I went through my high school and college years depressed and anxious without really understanding that what I was feeling wasn’t healthy or normal. I was a high-achieving, active, social person so it was easy to hide –even from myself. I was a different person in public than I was in private. I did some therapy in college with the university’s therapists, but it wasn’t much help. My mental health got considerably worse when I left college, and I think that’s because I no longer had the constant distraction of fitting a four-year college degree and college experience into three years. That was a fabulous distraction from the mental work I needed to do to heal.
You’re familiar with the phrase “Your actions speak louder than your words.” But in today’s tense political environment, what you don’t say about the issues is quickly becoming more significant than anything else. Because in an extremist political atmosphere, you cannot straddle the division. When you try to remain neutral, your silence starts to become suspect.
I can’t tell you how many times well-meaning folks have started a discussion with me by saying “I’m not a feminist, BUT…” followed by describing their very feminist beliefs and thinly veiled reasons for not identifying as feminist. You might be thinking, “Well, what’s the harm in not identifying as a feminist when you do believe in gender equality?”
This is a story for every woman, man, and child who have survived sexual assault. This is for everyone who was brave enough to come forward, report their traumatic experience to the authorities, and then… got no justice whatsoever. This is for everyone who wished they had reported but didn’t, and this is for everyone who felt like they couldn’t report at all. Far too many reports of sexual misconduct go unpunished. But I’m so relieved to share that one of my many sexual assault stories is ending not in open wounds, traumatic suffering, and loose ends, but instead, it’s ending with justice — albeit delayed for far too many years.