, it’s not an opinion. So if he has freedom of speech, then so do I. I’m done being silent. I’m done apologizing. Hear me roar.
I’m not going to slap you in the face with facts. But they’re there, you can look them up, and I encourage you to. I’m here to tell you the personal, to put a name to the scenarios that for some reason people are still denying happen. They happen. Every. Fucking. Day.
Do you know what it’s like to be called a slut for purple and blue hickeys that you didn’t equally participate in? Do you know what it’s like to wake up in the morning with the taste of keg beer stale on your tongue, not remembering what happened? Do you know what it’s like to fear for your life every time the sun sets and the night predators come out to play? Do you know what it’s like to say no and they don’t listen? This is not made up. It is not pretend. It has happened to me. It has happened to a million other women in a million different ways. The bottom line? They were violated, exposed, abused, treated as objects. When did human rights violations become so vastly overlooked?
We watched Dr. Ford stand up for herself, for women everywhere. We’ve heard the brave and powerful stories from the #MeToo movement. But nothing has changed. How do I know this? Because when I’m at a party a boy still thinks it’s okay to come up to me and say “I’ve gotta get you drunker than me, that’s the point, right?” Because I can’t wear a sexy outfit without being told that “I’m asking for it.” Do you want to know what I’m asking for? I’m asking for justice. I’m asking for men to stop treating women like property. I’m asking for rapists and assaulters to be prosecuted. I’m asking for help. For everyone with a voice to fucking stand up and speak out and DO SOMETHING. Because we are drowning and hurting and screaming and crying and no one can fucking hear us because they choose not to.
This tweet was made last night by a boy who is in my senior class. He used to be a friendly face. I pass him often. My friends have class with him. How am I to feel safe when someone who feels like this is left without punishment. So many of my fellow female students stood up, fought back, stood with me, shared stories. We shouldn’t have to keep sharing stories. There shouldn’t be any more fucking stories. I can’t take any more stories. Because the ones that I’ve been through? That pain, will NEVER go away, Jon Cooper. It hides in the crevices of my body and crawls out when I least expect it. It’s when someone comes up behind me and I jump, even though it’s a friend who just wants a hug. It’s when you see an abuser living freely without consequence. This is the pain I feel with my experiences, I can not even imagine the pain that my sisters who have been raped feel. Nothing about the trauma is temporary.
I’m done sitting still and looking pretty. I’m done apologizing for being loud. I’m done living my life so it’s more convenient for men. And don’t get me wrong, this is not bashing all men. There are wonderful, kind, genuine, strong, and intelligent men out there. NOT all men are abusers or predators. But if you’re one of those men and you’re reading this, we need you to stand with us. We need you not to support the men who are trying to take away the rights to our bodies. We need you to scream for us because the sad truth is your voices are heard louder than ours. No one deserves to be wrongly accused of anything, but the number of men who are ACTUALLY prosecuted and suffer from false rape claims are so MINIMAL compared to the number of women who are raped and whose rapists walk free.
I’m not a parent, but I’ve seen Mom’s out there say they are scared for their sons, because they don’t want their lives ruined by being falsely accused. This makes me sick. If you raise your sons to be upstanding citizens and proper young men who respect women, then you will have nothing to worry about. What about daughters? I would be far more scared to bring a daughter into this world where she is so clearly valued less than her male counterpart. Instead of teaching girls how to not to get raped, why aren’t we teaching boys not to rape?
So I’m done hiding, I’m done whispering, I’m done covering up. I’m here, and I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, and I’m wearing whatever the fuck I want. Because I am a woman and I am a PERSON and whether you know me or not you shouldn’t have to in order to give a shit. We cannot rely on anyone to change the times for us, we have to do it ourselves. Stand with me, hold my hand, and join me in fighting this fight. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s sure as hell going to be worth it. Because maybe one day if I have a daughter she won’t have to carry pepper spray. Maybe she won’t have to be told her spaghetti straps are provocative and distracting to boys. And I hope to God, she will never know what' it’s like to go through the pain and trauma of sexual assault.