Let us pick up the stones over which we stumble, friends,and build altars.-Pádraig Ó TuamaI keep…
ME TOO in the newsfeed is shattering my heart. And healing it stronger.
In every speech I’ve ever given about violence against women, I’ve stated the known statistic that 1 in 4 women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime. 1 in 4 women. And the latest FBI statistics tell us that 1 in 3 girls will experience some form of sexual violence by the age of 18.
In every speech I’ve given about this violence over the last 25 years, I’ve asked survivors in the audience to raise their hands if they are comfortable identifying themselves as survivors. When their hands go up, I ask the entire audience to look around the room and take note of the sheer number of survivors among us. Look around you, I say. We are surrounded by survivors.
Always. 1 in 4 women. 1 in 3 girls.
I am one of them, one of those women and one of those girls, and I have been both motivated and uplifted again and again by every woman over the last 25 years who has said ME, TOO to me after I’ve shared my own experiences in person or in a public setting.
Watching the newsfeed flood with ME, TOO has left me feeling as if all of those speeches and all of those audiences have collapsed into one experience for all of us. My heart is shattering with how many of us truly exist, how many survivors we can count among us, at the same time that I am beyond heartened by the sheer courage of so many women standing as survivors at the same time. This is how the world changes, each one of us standing alone and then standing together in the face of experiences of this violence. We are not alone. And when we are not alone, we are united. And when we are united, we are stronger together.
Thank you to each one of you who is standing before us all to own your incredible strength and courage and resiliency. Your individual examples are inspiring. All of you, together, is galvanizing. And, somehow, my heart is both breaking and healing stronger, simultaneously, as we stand together.