This new year begins my fifth year of involvement in this ‘movement’ against sexual and intimate partner violence. It seems like it’s been so much longer. It is difficult for me to really think about what life was like prior to my ‘awakening.’ I remember it of course, but I remember it differently. What was once innocent play now looks like sexual assault. What was once joking around with friend’s looks more like hurtful policing of ‘manhood.’ What was once ‘not getting involved’ now looks like complicity and approval. Someone who I once admired has had his behavior laid bare for what it was; rape and sexual assault (though not publicly, yet).
Thirteen years ago my life was changed. I didn’t know it then, but when I heard that someone close had been kidnapped and brutally beaten, raped, and left for dead on the side of the road, seeds were planted in me, that time, experience, and a simple book recommendation, would water and lead me down this path I’m on now. I still cannot believe my luck to have met the great souls that I have met. To be involved in the organizations that have become my heart. It is so refreshing and assuring to know that you are not alone, a fact that many who claim the name ‘feminist’ need reminding of daily as we step out into a world whose messages counter our work from every angle.
I recently became an Uncle. Looking into my nephew’s eyes, hearing him laugh, holding him…this new life, totally innocent and full of love and trust. I’m anxious to watch him grow up, and excited to be a part of his life. I can’t wait to teach him all that I have learned and affect a new generation of activists dedicated to the total eradication of violence.
My work is based upon the idea that I can affect change in others. I approach the work that I do with the goal of ending violence, all of it. I will not reach this goal, of course, but it remains my goal because it is what I desire. I cannot and will not ever accept that violence, all variations violence, is to be expected and tolerated. I feel that to accept some, is to accept all.
I will soon embark on a new mission of revolution, the revolution of soul breathing, of love, peace, and understanding. I think that it is important to remember that despite the coming and goings of the feelings of loneliness, that we are not alone, never alone, and that by working in solidarity that we can and will make this world better, day-by-day, and that each new year offer’s each of us a new life that we can create based upon our mission “to provide education, prevention and intervention on sexual violence in our community.” So, with this new year, this new life that I get to create against the reflection of twenty-six years prior, I take a deep breath. I remind myself of the past, regretting my hurtful mistakes, thankful of lessons learned and anxious to meet my new teachers.