Take Back The Night

This past week was, as my previous post said, incredibly busy! I plan to expand upon several of the awesome experiences I had this week, but there is one in particular I feel I need to bring up first. This Thursday, I was the keynote speaker at Cedar Crest College’s “Take Back The Night” Ceremony. The event, for those who do not know, is about empowering the victims of sexual violence. I will go into more detail below, but first I want to talk about myself and my experience a little more.

I have been extremely public about my being trans since I publicly came out in October 2009. That was one of the ways I coped with something that was almost entirely foreign in my world. I felt as if everyone I talked to had no idea what I was, were utterly confused by my androgynous appearance, and I had to explain to them what I was. I became very good at it. As I talked to more people, I learned more about myself, and helped raise awareness of trangender issues for the community around me. And so, when I was invited to be the keynote speaker for Take Back The Night, I was able to do the same sort of sharing with another difficult experience I have over come. Despite being the victim of sexual violence as well as domestic violence, I am a strong, empowered woman.

And so, this Thursday, I talked to all the women gathered there at Cedar Crest College, and I told them how it felt to be the victim of such violence. I described the feelings of helplessness and worthlessness we endure, the victim blaming culture that says “If you didn’t want to get raped, you shouldn’t have gone out in such a short skirt” or “Well of course you were attacked, you went walking around campus alone at night!” On Thursday night, I told other victims and our allies, never give up hope. The only time your situation is truly impossible is when you give up trying to improve it. So long as you hope for a better tomorrow, and keep working towards getting there, nothing is impossible. On Thursday night, I was part of a protest, encouraging victims to stand up and take back the night. It was tremendously hard, but utterly fulfilling. I really look forward to doing more victim advocacy in the future.

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