#YesAllWomen

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I spent a good part of my weekend reading some of the thousands of #yesallwomen tweets and articles online and I walked away with a few major realizations.

The first was that I was surprised I didn’t see more things posted by female friends and family on my social media; it almost felt like everyone was wary to speak up and comment on how we women live our lives every day.

I thought perhaps they weren’t aware of the postings or coverage (which, to me, only underlines why I feel the need to say something). Or perhaps there is concern for how she may be perceived in speaking up, which honestly is something I’m currently experiencing. Yet those who know me, already embrace me. And I am fortunate enough to live somewhere where I have a platform and a voice, and where you have the option to continue scrolling your feed.

Although what I was reading on Twitter wasn’t new information, it has still lit a fire under me.

I probably feel this way because the #yesallwomen hashtag is literally a jam-packed collective of the multitude of injustices all women have faced, currently face, and will continue to face until major societal change takes place.

What probably alarmed me most, was that most of the tweets are experiences that I have come to take for granted. At some point, unknowingly and subconsciously, I became numb and accustomed to this way of life.

For instance, it’s commonplace for women to carry keys as weapons in parking garages; to enroll in self defense classes; to carry pepper spray; to worry about a stranger thinking “you’re asking for it”; to avoid walking alone in the dark; to not travel alone; to keep quiet in fear that speaking out will result in being physically harmed; to have to defend your opinions as if they aren’t valid; and to worry about living alone.

And while #notallmen are perpetrators, the fact that all women “are raised to protect ourselves from men, to expect violence and prepare for it” is the real issue to be discussed. It is not about men-hating; it’s about calling out overdue change to the world we live in. It’s 2014: a time when this type of treatment should no longer exist.

There are nearly 3.5 billion women on earth and not one of them owes a man anything simply for being female. The fact that this entitlement exists so prevalently in our day and age is unbelievable to me.

While definitely not all men are not rapists or abusers, the point is that every man knows a girl or woman who has been raped, abused, harassed, or frightened for their safety for no other reason than for being female. She doesn’t have to be your sister, your mother, your daughter, or even your friend; it can be the girl next to you on the bus, a coworker, the barista – all women have had the experience of being demeaned, belittled, or objectified.

I sincerely hope that the #yesallwomen movement does not get sideswept and molded into something it is not. It is not about demonizing MEN, it’s about exposing the daily reality of WOMEN in the 21st century.

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