Think of three women you love. Think about why they’re important to you and why you love them. Now, layer on this statistic: 1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. One of the women you know and love has likely been harmed. That tug in your throat, your heart, or gut is important. Listen to it. Breathe deep. Step away from this if you need to. We will be here when you return.
For our loved ones, we are those women. We are survivors of sexual violence. In our homes, workplaces, public and private spaces, our safety and humanity has been violated.
One of us has experienced intimate partner violence in college. One of us experienced working with a known sexual harasser in the workplace. One of us was emotionally abused by a partner.
The violence we experienced should have never happened. Every being deserves to feel safe. Every being deserves to live, work, and play in spaces free of violence.
On an Instagram Live with 5.7 million views and counting, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez shared her traumatic experience of the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th. She also revealed that she is a survivor of sexual assault. This connection is important.
Within her Instagram Live, AOC had a crystal clear call for accountability to her GOP colleagues. They continue to tell us – using the tactics of so many abusers – to move on and forget about what happened. They exert their power in order to hurt us and our communities. They use their power to run away from accountability.
As survivors of sexual violence, we are painfully familiar with experiencing life-altering trauma and violence and being asked – by abusers, or failed systems, or the deafening silence of inaction – to just move on. We know what moving on without accountability means: it means that abuse, violence, and trauma will happen again.
We refuse to let it happen again. We see AOC’s call for accountability and rise up in solidarity with her. The GOP members of Congress who enabled the insurrection at the Capitol should resign or be removed, so that their violence – their abuse of our democracy – will not happen again. As AOC stated, “It’s not about revenge, it’s about creating safety. We are not safe with people who hold political power who are willing to endanger lives for political gain.”
As survivors, as democracy defenders, as people with justice in our minds and hearts, we ask you to rise up in solidarity with us. We are united in our call for accountability. Sign onto our petition to demand accountability now.
The decision to share that you are a survivor is not an easy one. We know the pain that comes with sharing. We also know the power of sharing. Thank you, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. We see you. We wish you peace and healing.
If you are a survivor of sexual violence, know that you are worthy, whole, and deeply loved. You deserve justice and healing – whatever that looks like to you. We see you.
TakeAction Minnesota Movement Building Team: Katie, DyAnna, LyLy