posted on 01.24/filed under Taboo

 

Being born female is like being a double-edged sword.

At times, you feel as the most powerful human being but then as quickly as a two second span you are back to feeling as the weakest link in the group. Personally, being born female has me constantly asking myself at different parts of my day whether my life would be ten times better if I was in fact a man? Would it be easier? Would my problems disappear? The answer is yes, my life would be in fact ten times better and ten times easier.

However, it’s hard to imagine that men would have this constant thought in their head.

Do men for example, feel scared when they walk alone past a group of girls, feeling intimidated and threatened and violated just by their looks? Do they wonder whether they will prefer the hotter, more handsome guy over them at a job interview? Do they feel pressured to flirt or ignore a sexual joke being thrown at them just for the sake of keeping their job?

There are men who suffer from assault, from being pressured into doing things they do not want to do. Yet, the number of women who every single day wake up wanting to die because they cannot bear the thought of going to work that day, of going to school or going to their gymnastics practice is a number that does not compare.

The elephant that has been standing in the room for years has finally been noticed yet many still pretend to not see it.

2017 was the year of speaking out, the year of change and the year where millions felt the necessity to finally say enough. In 2018 we speak louder.

Courage is one of the things that many of the women who have been mentally and physically damaged in their life find hard to find, but it’s always better late than never.

In Oct. The New York Times published a story with several sexual assault accusations incriminating Harvey Weinstein from former actresses who worked for him. Why so many of them kept quiet for so long is not only understandable but relatable. In a world where being female has zero power compared to fighting a successful multibillionaire producer, one can only understand why most victims decided to put it behind them and go on with their lives. Yet, knowing your work environment is not safe can take a toll in your self-esteem, personal safety and mental health.

Thankfully, the more actresses spoke against Weinstein the longer the list grew of victims. More than 30 women have accused him of sexually harrasment and it seems the list will continue to grow.

It is difficult to imagine some of the most successful, talented women in the world have also been scared, have feared for their life and have struggled to survive day by day, this just shows that rapists and monsters do not care. For them it does not matter who you are, what position you are in or how talented you claim to be you are just a women. A word that for them represents weakness, but today it represents braveness.

It only takes one brave voice to raise a crowd and it only takes one crowd to move the world.

Last year it was celebrated for the first time the first worldwide Women’s March. It was a protest against the government that would soon be leading the most powerful country in the world, a protest against a president who has also been accused of sexual assault from at least a dozen women but no one seems to care.  This year, women marched again this time to remind the world that we are not giving up and we are not scared anymore. Women are only gaining forces and getting stronger.

Because of Weinstein the #MeToo movement was created and the #TimesUp hashtag as well, this year the Golden Globes carpet was filled with beautiful black dresses instead of the array of colors that it was used to. Black represented the gender inequality that women live in, no matter what type of job they have they are still assaulted, seen worthless and paid less than men. Around 300 actresses, directors and producers wore black to protest, and even though it seems pointless the smallest of movements can create global change.

Scrolling through Twitter, I came across a post written by McKayla Maroney a retired gymnast and known globally for her cute smirk photograph at the London Olympics, as I read what she wrote it shook me to my core. It’s saddening to find out that someone has to leave what they love, their passion and motive in life because of a low excuse of a human being. Maroney was sexually abussed by Larry Nasar the USA official gymnastics doctor since she was 14 until she left the sport. It was shocking to read but Maroney I applaud you for coming forward and speaking out because now more than 150 women have also reached out and spoken about their own abuse by Nassar.

One of the last posts I read were by no other but Simone Biles, a Texan and one of the most admirable and decorated gymnasts of all time. Biles was also abused by Nassar throughout her gymnast life.

This monster not only abused around 150 women but also young girls from the ages of six to nine years old, and was found with more than 37,000 child pornography images. Nassar is being sentenced to 175 years in prison but that will never be enough.

One of the girls abused by him took her own life because of how depressed she was, her own mother testified against him and those 175 years will never bring her back, but at least not one more girl will have to go through this suffering ever again.

Reading what these girls went through, what this man did to them brought me to tears, as I write it is difficult not to cry and feel for them, it’s unimaginable what it must have been like to go through life knowing you will be abused in order to practice the sport you love, taking you to the point of hating it.

It is also known that those who abuse for years are never caught because people know about them and continue to allow this behavior. USA Gymnastics knew there had been accusations against Nassar and continued to protect him, letting him prey on more innocent girls.

“I’m so angry that, after realizing that we were abused, they let him continue to molest other gymnasts when they told me there was an investigation going on,” Raisman told ESPN’s Outside the Lines, referring to USA Gymnastics. “They told me to be quiet. I thought that they were doing the right thing, and I didn’t want to tip off the investigation. I trusted them and I shouldn’t have.”

Meanwhile, other gymnasts reached settlements that would keep them from speaking publicly: McKayla Maroney, who won gold with Raisman in 2012 in London, reportedly faced a $100,000 fine from USA Gymnastics if she spoke out about Nassar (she originally came forward in December 2016) as part of a $1.25 million settlement. USA Gymnastics later issued a statement that said it “has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar.”

The problems at USA Gymnastics weren’t limited to Nassar, as revealed in the Indianapolis Star’s extensive investigation. The Star discovered a pattern of coaches and others failing to report sex abuse to authorities and later uncovered more than 360 cases spanning 20 years in which gymnasts accused coaches of sexual misconduct. (vox.com)

Steve Penny, the CEO of USA Gymnastics for more than 10 years, resigned in March 2017 as the scandal unfolded.

For these girls who are now strong women example of admiration to have to face their abuser in person and speak against him in front of those who never believed in their word is a small amount of hope for the rest of the women who live in fear. Nassar did not only abuse gymnasts but even a family friend, Kyle Stephens was abused by Nassar since she was six and stopped when 12. She told her parents but they did not believe her, but today she gets a bit of the justice she deserves.

“Little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens said. “They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

A number of victims said they suffered from self-doubt, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some said they or their loved ones harmed themselves because of Nassar’s abuse. One of the former gymnasts even forced an injury on herself to stop her from continuing in gymnastics.

#Time’sUp is more than silly feminists talking nonsense but a simple plead of justice and equality. All women want is to be seen human and more than just a body to stick a finger or dick into.

I have never been abused to the extent these girls were, but I have been followed to my car, catcalled and called a bitch when I didn’t reciprocate into sex or sexual acts. I have been threatened to have nude pictures of mine be released, manipulated and used my frankness as a flaw. I have been called a slut and have guys say they would never be caught in public with me because I am a whore. Funny how when you say no you are called a bitch and stuck up and when you say yes, you are easy and a slut.

Well, if you say you haven’t [had sex], you’re a prude. If you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?”—Allison

I have friends who have been told by their own boyfriends that if they don’t have sex with them, it will only make them cheat since they don’t put out.

This needs to stop. Today I feel more than proud to have been born a woman, and today my life is ten times better because I can give a voice just like the rest of these women did to those who do not have one. Time really is up, let’s use every second we have before we run out of it. 

 

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