I’m 15, and I’m spreading the word, joining the movement, rising.
Why? Because one day at school, I found a girl crying in the bathroom. I asked her why she was upset. She said her boyfriend had tried to kiss her, and she ran away because the thought of becoming physically close to someone scared her. She had been sexually abused by someone close to her, and she was afraid he would hurt her like the other man did. I didn’t know what to say. I felt so bad for her that I just wrapped my arms around her and started to cry. I thought to myself, “Nobody deserves to feel this way, ever.”
This brave girl is one of my inspirations, a reminder to never give up trying to make a difference.
When my mother got involved with V-Day last year, she brought me along. I was ecstatic to be a part of it. I found that I really love spreading the word. It’s amazing when people ask me what my “Over It” shirt means or how they can get involved, because when they do I know that I am doing my job. I think it’s incredibly important that young people like me are just as informed as adults, because if they aren’t, any work we do now could fall apart in the future. Without someone to continue what we start, it won’t matter.
Nobody deserves to be helpless or afraid. I’m going to be honest, the whole thing makes me scared and sad at the same time…scared to one day have a child in this world, scared that nothing may ever happen to make difference, or to make things safer. It makes me sad for those who have been through this, those who will never be the same. But most of all, I am sad for the person who was in so much pain, or was so blind, that he didn’t think committing these crimes was wrong.
I admit, sometimes it is so disappointing walking down the halls in a high school. There are some things that really disgust me, such as all the jokes about rape. I could be minding my own business and suddenly a guy will come up and poke me and say, “rape!” Everyone around him will laugh, even though it is obviously not funny.
Another thing that I don’t understand is the lack of caring when it comes to sex. Once I saw a guy high-fiving his friend because he got his girlfriend pregnant. It also really disturbs me to see actual abuse in high schools. There are guys who grabs girls’ butts or their breasts and don’t think twice about it, or shove us around like we are nobodies who deserve it. What does that say about our country? Our world?
I once read a poem in English class called “Girls Can We Educate We Dads?” by James Berry. It was about a father who thought that girls deserved it when a guy raped them because they wore short shorts or low cut shirts, or that when bad things happen to them, they had it coming. While I don’t agree that girls should wear those things, I certainly don’t think they deserve to be raped. Nobody deserves to be raped.
Studying this poem also opened my eyes to abuse across the world. It made me think about how it is not just our country that is suffering. It made me realize how important the work of this movement is. This campaign is bigger than I can ever be, and I am proud to say I am a part of it, to say that “I’m rising.”
I’m rising to be the voice of those who think they don’t have one. I’m rising to create a better world for the children I may have one day. I’m rising for all children and women who are here now.
I am empowered by the words Strike l Dance l Rise to say, “NO MORE,” and to help the 1 in 3 who didn’t have us when they needed us.
I’m walking out on 2/14/13.
Annabelle Noland is the daughter of Becca Noland, campaign manager for San Diego’s One Billion Rising movement. She will be rising and dancing with her mom on
February 14, 2013.