The Silence Breakers Should Have Been The 'Person Of The Year' Years Ago

The Silence Breakers Should Have Been The 'Person Of The Year' Years Ago

We owe it to the survivors and to everyone out there who hasn’t been the victim of sexual violence to make a change, now.
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Don’t get me wrong, I am more than thrilled that the Silence Breakers were named TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year. When I woke up Wednesday morning and saw the video, I watched it three times all the way through because I was just so happy that these women were given a platform to speak out about what they went through.

I am so happy that people are finally being forced to listen.

Hearing them talk about how they were doubted and made to feel like the person who was in the wrong absolutely broke my heart. How can we live in a world where sexual violence is so carelessly written off?

Megyn Kelly’s quote struck me the hardest, “I thought maybe things could change for my daughter. I never thought things could change for me.”

It made me so sad to hear her say that. The way sexual assault victims have been treated in the past led her to believe that there was no way anything would change for her generation.

2017 has been filled with sexual assault victims coming forward and speaking out against what happened to them. Not only have celebrities come forward about sexual assault in Hollywood but the #MeToo movement allowed anyone with a social media handle to come forward and share their story. I was saddened to see so many of my friends sharing the hashtag.

Finally, the world is shining a light on the epidemic of sexual assault… if only we could have done this sooner. Maybe if sexual assault and harassment victims were believed years ago when they came forward then maybe we could have stopped some of the recent incidents from happening at all.

1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

99% of perpetrators of sexual violence will walk free.

Women ages 16-19 are four times more likely to be the victims of sexual violence.

1 in 6 women have survived an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

Those statistics are alarming and there are more where that came from. I haven’t even touched on the disturbing facts about sexual violence on college campuses (I highly recommend the documentary “The Hunting Ground” if you would like to learn more about the way sexual assault runs rampant on college campuses across the country).

As a woman, as a college student, as a friend of many people who posted #MeToo, I vow to do whatever I can to change those statistics I listed above. I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not worried about my safety, or about my sister’s safety, or about the safety of my friends and family.

I am beyond thrilled that the Silence Breakers were named TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year. I’m glad that we are finally shining a harsh light on the epidemic of sexual violence. I truly believe we are working towards changing those statistics. It won’t be smooth sailing but if we stand together we can make a change.

I wish the Silence Breakers were the Person of the Year years ago.

I wish I didn’t see so many #MeToo’s on my timeline that day. I wish the survivors of sexual violence were believed instead of being written off or treated like it was their fault.

It is years too late to save the Silence Breakers and to save some of my friends. We waited too long. Now we owe it to the survivors and to everyone out there who hasn’t been the victim of sexual violence to make a change. Now.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram @time

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Banning Abortion Kills Women, So Stop Saying Anti-Abortion Activists Are 'Pro-Life'

“Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” —First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1995
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With the recent introduction of a bill that pretty much outright ban and criminalize all abortions in the State of Ohio — one that is very much illegal and very much unconstitutional — as well as the passing of a bill that would ban abortions after fifteen weeks in the State of Mississippi and other anti-abortion laws all over the country, it’s time to take a look at what “Pro-Life” really means.

Every person who says that they’re “pro-life” cries that abortion is murder. “Babies have a right to life!” Well, yes that may be true, but what about women who already have their lives?

Abortion is a very difficult, extremely emotional decision, and I pray that I never have to make that choice, but women have abortions for a variety of reasons — including their own health. For some women, pregnancy is dangerous; it might kill them. If a doctor tells a women that her life is in danger and her only option is terminating a pregnancy, why would anyone want to deny her the choice to save her own life? Doesn’t she have the right to life; the right to continue living the life that she already has?

People also cry about the horrors of late-term abortion, but late-term abortion is an extreme case and only makes up a minuscule percentage of all abortions performed in the US. Late-term abortion is not something that doctors just do because someone doesn’t want a baby; these pregnancies that are terminated late are wanted, but they can’t happen for some reason or another.

Many of the babies that are aborted late-term often suffer from genetic mutations or disorders that would make their lives extremely short and painful, if they’re not stillborn. So, the parents make the difficult decision to end the pregnancy so that their child doesn’t suffer. Why would anyone want a baby to suffer unnecessarily? Why would anyone want to make parents watch their child suffer, knowing that their child is going to die anyway?

Abortion is also an option for women who become pregnant out of rape or incest. Why would anyone want a woman to have a permanent reminder of a traumatic experience for the rest of her life?

“Pro-Lifers,” also cry “Adoption! Adoption!” but what about the kids already in the system? Why do we want to add more children to a system that is already over saturated? People say that women should give up unwanted children for adoption instead of aborting, but nobody wants to take care of them and the thousands of other kids in the system who need homes.

There are a variety of other reasons that lead to a woman choosing to have an abortion; however, none of those reasons matter or, frankly, are anyone else’s business. A woman’s right to choose is HER private, medical decision. It’s her life and her body.

Would it ever be acceptable to tell someone they can’t have plastic surgery or that they’re not allowed to have a life-saving cancer treatment or they are banned from seeing the doctor when they’re sick? Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? People would be outraged if there was a group of people telling everyone they can’t make their own medical decisions.

So, why is it okay for a group of people to call for the ban of a medical procedure and harass women for choosing to get that medical procedure?

Making abortion illegal doesn’t get rid of abortion. It only increases unsafe abortions — the kind you think of that happened in the “olden days” before Roe v. Wade of women in alleys using coat hangers. If a woman wants an abortion, she’ll find a way to have one, and those ways are often dangerous.

When abortion is completely illegal, women die unnecessarily.

They die from infection and procedure and pregnancy related complications. Why would anyone want these avoidable deaths, when legal abortion is a safe medical procedure that is performed by actual doctors in sterile environments?

If so-called “pro-life” people want to reduce abortion rates, then why don’t they support access to birth control and comprehensive sex education — two things that have been proven to reduce abortion rates because they reduce unplanned, unwanted pregnancies?

The “Pro-Life” movement only focuses on the unborn babies — lives that aren’t even guaranteed to begin with. It treats women like baby making factories by placing the life of a fetus ahead of the life of the woman. The movement doesn’t care if women die as long as their babies are born no matter what because, “The Bible says abortion is a sin.”

Well, news flash. The Bible says a lot of things are sins: divorce, adultery, lying, swearing, premarital sex, and the list goes on and on. If we’re basing our laws in a democracy off of what the Bible says is wrong, then why aren’t we trying to throw every divorcée in jail and harassing every couple that goes into a courthouse to get divorced? Why aren’t we condemning people who have extra marital affairs?

Anti-abortion laws are anti-woman. It’s just another way that women can be treated like second-class citizens, being told that they can’t make their own medical decision and that their life isn’t valued over the life of a fetus that’s not even capable of life on its own until its gestational age is around 24 weeks — a time that most abortions in the United States are performed long before.

And for Ohio to try to outright ban abortion, that’s what the Ohio legislators are saying: they don’t care about women or see them as worthy of life when compared to a fetus. It makes me ashamed to be an Ohioan, and every other Ohioan should be ashamed too because if this somehow becomes a law and somehow isn’t struck down by the Supreme Court, women all over the State of Ohio will die from avoidable infections and complications.

So, “Pro-Life?” Why don’t we just come out and say it? “Pro-Life” isn’t really “pro-life,” just like “Pro-Choice” isn’t “pro-abortion.”

“Pro-Life” is “pro-fetus and pro-fetus only,” and women be damned because to the “Pro-Life” movement, their lives don’t matter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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