Sunday, June 1, 2014
This hashtag has been floating around the internet for the last week or so, since the tragedy in Isla Vista. It's become a forum for people to share their experiences, their support of each other, it scared a lot of people, but it also reassured many that they were not alone.
It blew my mind to read about things that had happened to friends and strangers, some of things people had experienced might have been something as mild and someone giving them a creepy once over to people being assaulted and left for dead, just for being born female. I got lost in the stories, I cried with my sisters of the world, I had gotten angry, and I grieved for what was lost.
Some people took offense to the trending topic, stating that #NotAllMen were monsters and it was unfair to paint such an ugly picture of their half of the human race. Some people thought it was fear mongering and was trying to turn woman into man-hating banshees.
I found that those arguments were derailing to the cause, that most rational people would understand that not all men were bad guys, and that while all women have probably experienced some sort of harassment, they aren't all victims. We don't all hate men. We aren't all walking around scared.
We are strong. We are survivors.
The louder we are, the more we break barriers, the more we become comfortable telling our stories, the better chance we have that our daughters, our nieces, our friends little girls won't have to share these experiences. That they won't have to learn how not to get raped, that they won't have to clench their car keys in their fists while walking at night, that they won't be afraid to report the crimes against them, and that when they do report those crimes they will find justice.
This memorial weekend marked the 18 year disappearance of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart, they are no closer to solving her mystery than they were nearly two decades ago, the case is still open and still gathering dust. When will her parents get the truth? When do they get their closure?
When will all the people who have been ignored or neglected by the legal system get the justice they deserve?
We need to stand up and fight, we need to be heard, we need to be brave and cannot allow ourselves to be silenced by people who are afraid of our strength.