Nebraska Methodist College students and faculty recently create a flash mob promotional video to raise awareness for the Omaha area One Billion Rising events. Click here to view.em>
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Omaha mom Mardra Sikora, 41, wrote this guest blog for momaha.
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My boyfriend found the pages with the truth about what happened, the secret I dealt with the only way I knew how: pencil to paper.
He read with horror the details about the night I was raped. He stared at me angry and hurt and stared in disbelief when I confirmed its truth.
He took a match to the pages and swore me to secrecy. “How could you let him do that to you?” he screamed.
Unable to contain his rage, he repeatedly hit me and marked his contempt for my weakness.
My voice stuck in my throat and my shame compounded; I learned there is no love for a victim.
Those moments feel like a lifetime ago, but even as I write this I find my legs are crossed and crossed again so tightly that my feet tingle, cut off from the blood that flows from my heart. I’ve kept this secret in order to protect myself, protect others. Coping and surviving is personal, unique, solitary.
It’s been more than 20 years and I just now see: strength from silence is a lie.
Just because I lived through it does not make it OK. Just because you cannot see the scars does not mean I am not wounded. And because I have not told you this before does not mean I am healed.
It means I have decided to rise.
One person who understands is activist and playwright Eve Ensler, who used proceeds from her award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues” as a vehicle to fund, “One Billion Rising,” a global initiative to end violence against women and girls.
On Feb. 14, there will be several “One Billion Rising” rallies.
Ensler has encouraged women and the men who love them to rise together, “Not remain unseen or be held back or down.”
The medium of choice: Dance.
Of course, it had to be dance.
Moments of true bliss have come to me through dance. Dancing in the living room with my best friend, in the kitchen with my son, and yes, one lovely time in the rain, I felt that unique combination of safe and happy and alive.
Can you imagine if one billion women showed their strength and glowed? If they and their brothers, fathers, husbands, friends, all held hands and said, “No more rape, or incest, or abuse.” If everyone who believed that rape is never acceptable, or funny, or deserved, spoke up and said, “No more.”
What would that noise sound like? I bet it will sound like song.
You may think it is too big of a problem to change, too systemically inherent to fight, too impossible to face. That may be true.
But, what if it already made a difference for me?
I have decided to dance for myself. And when I am dancing, I will invite you to join me.
Perhaps that’s what Eve Ensler is really hoping for. For us to put out our arms, claim our space and feel safe.
Won’t that be something? Even for a minute.
See how you can join in the movement, by clicking here.
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