Martha McSally Clears The Way For Reform For Sexual Assault Victims

I Stand By All Women Facing Sexual Assault, Regardless Of Their Political Views

In light of Senator Martha McSally's heart-wrenching report on her own sexual assault, it's time to realize that this is an epidemic that can affect any woman without discrimination.

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Conservative, Liberal, Socialist, Independent.

White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American.

Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Jewish.

Heterosexual, Bisexual, Pansexual, Lesbian, Asexual.

The hard truth is that sexual assault and rape doesn't give a flying fuck what you are, who you are, what you want to be, or what you want in life. It's the sad reality that this epidemic is happening to all kinds of women all over the world. Understanding the seriousness of what is happening to mothers, daughters, aunts, and sisters daily shouldn't be misconstrued by political beliefs. Rape is wrong in any scenario and I can promise you Martha McSally wasn't "asking for it" when she was trying to build her career in the Air Force.

"I thought I was strong, but I felt powerless"

When Martha McSally began her career in the armed forces she truly was rolling the dice in a man's game. She was discounted based on her gender and had to grow a tough skin to prove that she belonged there just as much as any other cadet. Unfortunately, the men in power who knew the position of power they had over her took advantage of this and used it to keep her quiet. The New York Time's helped to shine a light on the already exposed crisis that is occurring in every branch of the military. With movements like #Metoo there's no denying that this problem has bled into every occupation, social group, and religious group.

"Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again"

The "system" Senator McSally is referring to in this scenario is in regards to the military, but let's be honest every "system" that is in place to handle misconduct related to rape and sexual assault is beyond fucked up. Today barely half of all rape cases are actually reported. It is so blatantly clear that women are not coming forward because they already know the system will not do them justice. As McSally put it, it was just "raping [her] all over again". Could you imagine if this is how all social justice functioned? "I'm not gonna go report the break-in at my house because we all know it's just going to feel like the system is breaking in all over again". We need to build a climate that again disregards politics and focuses on the fact that the women in our nation are fearing for their lives every single GOD DAMN DAY.

"I want to shine a flashlight for them — that today can be a new day"

Honestly, for most victims, the assault itself is not the hardest part. It's waking up feeling nauseous, it's the uneasy feeling you get when you're alone with someone of the opposite gender, it's not trusting your own judgment anymore, it's blaming yourself even though you knew there was absolutely nothing you could've done differently. Remembering that tomorrow is a new day can be one of the only things to get you through the shitty day you're having.

Martha McSally wants to empower all women who have faced sexual assault to stand up and remember who they were before it happened and remember who they're going to be regardless. We should all follow her lead and remember the things, even the horrible things, that connect us and forget the menial things that divide us. Women are here to pick each other up and keep moving on regardless of what society throws our way. Senator McSally came forward with something that has been devastating her for years in the hopes that it inspires someone to do the same and for the "system" to finally change. It's our job to keep supporting our fellow survivors and pushing for change because this epidemic doesn't discriminate.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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