Leave Your Pain Here...
The news lately makes me feel so small. It seems to be a running diatribe of negativity, the blame game, and arguments that don’t lead to any kind of useful conclusion. I’m overwhelmed with the general chaos of the world: discouraged by all the bad, at a loss as to where I can insert some good.
Discouragingly, so much of the news has been dominated by woman after woman recounting her sexual assault. The raw pain they are covered in as they tell their story cuts straight to your heart. It’s gut wrenching to think of each victim and how these moments of aggression have carried such weight in their lives. How their trajectory was truly re-routed by moments of irresponsible evil.
I often find the silence these women live in as the most heartbreaking part. Many mention feeling shameful, hurt, intimidated, or even embarrassed to the point that they weren’t able to say anything…for weeks, months, years, decades. To think of these women sitting in silence as the world spins around them while they navigate through such burdensome emotions is simply too much.
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 or themselves 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. For his years masquerading as a caring, attentive doctor as he abused women and girls. To not let the narrative end with this monster, I love that she encouraged the brave survivors of this trauma leave their pain in the courtroom. She gave them the permission and encouragement to move forward in the world to achieve 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.
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. Truly.