The speech that Oprah made at the Golden Globes was so very important. Not only for young girls watching the show, but for everyone who has ever been victimized in any way.
She is an amazing speaker, and respected by many because of her outstanding accomplishments and her unending search for the truth. And coming from the background she did, her speech had all the more credibility.
She has bravely admitted in front of millions of people the sexual abuse she endured as a girl, and her resulting pregnancy. And how she felt losing that child was an opportunity for her to be who she needed to be.
So when Oprah stood there in front of a room filled with women and men who had been preyed upon by powerful men in their industry, she was speaking to a room of courageous people who have used their voices to help heal everyone.
Coming out about being sexually assaulted is an extremely courageous act. Standing up and saying, “I’ve been a victim!” is one of the hardest things a person can do. Because you feel at fault, that you should’ve been stronger or smarter to be able to avoid or get out of the situation. That it shouldn’t have happened to you.
But when we hear the voices of so many who have been assaulted, we know it happens far more than we ever imagined. And that we’re not at fault for being in a certain place at a certain time. We are not at fault for people’s sick ideas of their right to invade another person’s personal space. Another person’s intimate life.
I cannot know why a person feels like forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do. I cannot know why that excites them or makes them feel powerful. It’s a sickness, but where it originates is likely as unique as each person and their experiences.
The fact that it is so pervasive is extremely disturbing.
Where has this originated in our collective psyches? And why do so many men feel they can get away with it? Because they have been getting away with it over and over since time began.
But as Oprah said, “It ends here! And it ends now!” An historical moment for victims everywhere.
It brought goose bumps to my body when she said that. I could feel a shiver run through me.
And it is all about using your voice and speaking your personal truth.
It takes great courage to speak our personal truths.
I read blogs every day where people are doing exactly that. They are speaking up for who they are and where they’ve been and where they’re going.
And they’re all amazing.
And all amazingly courageous.
Today I’m thankful for the voice and the word because without them the victimization of vulnerable people would continue.
I believe this is only a small drop of awareness in a large ocean, but it is a very important drop because it will spread waves out into many aspects that we aren’t even aware of yet.
And that is what our voices and our words are all about.
From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor