Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the power of women and girls. Many organizations and individuals worldwide (I hope you will check in on a few! Some suggestions below) are marking this day with demonstrations, social media campaigns, and sharing personal stories about what International Women’s Day means to them and in their lives. I thought I would do the same.
My initial thought was to share about how I have the privileged and unique opportunity to work with and on behalf of women and girls everyday, with specific emphasis on female pelvic and maternal health in the roles of physical therapist, business owner, program director, entrepreneur, movement founder, non-profit Executive Director, speaker, advocate, educator, and mom. I wear all of these hats interchangeably, and often-times simultaneously day-in-and-out with many organizations including Marathon Physical Therapy, The Women’s Action Initiative, Share MayFlowers, and the soon-to-officially-launch Ts for Vs.
But then I saw the striking photograph that Care was promoting for circulation and sharing in honor of International Women’s Day, and my plan for this post changed.
The original photo bears a message of solidarity with women who have been victims of rape and violence, but perhaps because of my own experiences, I couldn’t help but desire to take the message farther. It is not “their” problem, a problem that is rampant elsewhere and nil on our own soil. It may be more glaring, more overt, more sanctioned, more atrocious in other parts of the world – and should be ended – but rape of any sort is still rape and violence against someone on account of their sex is still violence. There is always stigma. There is always suffering.
For that reason, and with a full measure of respect for Care and the women in the image, I added the text you see in the picture here. It was important for me to say because I am a survivor of rape and sexual assault. In high school. Me. Caucasian. US citizen. Middle class. With a solid and loving family. International Women’s Day.
So I see the women in the photo. I stand with them. But I am their sister and I am one of them, too. On this International Women’s Day, let’s all – men and women –
see and stand with them with every bit of voice and strength we have, and to have the same conviction for all women and girls everywhere who are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. Starting here, starting abroad – interchangeably and simultaneously.