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This was a topic I was deferring and didn’t want to get into for a while.
But April being the sexual assault month was a wake-up call to speak up.
Yes, I am a woman who—unfortunately among too many—was sexually assaulted in one way or another, more than once, in and out of the workplace, and I am not afraid nor ashamed to say it anymore.
I have also recently discovered that, sadly, almost all the women I know (l wish I was exaggerating) have experienced some form of sexual assault down the line, and it affected them deeply and changed them forever.
Besides the fact that this is personal, I was triggered even more by “The Bold Type” series, specifically by the episode “Carry the Weight.”
Briefly, one of the main characters, Jane, who works in a global publication house, decides to write an article based on an interview with a sexual assault activist. She invested all her time in it, literally carrying some weights, not sleeping, not eating, not resting, to symbolize the heavy toll that sexual assault has on women and how much it affects their being and their behavior.
She also encouraged other women to speak up and say they were assaulted by asking them to carry the weights alternatively with her, making them lighter, as misery loves company, and as we all know, recognizing the problem is the first step to healing and letting go.
Eventually, Jane also found out that her idol and boss, Jacqueline, was sexually assaulted, as she boldly and courageously carried the weights in public without speaking up, better yet, acting up several years after it happened.
This episode inspired me to speak up and accept that it happened—not that it is okay that it did, just that it wasn’t in any way my fault or any other girl’s fault in the universe. We are still who we are, strong as ever, beautiful as ever, complete, and whole even more than ever.
Guilt-shaming, self-hate, low self-esteem, distorted body image, low productivity, personality changes, suicide, self-harm, giving up…all of these and much more are the consequences of such assaults.
I shall be using my paper voice today to make it slightly closer to normal speaking up about rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual extortion, domestic violence, groping, and everything in between.
It is essential to know it is not okay, normal, or acceptable, despite what a screwed-up, sexually-oriented, dead society might imply or try to normalize.
It’s time to break some patterns, to not comply with the subliminal messages of a robotic, drowned in the sexual industry society that makes it look like something we cannot discuss, bring to light, say is wrong, or fight and refuse.
Resilience is not the key here. F*ck resilience. This is a red line—something that should not be crossed.
A woman’s free will to say “no,” even if to provoking words, actions, or whatever is her own right, shall never be taken away from her.
I want every amazing, strong, beautiful woman out there to at least know she has a safe haven in me to speak up, to talk about it, to know she is loved and still awesome, and most importantly, to actually believe she can overcome this giant, “share the weights,” and load off this heavy burden on her shoulders.
Finally, I address my words to any man who might feel entitled to hurt any woman in any way:
You cannot, under any circumstances nor in any situation, whether with your female coworker, your partner, your wife, or a random stranger, disrespect her, disregard her, ignore her body language that’s screaming “no,” touch her without her permission, use abusive language with her, grope her, or rape her because I hope she doesn’t stay silent—she will fight back and speak up.
She has learned the hard way, but now she knows she can actually do something about it—she can rise above it. You must know and apply the following:
“Your freedom ends where the other person’s freedom begins.”
Read that again.