Welcome to my story. Welcome to my voice. My counselor of numerous years asked me quite some time ago “who I wanted to be.” Reminiscent to solving a mystifying theorem, I recently shared with her my straightforward reply, and why I could not necessarily coherently express this reply honestly when initially asked begins this journey. I believe that all too often, so many of us respond to such a simplistic query attempting to contrive an answer that would be acceptable to the listener, the expert, and his or her parameters of acceptance, rather than actually acknowledging the authentic desire within our fiber, our core. I, as a lifelong victim of abuse, have allowed my friends, relatives, and the general population to define me. While I mildly understand the trite phrase of “pick and choose your battles” (perhaps from the perspective of mistakenly receiving sweet tea instead of unsweetened), I will always err on the side of humanity and justice. No longer will I be implicitly or explicitly told to “be quiet,” “let it go,” or “cease sharing.”
Gone should be the days where men are revered as “assertive,” and women, repudiated as “bitchy.” Such unequivocal discrimination is often seen in the workplace, government, and social settings. The silence must stop including but not limited to such comments as….”You probably should not have told anyone about being raped.” It is a metaphorical-ill-repute-DUI of sorts which one should hide (facetious intent, duly noted). A victim should not be encouraged to keep an assault silent or discouraged from possessing a voice. These are the individuals who have suffered and did nothing wrong. Victim blaming is a sad tragedy of our civilization, and it should be categorically prohibited. Case in point, lawyers prepare their respective victimized clients regarding how their skirt length might damage their sexual assault case. This is unacceptable. Such litigious objections are allegedly “irrelevant” under the rules of evidence but should always be sustained judiciously acknowledging for the arbiters that “victim blaming” is not tolerated. It should be neither allowed nor accepted. No order and no directive should ever supersede commentary afforded in accordance with law.
I am one voice, but the unfortunate pursuit of societal silencing (shhh, let it go, be a good little girl, go away, don’t post that) will simply result in my deafening drum. The more attempt there is to muzzle me, the more I will stand for my convictions, speak my voice, and articulate my thoughts. I’m no Rosa Parks, but I have a story. I have a story believing that one day my convictions will be acknowledged, my voice will be heard, and my articulation, appreciated resulting in the extinction of judicial abuse, community corruption, and revictimization. A cause need not be global to be worthy. Recently, I was meeting with a well-respected Cleveland area civil rights attorney where he expressed the following observation during a jocular discussion, “You don’t have much of a filter.” It was one of the most welcome perceptions that I have experienced as it was the first confirmatory insight that validated the aforementioned desire of whom I want to be. Meet me….listen to my voice, read my story, and hear my drum.