It's V Day!*

Image courtesy of www.vday.org

In honor of V Day, a story about one group working to end violence against women:

Years ago, I ran a community organizing campaign to hold the local police accountable for how they upheld the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. During the campaign, our group was invited to give a brief talk about how abuse had affected their lives. 

The campaign's steering committee, all of whom were survivors of domestic violence and/or rape, met to come up with talking points. My job was to take notes. The women had trouble deciding what to say. Eventually, their brainstorming drifted into a conversation about their personal experiences of abuse. 

The matter-of-fact way they described the horrific things they had endured and the poignancy of their stories was riveting. I started writing down some of what they said. Later I made a list of their quotes on how life could have been different without abuse, and presented it to them at the next meeting. Did they want to use these quotes as their talk? They did. Here is what they presented:

  • I would know what it is to live without the paralyzing fear that leaves your legs like rubber. 
    • I would not feel like the walking wounded.
    • I would still be able to walk.
    • As a child, I would wear three layers of clothes so that he wouldn’t molest me. I wouldn’t be doing the same thing 40 years later.
    • My child would not have had to watch the pain I went through. And I wouldn’t have to watch her make the same mistakes I had made.
    • I would not have to watch my son be abusive like his dad.
    • I would not have lost my kids.
    • I would not have to cope with the fact that by the time I realized I was worth something, more than half my life had gone by.
    • I would not have to struggle for snippets of feeling good.
    • I would dare to believe that I deserve more.
    • I would be in touch with a world of possibilities.

    Want to join the one billion rising to stop violence against women? Looking for ideas to commemorate V Day? Check out www.vday.org!

    *V Day is a global movement to end violence against women.