This is not a political post.
This weekend, I marched in the Women’s March in Chicago. Well, I guess we never marched, because over 250,000 showed up, and it wasn’t possible to march. So we rallied. And rallied. And rallied.
It is no surprise that this presidential election was impressively divisive, and there is great tension in our country. However, what I experienced at the March on Saturday was that women [and men] across all ideologies can still come together in unity.
Did I agree with every sign displayed? No. Does that matter? No.
More than anything, the courage of 250,000 around me helped me face a shadow in my past for the first time. On Saturday, I decided to share something deeply personal for the first time publicly: I was sexually assaulted when I was 18 years-old. Typing those words makes me cringe. It is embarrassing, and I have written and erased these words again and again and again.
I did not realize until Saturday, that keeping this a secret and continuing to blame myself 9 years later is not healthy and in fact, it feels dishonest. As an advocate for people who have experienced sexual violence, it is time to own that experience. Even as I type this I keep justifying his behavior and thinking about what I could have done differently. This has to stop. The normalization of violence against women in our culture, especially by men in power, is something we all need to challenge daily.
This is why I march. We must do better. Our leaders must do better.