What Cannot Be Said...

Note: Many men and boys have been sexually assaulted and my heart truly goes out to them. I also know and honor that some people do not identify as either men or women, or have gender fluidity, so please bear with me as I navigate the best ways I know to share this message.

I focus on women because I believe that as more women are empowered and emboldened, life will become better for all of us. Given the chance—or claiming the chance, women will take actions that protect and nurture more people.

"What cannot be said will be wept." Sappho

I wept as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shared details of a sexual assault she said occurred by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, US Supreme Court nominee.

I felt the power of a primal, collective scream from diverse women of all ages and backgrounds who watched or listened to Dr. Ford’s testimony. Her words, and the still-present pain behind them, brought sexual harassment, assault, and abuse to the surface for many of us.

Sexual assault lines lit up around the country right after Dr. Ford’s testimony last Thursday, showing an over 200% increase within the first few hours. Women shared their stories in public arenas, television, social media, and among family and friends.

I remembered and shared my own sexual assault from 40 years ago, and had not realized all the ways it negatively impacted my life as a young woman and beyond. Since writing the first draft of this blog, I have recalled in varying detail other incidents as well.

Many women I know have shared heart-breaking details of their sexual assaults. It’s been hard to find a woman who has not been molested or assaulted at some level.

America and much of the world is led by an unhealthy patriarchy (a system of society, hierarchy, or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family; men hold the power; women are largely excluded from power, leadership, decision-making, and influence) which has control over nearly every segment of life.

After what is estimated to be 10,000 years of patriarchy, isn’t it about time we question that system and change what needs to be changed? This is the time to have the hard conversations and yes, the bold ones, about all kinds of issues that will create a shared balance of power for all.

Sharing a story of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse is uncomfortable, for the one telling it and for the one hearing it. But holding stories of abuse inside ourselves creates a dangerous volcano of grief, fear, and despair that will certainly erupt. We are seeing the sparks from finally-told, but deeply-felt stories fly now.

We can cool the fires by being honest about what happened to us—and by creating sacred space of safety for others to allow these incidents to be shared.

May we have the bold conversations and take the big steps to create a new way of being in relationship with one another that, in all ways, honors each person. We must resist the status quo.

Can you feel a new world rising up?
What one bold act are you willing to take to bring a new world into reality?

This venerable sisterhood stands behind you and with you.
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