Most days, having a vagina scares me,
And it's not because thinking of the giant life force that one day is going to spring forth from it and nestle itself in the crooks of my weary arms and loving gaze.
It's not because of all the cancers it can contract.
It's not because of pregnancy scares or cramps or PMS.
It's not because it is complex and mysterious and beautiful and omnipresent.
It is because everyday
I open up my laptop and I pray
That another woman hasn't been killed
Because of her gender.
Because she said no.
Because she said yes.
This is the world we inhabit.
And what scares me most is the fact
That we so solely accept
that 270-plus girls were kidnapped and forced into marriage,
just because they wanted an education
and were about to graduate
and become doctors and lawyers
and make the world a better place,
And no one's brought them home yet.
Or the fact that a girl can get stabbed and killed
just because she didn't feel like going to prom with a boy,
Or the fact last year a girl was raped by her peers
And every single news outlet mourned the future football careers of the boys who raped her
Instead of the death of the girl's trust in men.
Or the fact that a guy felt he was not given what he was owed
And what he owed was a beautiful woman and her sexuality,
So he decided to kill people, specifically blond "sluts", for his Retribution.
The fact that, most days, I feel like a walking statistic
Frightens me so much,
And I am tired.
I am so tired,
Because I can't leave my house at night
Without pepper spray or a whistle, or keys laced between my fingers.
Because I have to contemplate the things I wear
In case a man might be so turned on by my wardrobe
That it would be my fault if HE decided to rape ME.
Because when I was eight, a man
Thrice my age,
Took my virginity.
Because I have listened to one too many tales
of how my girl friends could not escape their rape.
Because I've been told a number of times by my best friend
How he believes being cat-called from men in cars
Should be taken as a compliment.
Because when a man told me his desires of me,
I told him to go away
And I was well aware that I might've just ensured that
I would be a statistic in the newspaper the next morning.
I am tired of being afraid of living inside of my own body.
I am so exhausted.
Rape is not a joke.
Sexual abuse, sexual harrassment, sexual assault is not a joke.
It's not funny to call girls sluts or whores.
It's not right nor is it accurate.
It is a double edged sword that we all walk upon,
And it is simply disgusting.
People say we don't need feminism?
Well, in my opinion, we need feminism now more than ever.
We need it for our daughters who have not yet been born.
We need it for our sisters and our friends and our wives and our neighbors.
We need it for the girls who've stood up for us,
For the women who made us smile when the world let us down,
For the ladies who care so much.
We need it for our sons who need to be taught not the rape
Instead of girls being taught not to get raped.
The world is not going to fix itself overnight.
And I know this
And you know this, too,
But the only way that things are going to begin to get better
Is if we begin to act together.
And if I hear one more badgering cry of
"Not me! Not me! Not all men are like that!"
I will scream:
"Stop trying to make this about you! It's not about you! It's about us, for once,
And we do not care if you're one of the good ones! Stop trying to derail the conversation!"
I spend a lot of time thinking about the someday daughter I will have
And all the things that I will teach her
and how I will protect her and cherish her and love her,
But the one thing, the one thing that I do not want
is to bring her into a world of misogyny and hate
where there is a chance that she will get raped and maybe even killed
just because she has breasts or because she wore a short skirt
Or because she smiled at a boy once.
That is not what I want.
I refuse to bring her into a callous world
where she will be another statistic.
I want her to love men.
I want her to have healthy relationships and access to birth control
and to love herself and her body unlike I did.
I want her to view female characters in films and television that are not there to fulfill fantasies of men.
I do not want her to look on a television screen and to think that she is ugly becuase
of the way men perceive her.
I do not want her to think that she owes anyone anything just because she identifies as female.
I do not want her to live in the world that I currently inhabit,
And when I see my friends, my old classmates, having children,
I want to cry because how could you bring a child into this world when it refuses to change?
When we refuse to change?
Rome did not build itself in a day,
So we need to strap on our britches and get to work
Because it's going to take days, weeks, months, years
But I think that it's at the grasps of the tips of our hungry fingers
But until we get to that point
We need to hold hands and march and stand as one
As sisters and brothers united in feminism,
In the rights for everyone to be safe and respected.
270 girls kidnapped in Nigeria.
6 men and women dead.
3 ladies shot at.
1 girl killed because she just didn't want to go to prom with a guy.
Maybe she was already going with someone else.
Maybe she was gay.
Maybe she liked the guy as a friend but just didn't feel the same way.
Maybe she didn't even want to go to prom.
What was her crime?
What did she do wrong?
And so when I tell you that I fear for my life
When I walk alone at night because I've done absolutely nothing
and even that is perceived as a crime by male entitlement,
Please believe me when I say that every girl has felt the same way,
And until we fix the world and make it safe for -
Our daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, mothers
to walk alone at night,
we are living on a tainted planet.
So that is it.
I am done feeling sorry for my sex.
I am done feeling scared for my life.
I am ready to be angry.
It is time that I start screaming and kicking and biting and fighting
For my rights,
For womens' rights,
For human rights.
It is time we stop crying "Not All Men"
and start shouting "Yes All Women."
Rape culture has been our master for far too long,
So it's time for a revolt.
It's time for the statistics to fight back.