June 29, 2017

From the Invisible Front Line

By Veronika Sprinkel

Giving voice to survivors of rape, abuse, discrimination and hate. Women whose stories shed light on issues that would otherwise stay silent in the darkest corners of our culture. Their hardships are their strength. They stand up and speak out, joining the fight for equal rights, for all of us.

Dear Equal Rights Activist,

Every day, in every corner of every community, all over the world, violent acts against women occur. Today, in 2017, 1 in 3 women fall victim to either physical or sexual assault. Many cases transpire at the hand of an intimate partner or family member, and many go unreported as state and federal “protective” laws lean in favor of enforcement agencies first. Those who survive are likely to be silenced by the weight of their injury, their trauma, and shame. Their stories, while regretfully common, slip through society’s cracks unknown.

I speak from experience. I was raised in what seemed from the outside, your typical middle-class American dreamscape. Dad had a good job and Mom did everything she thought a good mom was supposed to do. On paper, the world was my oyster. But, upon further inspection, for the few who got to peek inside, a very different scene was at play.

My father abused my mother, physically, emotionally — you name it. Long before I was born, he punched her 7 ½ month pregnant belly with a closed-fist. Dad controlled every aspect of Mom’s life until he’d whittled her down into the fragile, fearful, silent human shell he wanted her to be. Time marched on, Dad’s outbursts only increased, and I, the youngest of three girls, endured the brunt of his anger. A few of Mom’s friends knew what was going on, though seldom offered help. As for the rest of my community: my neighbors, my teachers, police, anyone really — no one did anything to stop it. My abuse was a well-kept secret, a cover up, and appearances apparently justified all.

Many questioned whether or not I was going to survive — live to tell the story. But I did. There was something inside of me, an elusive yet visceral spark, this burning desire to push forward, to do good, to make the world better, somehow, in some way. A fervent belief that life is for living, the world worth contributing to — despite its glaring cruelties and ugliness.

From the Invisible Front Line gives voice to survivors of rape, abuse, discrimination and hate. Women who hail from a diverse range of ethnic, economic, and spiritual backgrounds — women who have endured horrific, demeaning attacks and forged on regardless. Their stories shed light on inequality. Stories which, when overlooked, remain silent and unseen in the darkest corners of our culture. Their hardships are their strength. They stand up, speak out, and willfully refuse to grant politics the power to determine their future. They too have joined the fight for equal rights.

Thank you for reading this blog. Please visit often. And please stand with us in the fight for ERA.

 

Yours truly,