All along my life’s journey, there have been moments of profound impact that gave me pause to reflect on my story. And by story, I’m talking about the roads I’ve walked along and the people who either journeyed with me or forced me to take detours that forever changed my direction. Some of the parts of my story are happy while others are not – these are my truths. Every guidepost along the way had a lesson to teach and sometimes moments of epiphany happen that strike deep into your soul. It’s visceral and raw.
Every one has a story, and those whose journey was met by people who devalued their worth and robbed them of their innocence have unbearable truths. I had one of those guidepost moments in my own story recently at a public gathering of people who have been impacted by the heinous crime of sexual assault. Although I am not a victim, I had an epiphany moment that reignited my sense of morality and sparked a need to support and lend a voice to those drowned by silence. I listened to many victims and survivors tell their story. Their courage in shattering their silences to share their unbearable truths was all at once sobering and inspiring.
While each speaker had their own events to detail, there was a single, unifying thread that taught me a big lesson: People suffer in this world not only because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people. Speaking out against injustices is not only a civic duty, but a moral imperative that protects the divinity of ourselves.
The path to justice is often a broken road not easily navigated but the hurdles and obstructions encountered along the way can and must be set aside to allow due process to ensue unfettered. That said, there is an important opportunity for us all to show unity and advocate for the victims – especially for those who have yet to shatter their own silences and realize the epiphany of their truths. Neutrality helps the oppressor and not the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor and not the tormented. Injustices do not right themselves. It takes brave testimony followed by bold actions to let healing take place. My epiphany of these unbearable truths has opened my heart and mind to what’s possible when like-minded, compassionate and fearless people rally for a just cause.
I urge everyone to look back on their story and remember that perhaps the most important chapters are yet unwritten. There is still time to do the right thing and stand up for victims and survivors of sexual assault. Your epiphany moment is waiting for you and your call to action is now.