I Have a Right to My Own Body.

My health should not be regulated by men. I should have the right to make the best choices for myself with the help of my doctor without repercussions from lawmakers. And Donald Trump is at the very least is a perpetrator of sexual abuse if not an all out rapist. He doesn’t represent me or the women of this country. Too many men get too little punishment for their actions against women, and it’s sickening.

 

What’s happening is not acceptable.

I was unable to march due to a prior commitment. I wish I had been able to. There were so many reasons to march. Affordable health care, LBGT rights, Rape culture, the list goes on. We have an administration in place that devalues women on a level beyond comprehension. We MUST say this is not acceptable and we will fight. 

I Am a Survivor of Sexual Assault

I am a survivor of sexual assault. I am a mother. I am a taxpayer who wants to see my tax dollars go to help my fellow human beings not to line the pockets of the wealthy. I worked for many years in the helping fields where I treated abused women and children. I am sick of the patriarchal bull that perpetuates violence, undervalues the contributions of women and minorities. I am a Catholic who has seen the word bastardized and twisted to support oppressive laws when we should be keeping a firm separation of church and state. I am sick in my heart at the injustice rape victims, abuse victims, and people of color face in our legal system, especially when the perpetrators are white males.

Why Wouldn’t I March? Why Didn’t You?

I grew up in a small town in central Nebraska, went out of state to college, work, and grad school, and returned to rejoin my family. Seven years ago, I started my own family here. I’m now an educator, a mom, a researcher, a wife, a small business owner, a student. I’m comfortable speaking up and speaking out. But I wasn’t sure I would march. I’m 38 years old, and I, like most of the others in this collection, had never engaged like that before. I am a lot of different things, but was I an activist, a protester?

 Eventually, I realized… why wouldn’t I march?

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that whether you’re LGBTQ, Muslim, refugee, black, immigrant, differently-abled, or female, you don’t deserve to be afraid. You don’t deserve to be treated, in the eyes of the law, the characters of Twitter, or the dismissive or derisive comments of lawmakers, as anything less than equal, whole, supported, worthy, respected, valued Humans.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I love this country, in a way I’m frankly only now discovering, as I watch the fundamental principles for which it stands being threatened and twisted through the words, actions, behavior or inaction of many who are supposed to represent us. Through a “travel ban”; through threats to the free press, the judiciary, the environment, funding for climate change and gun control research, affordable health care, public education and more; through support of waterboarding; through party-line votes and support for an unfit Secretary of Education, an unfit head of the EPA, an unfit Attorney General, to name a few.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I reject the painful, intolerant, objectifying words and regressive, intolerant, fundamentally un-American actions of President Trump, and anyone who condones or defends them.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that physical and sexual assault isn’t funny, and comments about women being not being attractive enough to be assaulted make my stomach turn, make me feel inhuman and demoralized and outraged and unsafe and confused and scared for my 7-year-old daughter. If many lawmakers don’t seem to be outraged with me. If I honor the many strong survivors I worked with at domestic violence shelters, and their beautiful scarred strong children.

Why wouldn’t I march– if I believe that a woman’s health includes her mental, emotional, economic, and physical well-being. That she deserves the right and the respect to make her own intelligent choices about it, rather than be denied options by largely white male lawmakers who have no idea what it’s like to be her. That those who do become mothers, their co-parents, and their new babies, deserve paid parental leave from the richest country in the world.

We can do better. We must do better. We are better.

As my pastor used to preach, we’re called to “remove the chains of injustice, let those who are oppressed go free, share bread with those who are hungry, and shelter homeless poor people” (Isaiah 58:6-12).  Nebraskans will continue answer that call. We will monitor and advocate and vote and fight and use our “shrill” voices to push the city, the state, the country to deliver liberty and justice for all.

Will you?

I marched because, if we are our sister’s and brother’s keepers, I didn’t know where else I could be.

Why wouldn’t I march?

Why didn’t you?

We Carved Out a Space for Women to Have Value

I marched for paid family leave.  How about instead of constantly proposing bills to make it harder for women to have an abortion we propose bills that make it financially easier for a mother that chose life to bond with her newborn baby?  I sometimes wonder if politicians are even aware that most moms today do work, this isn’t the 1950s.  I marched for paid family leave because I can’t believe this is 2017 and we don’t have it and when I bring it up at work people look at me like I’m nuts.  “Oh, that would take an act of Congress.”  Well then let’s get moving on it!  What are we waiting for?

 I marched to speak out against sexism and racism so that they don’t slowly become socially acceptable.  I marched in support of women who have been sexually abused and to put a stop to rape culture.

 I marched because I believe climate change is real and want to give my children a planet that’s still habitable.

 I marched because one of my best friends is Muslim and worries that she could be sent to an internment camp just like the Japanese were.

 Most of all, I marched for equality.  Not just equality for women but equality for all people that have also been made to feel like they were second class – poor people; people of color; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; people with disabilities; people of all different religions or without religion.  The Women’s March loves all and accepts all and I felt love and equality on that beautiful January day like I’ve never felt before.  For once the world was ours, we could complain, we could protest, we could wave rainbow flags down the street in Loup City, we could shout from Alliance to Omaha that we deserve and demand more than the low standards that the world is willing to offer us.   We carved out a space for women to have value and for everyone to be equal.  Equality hurts no one – and that is why I marched.

Sexual harassment at work is ignored

It was encouraging to hear the organization beginning for the Women’s March the day after the Inauguration.
I wanted to participate, I NEEDED to participate, but as so many others like me, I had to work that day.  I haven’t the luxury of taking time off work, as I live paycheck to paycheck.  Since the election, I feel that is actually at risk.  Some of my female friends have been laid off work, others dismissed completely.   Can it be proven that is directly related to the election of Donald Trump?  Probably not, but I do believe it is, at least in part, a contributing factor.
Since I live in a rural area, women have always been seen as “just the caretakers.”  We have been relegated to teachers, nurses, secretaries, assistants.  In the past year, I have been passed up for a job promotion, to a young man who had no experience at all in my industry.  I applied for, interviewed, and was passed up for a Veteran Service Office position, despite my credentials and involvement with local vets, over a man who had never even joined a veteran’s organization.  During the interview, it was alluded to that “vets have a hard time with women who were allowed into the service.”
In January, I quit my job, because a young man yelled at me that I was a “fucking bitch.” I was in my manager’s office, and even though the incident happened in front of the manager, nothing was done.  When I gave notice, the manager was shocked that I would quit over such a minor incident.  He forced the young man to apologize, and begged me to stay, which I agreed to.  I did tell both of them if another incident like that ever happened again, I was taking them to court.  Neither seemed to get that what happened was sexual harassment.  It was all over their belief that as a secretary and the only female in the office, I should be happy to clean up their muddy messes.  When I offered them the vacuum cleaner, I was attacked.
The young man was the same one last fall who couldn’t wait to vote for Trump, and laughed deliriously at the “grab them by the pussy” comment.  The manager and the young man were a little shocked when I got angry that they were laughing.  I have seen more and more disrespect, not only towards women, but also minorities, LBGTQ, and the disabled.  It is like, somehow, we have turned from a polite society into a bigoted bunch of entitled babies, saying and doing anything regardless of consequences and who might get hurt.
I am sick at heart, and devoid of hope since Trump’s election, and inauguration.  He is certainly causing change in Washington, just like he promised.  It is not, however, the change his supporters anticipated.  The man needs to be stopped.  If that takes protests, so be it.  I have tried to call my senators, but their phones have been busy.  I have sent e-mails.
I have never felt unsafe in my community, my state, or my country.  I find myself looking at everyone I meet, wondering who is now friend or foe?
The darkness and hopelessness in my heart grows daily against this despot, who calls himself President.  He doesn’t represent me, or anyone resembling me.  He is a dangerous man.

Equality for all

I marched to stand in unity with my brothers and sisters world wide, fighting for equality for ALL! Specific issues that resonate with me are unequal education rights, infanticide of baby girls, genital mutilation & gang rap practices, lack of voting/driving rights, arranged marriages of underaged girls and a lack of laws against domestic violence. These issues are common in many countries (China, India, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Pakistan, Mali, Nepal, etc). In addition, issues that plague the U.S., such as human trafficking, the woman tax, the gender wage gap, unconstitutional legislation in regards to women’s reproductive rights, lgbtq rights, racial and ethnic issues surrounding women globally.