Last month, I wrote about my transformation to the liberation perspective after viewing several panel discussions presented at the All About Women Festival 2015. Since then, I’ve been stewing on another major theme from the event: how the patriarchal system does not allow women an equal voice in our society. For a long time, when I thought about the public discourse, I joined a lot of people in thinking, how bad could it be? Or, sticks-and-stones . . . just ignore it. Or, they have chosen to be in the public eye, they must be okay with it.
But then I watched “What I Couldn’t Say,” where female panelists shared very personal accounts of how their voices were silenced when they spoke up about injustice. I also watched Stop the trolls: Women fight online harassment, and again saw the personal toll suffered by women who dare to exist.
After seeing these accounts, I have not been able to shake a profound sense of guilt that I didn’t understand their experience; that I assumed they were okay with it; that they persevere in silence without the support they need; that I might benefit from their struggle without supporting them in return; that my inaction perpetuates their suffering.
I have also grown more fearful about contributing to the public discourse. What would we do if the trolls find this blog? If the online mob attacks us with single minded focus? If they threaten and our families unceasingly?
Nevertheless, since the harassment demonstrates the profound injustices resulting from a patriarchal system, these accounts have also given me a stronger sense of resolve. If I am privileged enough to have a voice to be attacked, only imagine the lives of those who do not. I am only more committed to bringing about the liberation. I will support groups that fight for change and I will engage those think otherwise.