What to do about Rape
By Ann Malabre
I am no longer afraid of being raped. I am no longer afraid for my daughters. I am no longer willing to allow fear to rule my life or theirs and how we present ourselves in the world. I understand with all my heart that being afraid does nothing to protect them or me. Rape happens to women whether they are afraid or not at alarming frequency, and being afraid of it only hides women’s power along with their bodies.
I have been raped and touched and forced into situations where I had no control over my body. I have felt the emptiness and heartbreak of people’s own fear and rejection of this issue that I interpreted as a rejection of me; by men, by myself, and by friends and by family. I have looked at the label shame tried it on and discarded it, for it does not fit my experience. The truth that keeps resurfacing no matter what, is I am strong and very connected to power. I have endured so much and come up again and again to walk in this world and show myself truly, and I realize it is because of my vulnerability, not in spite of it. When I no longer fear my own vulnerability, I no longer fear, when I rejoice in my own vulnerability, and the connection it offers me to all humanity here is nothing that can stop me.
Women are like flowers. We do not die, we regenerate, and our beauty from within cannot be dimmed. No matter if our beauty is picked in cherishing and appreciation, or in spite and contempt, a new bud of beauty comes forth again and again and again. The truth is, I never lost my power. It is impossible for men to take my power, they can only abuse their own power and integrity through their misunderstanding of the sacred nature of my body, and it is they who are ultimately lost and diminished. I am bigger than their anger and shame, I am bigger than men’s confused and painful blind reaching for power. I have the power of life and creation in this body that I inherited and pass on to my daughters. I have the wisdom of connection and the riches of my heart intact and strong. It is those that abuse that witness themselves and cannot escape this shame and separation they try to see in themselves as power. Women need to wake up from the dream that men have the key to their wholeness, for it is the other way around. Who are men to possibly be able to give us permission, approval, and power? We are rebirth, we are wholeness, we are an army of daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers, and by the nature of our womanhood, we are undefeatable. When we come together as women, we heal and remember we are empowered by all our experience and this is the infinite source of our true and beautiful power. This is the collective beauty we should be striving for.
If it is true that more than 1 in 4 women have had a sexual encounter that was forced and devoid of choice, think of all these billions of women who have endured being overpowered and devalued by men, and yet are still standing up in strength and going about their lives contributing to the world as mothers, as workers, writers, artists, as leaders, as innovators and as agents of a new age beginning. If we could gather them all together in one place and look around at all the different faces, ages, colors and shapes, what an amazing army of quiet uncelebrated resilience we are. We are an army of truth and freedom and power. We don’t need celebration, we need no one’s permission. We hold the key to the future in our hands for we are the undefeatable spirits, the unstoppable hearts, the phoenix rising again and again in power that cannot be tarnished.
What if we all wore a beautiful scarlet W for warrior on our shirts so we could identify each other? Walking down the street we could see in each other’s eyes the knowing, the understanding, and the recognition of the female endurance. We are so very strong, we bear children, and by the very nature of becoming wives and mothers we experience the annihilation of our identities completely and re-form them as a matter of course. Our bodies transform in pregnancy into unrecognizable but beautiful vessels of life. We suffer the pains of bringing life into the world. We recover swiftly to nurture that life through childhood by our own internal knowing and wisdom. We hold our own permission with no apologies, and claim our power and wisdom. We know how to love. We know how to suffer and find wholeness again and again. We know how to keep pushing forth beautiful flowers from stems that have seen so much hardship.
It is in stepping into our full presence and place on this planet, taking up our space with no fear, fully embracing our impact, that a truth will shake out and order and balance will refind itself in a truer, healthier place. We are no longer princesses to be rescued, daughters to be approved of, beauties to be objectified, we are women and we have the sweet kiss to awaken each other into our fullness and power, we don’t need to stay asleep any longer….Awaken!