We live in a world where a woman is the Democratic presidential nominee and a world where another woman’s rapist will spend less than three months in jail. I don’t know how to reconcile these things. But it’s all I’ve thought about this week.
Ten years ago, when I was in high school, I didn’t know anyone my age who called themselves a feminist. Today, my sisters proudly identify as feminists; the movement has become mainstream. Yet for all our progress, we are constantly reminded of just how far we have to go. Lest anyone think women are treated as men’s equals, we need only look to the sexist comments about Hillary Clinton, or worse, one judge’s prioritizing a violent rapist’s future over a woman’s very right to safely walk this earth.
The Stanford rape story is a painful reinforcement of many unfortunate truths, but if there’s any glimmer of a silver lining in all of this, it’s also a reminder to women and writers everywhere that their voices do matter. Your words can make a lasting, indelible impact. It’s my deepest hope that the Stanford rape victim takes some comfort in knowing that her powerful words to her attacker in court have reached, enlightened, and helped people far and wide. By retelling her life’s most horrific moments and refusing to gloss over or apologize for the uncomfortable parts (as well as any great memoirist), she reinforced her agency and spoke on behalf of so many other women afraid or unable to do the same.
Fellow writers, women, humans: Use your voices. Empower others.
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