We Will Not Be Silenced

Why Women’s Right’s Matter.

We Will Not Be Silenced

Isabella McAllister, Newspaper Editor-In-Chief

Walk with your keys in your hand, “text me when you get home,” carry pepper spray, and learn how to defend yourself. 

Recently women’s rights have been trending on social media. It was sparked by the kidnapping and murder of a woman in London. We live in 2021, where women are still fighting for basic human rights, equality, and justice. Women’s rights matter. 

Growing up I have always been told to make sure I dress a certain way, always carry my keys between my knuckles as I walk, and always lock the doors as soon as I get into the car. Being young and naive, I followed these rules, but I never thought much into why I was told to do this.

As we live in a time where there are so many advancements and achievements, there is still a gender wage gap, court cases are swept under the rug and closed, and celebrities are allowed to say or do what they want with often no punishment. We are still looked down on when we want to be on birth control, have abortions, or choose our own body. 

This fight has been going on for so long, too long in fact. In 1919, we as women finally got the right to vote. Many years before and after women have been fighting for equality. From equal pay, job opportunities, discrimination, and so much more, women have been trying to gain. Yet, we are still trying to earn basic human rights today.

As a woman, I have to grow up in a world where it is normal to hear about women getting kidnapped, murdered, raped, sexually harassed, and assaulted. How did this become a normal thing? 97% of women have reported that they have been sexually assaulted or harassed. It is scary to come forward and tell people about the things that have happened to you because when we do we are asked what were we wearing, was it revealing, if we were intoxicated if we were teasing or asking for it, and the list goes on. When simply the answer was no. 

I remember the first time I was cat-called. I was in the 7th grade and I was at a mall with my friend. We had just gotten out of the car with her parents, and they let us walk ahead of them to look at the stores we wanted to go into. With us, about 10 feet in front of them, where they could see us, a group of teenage boys got into their path of sight. Then we were whistled at and called names. We kept walking and moving forward, but this has stuck with me forever. At 12 or 13 years old we were objectified by our bodies. How can a 13-year-old be asking for it when wearing baggy Nike shorts and oversized t-shirts? This is just one scenario where I experienced sexual harassment from a young age. 

Women are always constantly told that how they dress gives men the right to look at us with hungry eyes, scope our bodies, and it is an invitation in. I recently found a pop-up museum that displayed the remakes of what people were wearing when they were raped. In most cases, it was jeans, a t-shirt, and just normal clothing. But if I choose to dress a little bit more revealing that is still not giving someone a right to my body. I dress for myself, and I should feel comfortable in whatever I put on. Some people would argue that a tight dress or skirt is an invitation, but by no means will what someone wears ever allow someone to force themselves on them. 

Some people say that boys will just be boys. Men will look at you no matter what because men are sexually driven more so than women are. But, boys will be boys sure, but when are you going to start teaching your children from a young age that, that is wrong? Instead, men try to justify their actions. I should feel safe, just as a man does. It is an injustice. 

It isn’t all men. But it is far too many women. We will not be silenced. Our fight is not over, and it is nowhere close to being over. I don’t want to live in a world where being a woman is a bad thing. I am proud to be a woman. I will not be pitied, looked over, or felt bad for. I am not vulnerable, but I am strong. I will seek justice, and I will hold my head high.