I am rising for the 21 year old girl I was when the man, high on glue, climbed through my bedroom window, held a blade above my head, and raped me.
I am rising for the many, many times since then that I have struggled with intimacy because my first sexual experience was a violent, ugly one.
I am rising because of the way that my culture, religion, and family history taught me not to trust or love my own body.
I am rising because I don’t want any more young women to grow up feeling objectified or unvalued.
I am rising because I don’t want any more young men to grow up feeling like they have to be “tough” to be “real men”.
I am rising because patriarchy has left deep wounds in me and every woman and man on the planet.
I am rising for the young woman in the yellow sari in India whose vulnerable eyes told the story of the betrayal she’d suffered after being sold into sexual slavery and then being told she was no longer worthy of being welcomed back into her family.
I am rising for the bead-adorned young women in Ethiopia who laughed and danced and worked hard in the mud alongside the men, and then suffered (and some died) under the dirty knife that ravaged their genitals.
I am rising for the sister-of-my-heart whose deeply buried memories of childhood sexual abuse have left her staggering and trying to catch her breath.
I am rising because each of us – the billion women who have been victimized – needs to heal and needs to be reminded that we are not alone.
I am rising because there is strength in numbers, strength in our bodies, strength in community, and strength in vulnerability.
I am rising because rape has become a weapon of war, a way to hold onto power, a way to keep women silent, and the way we treat our Mother Earth.
I am rising because our whole planet needs to heal from rape.
I am rising to bring forth the deeply buried feminine that the world so desperately needs right now, not to replace the masculine but to stand alongside in balance and strength.
I am rising for you and for me and for our daughters and for our sons.
I am rising for hope.
Will you rise?
(image credit: https://vimeo.com/49860523)