We live in a man’s world, but women, we are finding our voice.
It’s been a slow climb but one that picked up momentum with #MeToo and #ChurchToo. For once it doesn’t appear as though it will fizzle out. Men are starting to listen. The good men anyway.
I learned early on that this world was not mine. It belonged to those who held power. At only seven my body belonged to a man. It would take me roughly eight years to speak up and tell my story. It was then that I learned my story and my voice were not mine, or at least not worthy of being heard. I took the words back and stuffed them inside for almost thirty years.
My story is now out there. It is in print and can’t be stuffed back down or silenced. My story and my body are my own and there is power behind knowing that. There is power in being heard.
One in nine girls under the age of eighteen are sexually abused. They are taught, like I was, that they’re body belongs to someone else. They live in a man’s world where boys will be boys, and men have appetites that need satisfying. The things that are done in the dark are the secrets that they are told to keep.
Like Priya Jain, I am tired of living in a man’s world. I won’t be a part of a culture that sacrifices the bodies of little girls or the voice of a victim because they are afraid for the man’s reputation. I’m tired of living in a world where men can catcall, touch, and do things to women only to turn and blame it on the woman calling her a tease and victim shaming.
My dream is that tomorrow we will no longer live in a man’s world. Women are rising up, empowered by each other’s stories, and are saying no more. We are telling our stories and turning the tables on those who call us liars. We know our truth and refuse to be silenced.
There is power in stories. Men in power have known this, and it is why the abusers have kept us silent for so long. The good men listen, they aren’t afraid of our stories because they know they have nothing to fear. When the truth comes to light, the men who stood beside us and encouraged us to speak up will still be standing. It is the one’s who held us down in the dark, their hands over our mouths, they are the ones who have everything to fear.