BY LEORA MOSMAN
My ENTIRE LIFE has been spent trying to avoid assault. This is true for nearly every womxn I know. Avoidance tactics are a complete toss-up. Some of us have been lucky thus far, and others have not (I’m using the word “lucky” intentionally, because there is nothing a woman can DO to ensure her body is kept safe and untouched). Living amidst male aggression is a reality that neither myself nor any other woman I know can escape. Every decision I make is made within a context of strategy and safety - a deeply intuitional understanding that one “mistake” or “oversight” (put in quotation marks because of the self-blame that is equally ingrained in me) could result in aggression, assault, or worse. And yes, while the women who are hurt are your sisters, mothers, daughters, and wives - the men who are hurting them are also your brothers, fathers, husbands, and sons. One can’t be recognized without the other.
Sometimes I wonder about who I would be in a world where male aggression did not color all of my choices - how much more brave I might be, adventurous, outspoken, trusting, or vulnerable. I believe that heaven might be as simple as myself and all other women and all survivors getting the chance to re-live our lives without the constant threat and existence of aggression and assault - and how overwhelmingly beautiful something as simple as that would be.
I am glad I do not have a daughter right now. And I am deeply grateful for all of the mothers and women in my life who are oftentimes the only (ONLY) ones protecting me and so many others. Speaking from the almost-peak of privilege (white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied, educated), I am exhausted after twenty-two years. And I am in awe of people who have lived longer than me and with identities vastly more targeted than the ones I carry. I recognize that the possibility and threat of assault increases tenfold for anyone who is not on the same side of these privileges as myself. Anita Hill is a hero. So is Christine Blasey Ford. And every woman I know who has endured. Who is here living, despite it all. You are all miracles.
As I have gotten older I have only seen more and more men who are perpetrators of male aggression be rewarded with new athletic contracts, prestigious grad school acceptances, uninterrupted lives of continued success - you name it. Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation would not in any way be a surprise, but only a hurtful reminder that we have in no way changed, and do not plan to anytime soon. It is a confirmation, for myself, that women are the only safe spaces I have to turn to. So that’s what I plan to do for now - what I have done for all my life - which is turning to women to protect, affirm, and refill me. And in the hopelessness that I feel, I am resolving to be a better woman who is a safe space for other women and all survivors, since safety will not be given to us by anyone else.
This post was originally posted on Leora's Facebook page.
Leora Mosman is originally from Los Angeles and recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College where she studied Politics and Women’s & Gender Studies. In DC, she will be working for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees where she hopes to learn how to pursue justice inside systems that are imperfect or incomplete. She loves Junia House, her new housemates, community meals, and the resistant community she is finding in DC.
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