Today, Valentines Day, I danced with One Billion Women, men and children across the world. I danced with my daughter, son, husband (who was filming it all) and 40 other people in a small town in Somerset to bring awareness of violence against women and girls. It was an amazing experience…women cried, laughed, sang and danced their arses off. When I was all danced out, I slipped to the back of the crowd to just observe.
This is what I observed….the power of women, not an aggressive power but a fierce power of love and beauty….of creativity and nurture….of compassion and forgiveness.
I witnessed my 11 year old daughter dancing, how she is just on the edge of become a young woman. She is leaving her childhood skin behind. Her body is changing, she is seeking and exploring what it means to be a young woman in this world…she is pushing boundaries. She hides non of her feelings, she doesn’t care about being a “Good Girl” (thank god!) she is living fully and passionately. And, I realised something….I am already worried about her being sexually harassed or hurt by boys or men. Why? Because my mother, my sister, myself and every girlfriend I have ever had, has a story to tell of unwanted sexual harassment or worse.
It is said, that 1 in 3 women with be raped, sexually abused or beaten up in their life time and I realised I had just accepted this as the “Norm”….that I would have to warn Maia about where she goes, walking alone at night (or day), what she wears, who she is with….I just accepted this is how it is. BUT, WAIT A MINUTE rather than having to put the responsibly on my daughter SURELY, it’s the man’s responsibility not to rape or hurt a female WHERE EVER she walks, WHATEVER she wears, WHOEVER she is with. No woman or girl ever “Ask’s for it”.
I have sadly realised today, that although it is 2013….as women we are not free to be who we fully are and still live in fear. If you don’t believe me, ask any women you know if she would feel safe walking to the store at night on her own….I can guess her answer. This MUST change, both women and men must stand together and say “This is no longer acceptable”. Today, we stood together.