It's interesting, this perception that victims of violent and sexual crimes are somehow less than, messed up, or not productive citizens in society. Sometimes it's because they live in their victimhood and create an awful life for themselves. I get it. I really get it. And most victims do go through a phase of that sort (I know I did...). I don't know the stats, but I do know that I have found an amazing amount of people who have chosen not to be VICTIMS and instead be SURVIVORS.
As I began telling my story, I was amazed at the response. I had people I knew tell me they had gone through something similar, I had people I didn't know commending me for speaking out because they had gone through something similar. These people just came out of the wood works. The numbers shocked me. In nearly every avenue of my life there were multiple people that could relate personally or indirectly. That is to say: THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM.
In fact: 1 in every 3 women can expect to be beaten and/or raped in their lives. Did you hear that?? If so, you're probably hurting pretty badly. I know, it sucks. Let's do something about it, shall we?
On February 14th 2013, please join this movement: ONE BILLION RISING.
I am one of those "victims" who chooses to be a survivor, a voice and an advocate for those who cannot speak out. Want to know something pretty cool? There are a lot of us. This is what we're doing in that regard this week:
I really hope some of you will come support the downfall of something that will touch most of us in our lives one way or another.
Our beneficiary: The Rape Recovery Center
Remember that time I almost killed myself after I was attacked and raped and I told you all about it very vaguely? Well, the hotline this center provides literally talked me out of killing myself. I owe them my life and they deserve all the funding we can offer them.
What I really meant to say before this post turned into a long advertisement is this:
After my attack, I went through a long phase (I'm still in it) where anyone who hadn't seen the depths of what awfulness life could be seemed extremely silly to me. I couldn't relate to them and their superficialities. I don't mean to say I become wise and deep, I just mean that my values changed. What really mattered became apparent and the people with the most depths were the drug addicts, the rape or violence survivors, the survivors of divorce and death, the people experiencing poverty or poor health. Because these were the people who had been FORCED to think about it. Certainly, this is not always the case and MANY of you find empathy and understanding without the trauma, I think that speaks highly of you. And finding that community of real people was a big part of what reminded me I wasn't crazy. It still is.
Back to the topic at hand. The participants in the show are varied. We have lots of different ages and ethnicities and personal interests/aesthetics, but we have all come together to make this happen. These women are strong. They are survivors or they know survivors and they have put hours and hours into making this an impacting experience.
These women I've met through the Vagina Monologues and my blog, they are survivors, they are capable, incredible women. An experience like that changes you, yes. But for me, and many of these women it changed us into something we can be proud of. It alerted us to the problem and gave us the spirit and the passion to do something about it. I am honored to count myself as one of them.