My #metoo story: "I Can't Breathe"
Have you ever been so afraid of doing something that you almost didn’t do it? Maybe you were afraid of what people would think, or what they would say about something that took all your strength and courage to put out there.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about this project... except I’m not turning my back on it. At this point, I can’t. I’m afraid but doing it anyway, following the lead of The Silence Breakers and adding my voice to the multitudes that have been demanding change, because a culture so complicit with sexual violence is simply not okay.
Remember the Brock Turner case? The former Stanford student who raped an unconscious young woman and then weaseled his way out of an already lenient sentence because it was ruled that the jail time would have a “severe impact” on his future?
Well, here’s my response—to that case and to every case in which the victim is virtually ignored, to every case that never even becomes a case because victims are repeatedly shown that they should doubt themselves into a deep, isolating, debilitating silence:
What about OUR futures? What about the sleepless nights and the nightmarish days? What about the depressive states that last so long that ending it all seems like the best option? What about the flashbacks, the cold sweats, the panic attacks, the inexplicable avoidance of intimacy? What about the self harm and the feelings of absolute worthlessness, exacerbated by the constant reminder that society doesn’t care about us?
What about us—the victims?
This project is meant to offer a glimpse at the experience of the victim through movement, because oftentimes, the daily effects of PTSD are too gripping to put into words. And while there is hope for healing with professional support, these symptoms don't just go away; they're always there to some degree.
Talk about "severe impact."
This is a part of me I’ve never shared before, a story that’s been a long time coming. I’m relieved that I’m ready to tell it now, and I'm grateful that I had the means to do so in the way I know best: through dance.
This is me breaking the silence in my own way. This is my #metoo, my way of saying that our experiences are valid, that our suffering is valid, and that we will not be silenced.
Here's to hoping for continued change in the right direction. I'm with you every step of the way.
Jeshua, you are amazing and this never would have come to life without your incredible eye. Thank you endlessly.