Leave Your Pain Here...
Anyone else so overwhelmed by the news lately? I'm not a major news junkie but also not one to close my eyes and pretend nothing is happening in the world. Hopefully I have found some kind of happy medium.
Discouragingly, the news has been so dominated as of late by woman after woman recounting their sexual assault. As a woman who has close friends who have gone through this in different ways, these accounts cut to my heart. It's painful to think of each victim and how these moments of aggression have carried such weight in their lives. I often find the silence these women live in as the most heartbreaking part...that they talk about feeling shameful, hurt, or intimidated to the point that they aren't able to say anything.
Through the veil of these painful reports, I am so deeply reminded of how important it is for us as women to encourage and empower each other. There is such beauty and power when we come together to trade our stories and do life with arms linked. The strongest offense against men who don't have respect for women is a united, supportive front. It's a damn force when women fight for (not with) each other and our collective place in this world.
The quote above is from the judge that recently sentenced Nassar to 175 years in prison for his crimes. To not let the narrative end with this monster, I loved that she encouraged his many victims to leave their pain in the courtroom and move forward in the world to conquer magnificent things. Yes judge, yes.
So, how can we do this?
- FIND YO' TRIBE: Continue to engage in groups that bring us together in unique ways. The Empowered Babes group has been one of these spaces for me. Just cool gals coming together to get to know the women in our community.
- CALLING ALL CHEERLEADERS: Cheer each other on. Comment on that beautiful photo of them on Instagram, send them a message when their blog post inspired you, check-in on that friend who had to post #metoo and remind them you are happy to be an outlet for them.
- JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Stay informed on the current issues. Advocate for equality whenever possible. Write your congressmen. Engage in conversations that educate, ask hard questions, and empower.
- LOVE WINS: These conversations aren't easy...people disagree or come to the table from different angles that don't always line up. So, coat these discussions in love. Fight fair. Listen. Open your mind to a different opinion; live in the flip side. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS, don't get into it on Facebook. Can we all just agree that the dumpster fire comment section is just about most non-helpful space in the world?
I think it's important to note how unfair (and anti the concept of equality) it is to cast a daunting shadow over all men. I have been a bit frustrated when all guys are lumped into one unflattering category. So, here's to the gems that are just as bothered by this kind of behavior...the ones that would never use their gender as a playing card against women. Here's to the loving fathers, supportive husbands, and loyal friends. Thanks for advocating for your wives/sisters/friends/mothers and for being men.
For any of you that have been living with your own story of pain and need someone to talk to, reach out. To someone you trust, a family member/friend, even me. You and your courageous heart deserve some peace.
Keep on, keeping on babes.