If someone were to share with me that I was being trafficked many years ago, the evidence of what can happen to a WOC in America may have not become visible; or maybe it would have taken a more serious turn that would have made fear push away optimism for a future. Growing up as a female child of color, I felt the quiet sting of indifference; still, there is no evidence to support silent discrimination. I'd like to think that it is a part of my generation's raising to work hard towards goals, and as a female I assumed I'd have to work harder.
When negative events happened in the past, whether it was sexual assault or the loss of housings; it's as if people of color expect for negative events to happen and the event isn't questioned because it's understood as a WOC that bad things happen. For me, it was as if it was imprinted on my mind right after high school to expect awful situations to show up. This mind-set in instilled in many women, and we are silent about our date rape encounters, and we don't report the abuses for the lack of trust that we have in the authorities. When we do speak out about the crimes that have been committed to us, we are immediately judged and our society blames the victim. I have become bottled up within the containment that can overwhelm lives of women because we live in a patriarchal society that has its own story.
As a Feminist, it has always made me question why anyone would attack the idea of Feminism because women have challenges that attack our human rights, and Feminism would not be a word if women did not face the challenge of being denied human rights. Women would not need to study their existence in history if it were the norm to respect our contributions. Women would not need domestic violence counseling if our society had no tolerance for abuses against women.
We are needed, and the talent and efforts of women are needed, as we are a huge part of our society and we, in a sense, add much needed attributes that benefit our society as a whole. Because our value is overlooked, we find ourselves even as Feminists, making others comfortable while we work towards basic human rights. We become embarrassed, as I have many times, for speaking our truth and rejecting abuse. As an introvert, who is not anti-social, I am also not anti-man, and have quietly strived to create a life for myself. Yet, this act is seen as a threat and the act is taken out of content, but if it were a man no one would question his efforts. Besides immediate family, he may not be pressured by society into marriage, right away. As a whole, the right to choose can be taken for granted.
The experience of abuse is like intermittent streams of thoughts, and society forces victims into denial. For me, as a WOC I accepted so many hardships that it may have become the norm. Lately, the coincidences have become clear, and my world has been opened up, even though I have been contained. My past surroundings have become a part of my experience without my permission, and I've realized that my life had been pried in as if it were a public display.
When I arrived in Arizona, I was honestly afraid because the act of taking away a human beings right to live and to earn a living, is a crime against that person's right to safety.
Addressing dignity would be an entire essay, as most women would notice even the slightest loss of self respect. We are constantly challenged as women, and when we can take care of ourselves we make better choices. The loss of the ability to take care of oneself, is not just a woman problem. It happens to everyone, but not as harshly as it does to a woman. When a woman is unable to successfully take care of herself, she immediately loses choice. How is it that a man can fabricate lies of mental illness, and society immediately agrees without proof.
When I speak about freedom to choose, and when I must speak about it; it isn't out of defiance and many times WOC are taught to be respectful, sometimes to a fault. We are taught early to neglect ourselves by minimizing our importance. For me, my convictions about being innocent comes from a place of respecting my ability to make choices. Now, everyone is challenged with learning about choices, and our elders may not understand our challenges because we appear to have a sense of entitlement. We should all have a sense of entitlement in reference to our human rights. Are human rights reserved for the wealthy, only? Or, a select group of individuals who are within a particular circle?
Human rights are a necessary resource, and bullying and cruel treatment "just because" is what past advocates of discrimination marched about. The need for the right to make choices, can appear to be defiant because the concept isn't the norm; yet, in so many ways everyone is practicing their own version of choices. I'm being attacked for living in my own freedom, and with freedom comes mistakes and the freedom to correct them. Freedom to interact with any human being, whether they are gay, purple or an alien is a choice made in freedom.
It isn't my intent to sound preachy, and these ideas may never cross some people's minds; however, this experience of losing my human rights has been an education of awareness and how vulnerable women are. Choosing freedom is not illegal, but racketeering is illegal, and I'm not willing to accept punishment for demanding the abuses against me to cease. So many times women are failed by our justice system, yet I'm willing to try our justice system again to obtain my human rights and to address an issue that will hurt a woman following in the clutches of traffickers.
Being a victim isn't a crime. As I mentioned, I was devastated when I arrived in Arizona and I have attempted to not incriminate another innocent human being without reason; still, after the stalking, third party harassment and arriving and being abused by certain family members who refuse to speak the truth I had no choice. I question everything, as I realize that the apartment that I lived in was an initial suggestion by a M. Lipman and I see how women are tooled around simply because we are women. Why would anyone "smash out" another's life? And why are some of our public servants afraid to address the issue? All citizens deserve human rights.
I am a supporter of the Innocence Project, and I keep updates about the progress that they make exonerating innocent men and women who have been wrongfully incarcerated. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the organizations who cater to women's rights made the same progress for victims who are not incarcerated? Wouldn't it be wonderful if women had pro bono attorneys who stood for women's rights? Wouldn't the freedom of women make our world better? I believe so, and women deserve to be heard and our human rights should not be a question of sin, ethnicity, marital status or sexual identification. We are human beings and we deserve the right to end abuses.
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