I’m often overly opinionated. I wasn’t always like this. In fact, up until a few short years ago, I was very good at keeping my mouth shut about things, even when they tore me apart inside. Then, unexpectedly, something shifted inside me, motivating me to speak up, and I’m grateful every day that it happened.
Since my writing became public, and no longer hidden in my tiny little world where I cherish and protect it from outside eyes that might not like it, I’ve developed an unbelievable amount of confidence, enough to stand up proudly and state that these are the things I believe.
I’ve realized that with the talent of spinning words comes power and that I have an opportunity to speak up for the people who are still trapped in self-doubt and cannot speak for themselves.
I could sit here and write the type of pieces I know will get internet traffic, illustrating the best coffee drinks to spend ten dollars on at Starbucks or detailing just how much I love the new routine I’ve adopted for doing my eyebrows. And sometimes, I do write the casual fun pieces that provide a nice escape from the world. But the important pieces are the ones that challenge my reader to think outside their comfort zone, the ones that bring up topics that make you uncomfortable because it’s easier not to think about them.
After I wrote a piece about my personal experience with eating disorders, I was bombarded with messages from fellow warriors thanking me for giving a voice to an issue they don’t know how to speak about. I was stopped at my graduation and tapped on the shoulder by a girl I’ve never met, a girl who proceeded to hug me and thank me for all of the work I had put out throughout the year because it helped her.
Those are just a few examples of why I continue to write the things I do, the things that invoke some kind of emotional response from my reader.
I don’t write a piece about every travesty being discussed in the media. I’m pretty sure that if I did, I wouldn’t have a moment away from my keyboard. Sometimes, I’ll do something as simple as posting an article from another writer that illustrates my opinion on the topics. Other times, I’ll end up in a full blown Facebook debate about how these things affect our society.
If you have any kind of access to the media, you’ve heard of Ray Rice. I’m sure you’ve watched the video, read the fifty million articles posted about his actions, and developed your own opinions on what type of man he is. I have quite a few of my own but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about a specific reaction that seems to be most predominate after the video leaked and Rice was released from his contract.
“Well, it’s her own fault. She stayed.”
I have never been physically hit by a man. I like to think that if it were to happen, I would be able to hold my head up high and leave him. I like to think that I could be strong enough to walk away from someone I love because such a powerful line was crossed. I like to think a lot of things about how I would react in certain situations but the reality is, you never know how you’ll deal with a situation until you’re in the middle of it.
I do not blame this woman. I do not look at her with judgment and use the words “Well…if it happened to me..” because I don’t know what I would do if it happened to me. I’m a huge believer in the philosophy that unless you have specific experience in a situation, you keep your mouth shut about it.
I’ve done a lot of research about abuse. I’ve had a lot of people in my life, women and men, who have been in abusive relationships. These can be familial or romantic but the end result is the same.
Abuse chips away little pieces of an individual. Every time someone raises a hand to you, verbally assaults you, or physically violates you, they take away pieces of you. After a while, it doesn’t seem like there are any pieces left.
I understand her. I’m in no way saying that I think she should stay with this man or that what she wrote on her Instagram defending him is the right way to handle this. But the blame should not be put on the victim. The blame should never be put on the victim.
He put his hands on someone weaker than him. He broke her down publically and had to drag her unconscious body to where no one would stumble across her. He used his power, and her love for him, to hurt her. No one knows what happens behind their closed doors. No one knows if this is something that happens regularly or if he is seeking help to deal with his anger. It’s not our place to condemn their relationship, even if we will never understand it.
I am not an angry person. I very rarely lose my temper but there are certain situations that cause my heart to race because I am filled with so much rage and disappointment with how our society sees these issues. This is the biggest one.
In any situation where a man attacks a woman, be it rape or assault, the first question asked is “Well, what did she do?”
What was she wearing? What did she do to make him so angry? Why was she out late at night by herself? Why did she stay with him?
The blame is automatically placed on the woman, which is the entire root of all of these problems I so often discuss. Rape, assault, domestic violence: all of these things are huge problems in our society.
But the true problem, the problem that stems from all of these horrific tragedies, is that as a whole the world breaks down the victim so much more than the initial trauma ever did.
Instead of ripping apart the people who commit these crimes, we rip apart the women who didn’t fear for themselves enough, who didn’t guard themselves enough, who didn’t love themselves enough.
And I’m well aware that my tiny little post won’t change the entire societal construction that has developed since the beginning of civilization but maybe it will inspire just a little bit of change. Maybe the next time you hear about a woman who was raped, or beaten, you won’t jump to post a joke about it on social media. Maybe your first reaction won’t be “Well, it was her own fault.” and to call her a “dumb bitch”.
Maybe you can start to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
Depressing thought: in a 100 years almost everyone that’s alive now will be dead and the world will be inhabited by 10 billion or so completely new people.
not so depressing thought: maybe these new people will be less bigoted, sexist and racist.
Can I has?
Look at this terrifying monster. Hide ur kidz hide ur wife
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Shades of fall