I was truly moved by Michelle Obama’s recent speech.
Obama responded to the audio released of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.
That speech hit the nail right on the head. I watched it with my mother and sister, and it brought tears to our eyes. With her poignant, moving words, Obama uplifted the spirit of every woman out there—American or not.
I’m the least likely person to talk about this as I’m not a fan of politics. But, I am a woman, and as Michelle Obama said, this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency.
In one way or another, every woman out there can relate to this.
We’ve all experienced the trauma of abuse at least once in our lifetime—whether physically, verbally, or even emotionally. Some men have the guts to actually cross the line and disrespect us on every possible level.
When I was 13 years old I once took the bus alone. An old man slipped his hand below my seat in hopes of touching me. I flinched and instantly got up from my seat. This incident was etched into my memory for several months.
It saddens me that now at 28, I—and countless other women—still experience the same abuse on the verbal and emotional level (and unfortunately, for many of us on the physical level, too). Nonetheless, what differentiates my 13-year-old self from my 28-year-old self is having the courage to stand up for myself and recognizing that it’s not okay to be disrespected and demeaned.
In other words, I know I have a voice, as Michelle Obama puts it.
Sadly, some of us aren’t this aware, which is why I wholeheartedly wish that every woman out there would read or watch Michelle Obama’s words for empowerment. We need to understand that the pain that men are causing women is unacceptable, and by all means not normal.
Whoever assaults or degrades a woman has most probably forgotten that he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for one. And this, by far, is the most disgraceful thing.
Here are the powerful and profound words from Michelle Obama that every woman must absorb:
And now here I am out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women. Language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.
It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them, and they’ve said no, but he didn’t listen. Something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day.
So I thought it would be important to remind these young women how valuable and precious they are. I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls. And I told them that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I told them that they should disregard anyone who demeans or devalues them, and that they should make their voices heard in the world.
And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this, and I feel it so personally. And I’m sure that many of you do, too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.
This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to – Democrat, Republican, independent – no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.
“And all of us are doing what women have always done: we’re trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his. Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women.”
You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today, we as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election. We have knowledge. We have a voice. We have a vote.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Caitlin Oriel