TW// Mention of r*pe:
Yesterday I attended the March To End Rape Culture in Philadelphia down in Thomas Paine Plaza. This is the second march I have ever attended and I have got to admit I did not think I could feel more empowered and called to action after attending the Women’s March in DC last year but I was wrong. This march was filled with emotion and raw energy from everyone who was present. The speakers, some who are survivors of sexual assault gave such brave and empowering speeches and poems. It was so inspiring seeing how these women were able to overcome these difficult times in their life and turn their pain into action to help other women going through similar events in their lives. Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a woman about her life and the trauma she has experienced. She explained to me that she was drinking alcohol by the age of nine and addicted to drugs by the age of 15. She had been raped five times in her life but could only clearly recall two of the times. She started to tell me a story about her best friend and how one night while she was living in New York her and her best friend was walking and a man pulled his car to the side of the road threatened her and then through her best friend into his trunk and drove off. When she went to the police station to report that her best friend had been abducted and she had been threatened, the police told her that they could not really help her because the man was probably her “best friends pimp”. Till this day this woman (who will go unnamed for privacy purposes) has not seen or heard from her best friend. She told me ” I just pray wherever she is, she’s safe”. Mid-way through her story I had to put my sunglasses on because I began to cry. These are the kind of stories that I do not want to hear but I know are necessary for me to here in order to help to accomplish the goal of Ending Rape Culture. Although she has experienced so many things in her life that would be a good enough reason for her to give up, she hasn’t. She now hosts and organizes events for women and young girls that have gone through similar situations and helps them overcome it. I will forever hold on to this woman’s story, her resilience and her passion to want to help others.
Unfortunately, along with all of the beautiful speeches given and all of the love that was shared, there was the presence of hate as well. A counter protest was taking place right behind the location of the MTERC rally and they were holding signs that read “women belong in the kitchen”, “you promote rape”, “whores go to hell” etc. While they were displaying such messages they were also holding up signs that had bible verses on them as well… hilarious right? LOL! I am not religious but I know for certain that what I saw yesterday was not Christianity. I would like to believe that those people had nothing better to do and just thought they’d kill some time by being a pain in the ass but in reality, I know that there are people who believe and feel the things their signs said. Fortunately, there are hundreds of men and women who are not going to tolerate the bullshit. While the rally was going on these counter-protesters began to scream and raise their voices as survivors were giving their speeches. A group of women formed a human wall around these protesters and they began singing songs and hugging each other and showing compassion instead of hate. This is how you change the world- you will always attract more bees with honey than you will with water and although these counter protestors might have dismissed the kindness and love that was being shown by the MTERC protesters, I know that it greatly affected the people around them in a positive way.
Since I have posted pictures from the march on my personal Instagram and my public blog Instagram I have been getting a lot of mixed reactions. For the most part a lot of my followers have liked and commented positive things onto my post but last night two people made comments that I could not help but to ignore. One anti-feminist Instagram page commented ” This is so dumb, I can’t” and a WWE wrestling fan page commented “fuck you bitch” LMAO! I am trying to teach myself to not internalize things but also learning to allow myself to confront situations that bother me without doing it in a way that just perpetuates more anger and frustration. One thing I’ve definitely learned from having a blog and using social media in the volume that I do is that it is hard. People are mean, people are ignorant and people will say a lot more over the comfort of a keyboard than they’d ever dare say face to face. I acknowledge and applaud myself for being able to react the way that I react to counter protests and arguments that I have come across on social media because just two years ago I would have just attacked and badgered people who do not agree with me or choose to call me a “bitch” or tell me to “go fuck myself”. I’ve discovered that learning to deal with situations like this and deciding when to walk away from situations like this, is an extraordinary act of self-love/care and a necessary one.
For those of you who feel that rape culture and sexual assault is not your problem or does not affect you here are some statistics of the Rates of Sexual Assault Against Women in the US:
All Women: 17.6%
Latina Women: 14.6%
White Women: 17.7%
Black Women: 18.8%
Asian Pacific Islander Women: 6.8%
American Indian Women: 34.1%
Mixed Race Women: 24.4%
Sexual Assault is intersectional.
*To learn more about sexual assault and statistics amongst demographics in the united states visit https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence for more information. The only way to progress and attempt to make a change is if we first educate ourselves.*