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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

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


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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