Beliefnet
The Bliss Blog

Over the past few days, I have received numerous requests to replace my Facebook profile picture with a black box today.

“Tomorrow, female blackout from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Its a movement to show what the world might be like without women. Your profile photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where the women are. Pass it only to women … It’s for a project against domestic abuse. It is no joke. Share it.”

They came from well-meaning, peace and social justice movers and shakers in my life. I trust their intentions and the reasons for it. The first time I read one of the missives, my mind immediately recoiled. For too long, girls and women have been muffled in voice and rendered invisible while being determined to be seen and heard. I was not about to hide. As a recovering co-dependent ‘good girl’ who didn’t want to make waves or evoke disapproval, I would too often, shrink and subsume my desires and beliefs in the service of avoiding rejection. As I am a few weeks away from turning 60, I am showing up, standing up and speaking out for myself and for all of the others who are not ready or able to do so.

This, in the midst of the contentious Kavanaugh hearings. This, in the midst of so many abuse/assault survivors of all gender identities and expressions, having PTSD symptoms triggered. This, in the midst of the Catholic church abuse revelations. This in the midst of people shouting, “NO MORE!” This in the midst of people supporting each other, even while others are casting doubt and hurling vile words and threatening further violence against those who dare to stand up for themselves.

I was shocked to find out a few days ago, that my sister was drugged and (at least) molested in her teens. She has no recollection of what happened after taking one hit of pot that she was told later by the one in the car with her was laced with angel dust. She woke up with her pants down. We identified the dude via my yearbook. She didn’t want to come forward back then (in the 1970’s) since she felt she would be blamed for smoking pot and being in the car. I am appalled that it happened AND feel bad that she couldn’t even tell me back then. She says I was at the same party when it occurred.

We spoke again a day later and she informed me that she had been holding on to this for 41 years, believing it was her fault. I wish I had known. I would have told her as I did now that it is NEVER the fault of the survivor! I don’t care what anyone was smoking, drinking, what they were wearing, where they were, and with whom.

I know our parents would have been upset about the pot but even more upset that she had been harmed. She said that they would have likely grounded her for life. We laughed and agreed.

The next day, she asked me to reach out to him on Linkedin. I located someone by his name that looked to be the right age and having attended college and grad school in the area where we grew up. He now works for a prestigious university. I messaged him to be sure it was indeed him. I then asked her what she wanted me to do after that. She wasn’t sure but knew she wasn’t ready to confront him. Then she said, “I just want him to remember since I did.”

There are so many.

Please don’t make them invisible.

 

**** An addendum after reading numerous posts from those who choose to black out their pics, I want to let them know that I honor and respect their choice to be visible and audible that way. No judgment, no disparagement. We all speak up and show up uniquely. Thank you for speaking your truth in your own manner.

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