When The Going Gets Tough, Rise Up
I was twelve years old when I was sexually assaulted in the back of a church van on the way home from a youth group ski trip.
This is new information to the majority of people who know me, but my first political protest proved to me that it was high time to clean out the skeleton closet.
For a decade and a half I was ashamed. Horribly ashamed. I said nothing. I did nothing. I thought maybe it was nothing… maybe I was nothing.
My junior year at Virginia Tech, a handful of friends and I founded the very first collegiate chapter of Help Save The Next Girl, an organization geared towards young women’s safety and awareness on college campuses, but never once was I fully transparent about the underlying motivation to support and protect those around me.
Today, I will not be silent.
I will be loud.
And pissed off.
Because I don’t ever want my friends, my family, my students, the children I love, or the children I don’t have yet to ever feel like they have to keep quiet.
Like their body is not their own. Like they deserve what happened to them. Or like they would be called liars just for telling the truth.
When the president of our country talks about grabbing women “by their pussy” I know what that means. And I know how demoralizing it feels. So I take it incredibly personally.
But an estimated 2.9 million people gave me hope today.
And so I will not sit still. I will not be silent. I will not suck it up. I will not roll over and respect a misogynsitic bigot as the leader of the free world. I will fight him every step of the way.
By marching on.
By choosing love.
By standing with marginalized minorities and fighting for their rights along with my own. By working tirelessly to build bridges and not walls. By having the hard conversations and listening with the intent to understand. By rejecting hate and lifting up my brothers and sisters of every race, religion, and walk of life.
When they go low, we go high. (Thanks, Paige Green, for being a human tripod for this shot.)
And when the going gets tough, we rise up.
Revolution is not a one time event.
Happy Day One.
Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Every 8 minutes that victim is a child. Let’s take better care of each other: https://www.rainn.org/