I am a mother, a teacher, and a writer.
I am not a survivor of domestic abuse.
I am not a survivor of sexual assault or rape. At least not yet.
It is the “not yet” that I have grown up with. That is the story I was told by my mother, and caring adults who wanted to keep me safe. It is the only story I knew.
When I began working with V-Day and One Billion Rising, I heard many stories from survivors. I am not a survivor, but I listened to their stories. I became a witness.
And once you are a witness, you have a choice. I choose to stand up for them. I choose to stand against violence. I choose a new story: This is my revolution, a new story.
Stand up! Shout it! Celebrate it! Write about it in your novels. Write new song lyrics. Include it in your paint. Serve it with your evening meal.
Tell this story: you don’t have to live with the “not yet.” You don’t have to accept the fear, the sadness, the anger, and the helplessness. Whisper it into every child’s ear at bedtime: You are loved. Your body is holy. We are beautiful creatures. Whisper into your son’s ear: You are loved. Your body is holy.
1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 men are abused, assaulted in their lifetime.
Let’s take those numbers and bear witness to them. Be in awe. Be in shock. And then do something: Tell a new story. Together we can bear witness and demand change.
I am not a survivor, not yet. My children are not survivors, not ever.