My friend Glennon says this:
“The most revolutionary thing a woman can do is
not explain herself.”
I absolutely agree.
I’m making an exception in this one case, because I think there’s an important distinction to be made, and I take my responsibilities to my communities very seriously.
I’ve been getting some pushback for the post I published last night. People are upset this blog has become what they deem to be too political. It’s interesting. I’ve published upwards of 170 essays, and of those, there are probably less than 10 that are overtly political. I had one reader comment that she was disappointed because Say It, Survivor means so much to her and she feels less comfortable here now that I am delving into politics from time to time.
I get that. I really, honestly do. I have writers whose work I read and every now and then I have to set aside their view on something because I love most of what they write about- and if I can’t do that, then I don’t read their work. We all need to make the right choices for ourselves in that regard.
In Others’ Words and Say It, Survivor are two wholly different things, though, and the distinction is important. That may be hard for some to understand because they way they found SIS is through this blog, or specifically through He Wrote It Down. In Others’ Words is my personal blog, it existed before SIS, and reflects my beliefs, experiences, and opinions. I occasionally contribute pieces I’ve written for this blog to the SIS page when they are relevant, but this blog does not exist in service to Say It, Survivor.
Any post I write that is relevant to the Say It, Survivor community will be posted on the SIS FB page, so if the rest of this blog isn’t your cup of tea and you’d prefer to only come visit when it relates to the topic of sexual abuse- I get that, and your presence is always welcome.
Do you know why I used the conceit of writing about a quote? It was so I could write about anything that is on my mind or in my heart. I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed into one genre, one topic. I didn’t want to be a mommy-blogger or a divorce blogger- I just wanted to write, and to be wholly, completely me.
When I first began IOW, I wrote a fair amount about my divorce. I’ve written about my eating disorders, my alcoholism. I’ve written about art, music, dancing, faith, sex, love, parenting, and friendship. I’ve written about refugees, rape culture, racism, and gun violence, too.
Those are all things that are important me- and none of them defines me.
For quite a long stretch I wrote almost exclusively about my abuse and my recovery from it- that’s true- but that was never the intention for this blog. That’s what was on my mind. That’s what was- and still is- in my heart, and so I will continue to write about it.
Interestingly enough, I got this same pushback the times I’ve written about my faith. “Why has the blog gotten religious? I don’t feel comfortable here now.”
I am a writer. That’s how I process what happens in my life, and in the world, and how I express myself. I am a survivor of sexual abuse, as well. Not solely that, though. Not just that one thing. I am more than what happened to me, and so are you. I did not fight this long and this hard to get healthy and find my voice to not feel free to use it.
You will never see anything political on Say It, Survivor unless it specifically deals with news, policy, or legislation around sexual abuse. SIS is non-political and will remain so.- that I can guarantee.
I would, however, gently remind my readers that if I was unwilling to talk about controversial things that were on my mind, Say It, Survivor would not exist. Lest we forget, SIS came about because I wrote about a topic that so many of you were hungry to read about, but made many of my existing readers wildly uncomfortable- some of whom felt compelled to leave. That’s okay. I didn’t lose a moment’s sleep over it then, and I’ll sleep just fine tonight.
Say It, Survivor is a non-profit dedicated to helping survivors of child sexual abuse, and I work on its missions every single day. Hard. This blog, however, is about me and my life- and the state of the nation and the world is also something I am passionate about, something I work on every day. Also. And.
I am politically active and will remain so. That is part of who I am. To not speak out on things I believe are important simply to retain readers or grow the platform? THAT would be political. The only way to ensure you never offend anyone is to never take a stand on anything, and that is simply not who I am.
I will try and be mindful of not indulging in snark- I can fall prey to that, sometimes- but I will continue to be who I have always been: a person who notices what is going on in the world around her and writes about it. I may not agree with everything you believe, but I would fight like hell for your right to believe and express it. You don’t need to agree with me to be welcome here. You don’t need to agree with me in order to comment here, as long as you remain respectful.
And you don’t need to stay, if leaving is what’s right for you. That’s totally fair.
I hope this lends some clarity to those who are seeking it. I am going to keep being me and writing what I need and want to write- and if that means the numbers dwindle I am completely and utterly okay with that. I’ll show up and tell my stories to whoever is here.
Love you so.
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world,
and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
Dita Von Teese
If I may, transgender rights, and the rights of people of color explicitly impact sexual assault(as does poverty and many other forms of oppression) . Racism and transphobia both create an environment where certain bodies have less value and are thus abused more frequently and rarely shown justice. I have tremendous respect for you, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that humans are intersectional, and these intersections complicate our experiences of abuse, sexism, and other forms of oppression. There isn’t a clear list of political issues that impact sexual assault, because there isn’t a clear list of the type of person who experienced sexual assault. For some being political is a choice, for others it is simply a reality. For some of us, when there is legislation trying to register, ban, deport us, or dictate which restroom we are allowed to use, our existence itself becomes political. Human rights have now become political, not speaking out against them is just as much a political act as taking a stance against them.
Anyways, thank you for your work and for speaking out.
Like always Laura, your words are crystal clear and the differentiation is a good one to make. Lets compare travel dates again as mine are a bit off the weekend to weekend schedule. Hugs
This is so well done, Laura! Thank you for writing openly and respectfully. This explanation was valuable tho in essence I also agree with the quote! Write on!!!
“I am a writer. That’s how I process what happens in my life, and in the world, and how I express myself. I am a survivor of sexual abuse, as well. Not solely that, though. Not just that one thing. I am more than what happened to me, and so are you. I did not fight this long and this hard to get healthy and find my voice to not feel free to use it.”
^That. Yes. Exactly. Love you so.
I’m glad you’re using the voice you worked so hard to find. It would be boring (and might I add, dangerous) not to ever be exposed to points of view outside of our own. Great writing!