Thursday, April 18, 2013

We are all Mary

In the activity last week in class, one discussion my group had particularly stuck out to me. We were at the station that asked us to consider the song about unplanned pregnancy and infanticide. My group noted that the Marys mentioned-- Beaton, Seton, Carmichael, and Hamilton-- all had royal blood. This sparked a conversation about how anxiety and pressure on female sexuality does not discriminate. Sexual violence is inflicted on us all, regardless of where we come from, what we look like, or who we are. This also brought me back to the excerpt we read from Virginia Woolf's "A Sketch of the Past" and the description of the shame Woolf felt over her own molestation as a child. Woolf writes:

This passage awakened for me, again, the idea that sexual violence is not only universal but timeless. It is something that has grown with civilization, somehow becoming an indomitable part of our social structure.

After seeing the "Vagina Monologues" this weekend, this has been on my mind a lot. Watching my incredible, talented, and brave friends share not just portions of other women's stories, but part of their stories as well... I truly have no words. I have been reflecting a lot about how my experience watching the "Vagina Monologues" this year differed from when I've seen it in the past. I have been thinking back to the first time I saw the play freshman year and how my impression of it has changed. I remember that a lot of the ideas in the play were new to me then; as I watched the play last Sunday, I realized these issues have become a huge part of my life. As I've gone through college, I've been awakened to how prevalent sexual violence really is. I don't think there is a single person in the United States who graduates college without knowing at least one person who is a survivor, whether anyone else is aware of it or not. As Woolf says, our experience of sexual violence is impacted by our "ancestresses," just as our experiences will affect future generations. This fight has been an inevitable part of women's lives since the beginning of civilization. But I believe we can end it.

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