I stand with those who too often are nameless and faceless, voiceless and powerless. I stand with the bold women who share their truth; I stand with the broken women who hide in the shadows.
I stand with the women who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, and the girls who have been groomed, stalked, drugged, or preyed upon. I stand not only because I'm a part of this sisterhood, but because it has almost become a rite of passage.
I stand because I know I didn't "ask for it." My skirt was not too short, and my jeans were not too tight. It was not my fault.
I stand with every woman who has ever been brave enough to speak out, only to be met with skepticism or outright vitriol. I stand with women who have been "slut-shamed," interrogated, or bullied to keep silent. I stand with women who fight hard against forces that are bigger and men who are more powerful. I stand with those whom society considers "attention-seekers," "promiscuous," "liars," and "opportunists." Is it any wonder victims stay silent?
I'm standing with about two dozen women who have voiced accusations against Bill Cosby, and with every other victim who has been revictimized by society.
I stand with all the women who have felt betrayed, not only by their aggressors, but by members of their own gender who question their motives. I stand with women who have been let down by the justice system and gone away feeling confused and empty.
I stand because I need women to continue to fight the good fight, and because if we are silenced, nothing will change. I stand because I know that feminism is not a dirty word, but simply seeks the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes. We are more than body parts; we are your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your aunts, and your nieces.
I stand with the men who choose to stand with us. I stand with the fathers, uncles, brothers, and nephews who realize that this is their fight, too. I stand with the men who understand how important and vital their support is, and who speak out even when it's unpopular. I stand with men who make a conscious effort to raise their sons to be better men and who raise their daughters to be strong women.
Sexual assault is not just a women's issue. It is a social, political, and legal issue. I stand because this is bigger than me, and the only way to effect real change is to give it a voice.
I hope everyone stands with us, too.