One of my favorite things about feminism is the power that emerges in honoring the collective voice and experience. In many ways, I think that’s why I feel so at home in working to end sexual violence. There are so many advocates and activists who genuinely take the time to listen to someone tell about an experience. There is thought, reflection, collective decision-making and action, and it happens every day.
My hope in writing this blog on feminism and the movement is that I will find a way to honor the voices and experiences of the people who have built this movement from the roots up. The feminist movement has such a rich history and “family tree.” Founding mothers paved the way for major reform, pushed for the rights of women, and valued the experiences of the oppressed. Very cool stuff. As it grows, it evolves and learns and changes with each new generation of feminists. We continually find ways to share and value the collective voice.
As the movements grow, they intertwine. One thing we agree on is that oppression takes many forms, but they are all related. Feminists and activists found that any type of oppression feeds into a culture where one person is valued over another. Similarly, in sexual violence prevention work, we talk about the continuum of sexual violence. Behaviors and actions that reflect oppressive thoughts, even subtly, create a violent culture. The shift toward primary prevention of sexual violence feels like a long walk home in the sunshine to me. We’re talking about changing culture, norms, and behaviors used to oppress.
I’m excited for the conversations and learning that can happen here. There are so many amazing people out there that I hope we can feature on this blog. It should be a learning and a growing experience for this blossoming feminist, and hopefully it will bloom.