It takes a bold person to step forward in the face of injustice. Especially when the injustice is accepted as part of the culture.
In January of 2015, Chanel Miller attended a frat party at Stanford University. What started out as an average college fraternity party turned into a life changing event for Ms. Miller. She was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, who received a notoriously light sentence for the crime he was accused of.
In her new book, Know My Name, Ms. Miller tells her life story up to the that night and the aftermath that followed. In the book, she tells her story from the night of the party to the agonizing process of being examined at the hospital for the rape kit, identifying her rapist and finally, going through the trial.
I loved this book. If I was to compile a list of top ten books of 2019, Know My Name would be on it. The pain of whole experience is honest, brutal and at moments, hard to read. But it is well worth it, especially when Ms. Miller comes out on the other side not as a victim, but as a woman whose strength outpaces her pain.
It’s no secret that the world has changed. Especially for women. Generations of hard work and perseverance have opened doors and created cracks in the glass ceiling that will only grow larger.
But for every accomplishment that is mind-blowing, we are reminded that we still have not achieved true equality.
Last week was the MTV VMAs. Joining Beyonce and Jay Z was their four-year old daughter, Blue Ivy.
Some women felt compelled to use social media to bash this child for not being “pretty enough”.
Are they kidding? This child is adorable. What is sad is that these comments reveal not only the dark side of the internet, but also the fact that women still feel the need to judge their fellow female and verbally mock her for her physical appearance. To attack another adult is one thing, but to attack a child? That is beyond low.
In her 2002 song, Sister Blister, singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette called out women who feel compelled to act like these women did.
And then we get to Brock Turner. He should have spent the next six years in jail as was recommended by the prosecutor during his trial. He served a paltry three months. His early release sends two very scary messages: class and race privileges still exist in this country and women are still considered to be property to be used among other things for the sexual pleasure of men. While Brock Turner may be able to return to his life as if the rape never happened, the woman he raped will never be able to escape her past.
Last week, women in America both cheered and were reminded once more of how far we need to go.
The ultimate glass ceiling was broken when Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination for the Democratic nomination. Somewhere in heaven Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan are cheering.
While I was not persuaded to vote for Bernie Sanders, I admired his gutsy approach to government if he won the election. The reason many Americans (myself included) feel frustrated with the government and the general voting process is that it feels more like a secret smoky backroom deal rather than a government of the people, by the people, for the people. He wanted the average Joe or Jane on the street to feel like they truly had a say in how their country was being run. For that, I thank Bernie Sanders and I hope Hillary will take that with her as she battles towards November.
Then the news of the Stanford rape broke and it felt like one step forward, two steps back. The fact that Brock Turner received a much lighter sentence that maximum 14 years in prison is a cold slap in the face that while we have female presidential nominee, women are still thought to be mindless sex objects.