Any great blog entry starts with an inspiration and just as most writers would know, inspiration could come from just about anywhere.
For me, it hit me in the middle of a packed bus in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles as I finished Colleen Hoover’s It Ends with Us. The book, which I borrowed for the sole purpose of distracting myself from the world of adulting, stirred up emotions in me that I did not even realize I had.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where love reigned. Where the men in my family were respectful of women and took responsibility in being protectors. They cherished and adored the women in the family. I have had my own personal story of abuse (the verbal and mental kind) that I wrote about three years ago. But as I finished It Ends with Us and Swear on This Life, I had the realization that my understanding of abuse went beyond my own personal tale.
There are many close to me who have suffered abuse in whatever form and seeing their stories of strength unfold led me to the realization on why fighting for women’s rights is so important. There are so many women out there who stay in abusive relationships because they have no other choice. Fighting for women’s rights and demanding for equality gives women a chance to build their own lives so they will not be controlled by men who are not worthy. It is more than just a trend on social media – it is a rooted desire to make the world a better place for women, where they are given opportunities to build an independent life so that they can leave whenever they no longer feel safe. When women are treated better, they are empowered to make better decisions that will keep them safe.
A woman close to my heart once experience the treachery of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. During her time, leaving the household was not acceptable. If you ask the women before us, they would be quick to tell you that they stayed because they knew no other way. But this woman, ahead of her time and at the tender age of 25, looked at her life and knew that there should be something better for her. She could have chosen to stay but by God’s grace and with nothing in her name – she walked away.
At the time she made the decision, people close to her questioned her and gave her the spiel, “He loves you, he will change. You must stay.” But this woman, full of determination decided that enough was enough and though she had sacrificed a few things, she knew she made the right decision for herself. Because she was equipped with a degree and job, she had the ability to stand up for herself and leave. Of course, just like any human being, she wishes a few things were different but at the core of who she is, she never once regretted walking away from a relationship that could have either ruined her or killed her.
She could have settled because at that time this is what society taught but she knew in her heart that this wasn’t the life she wanted or those who loved her could have wanted for her. With only faith and courage, she built a new life and soon found a love that respected her, loved her, and cherished her. God gifted her with a man who stood by her side no matter what and she witnessed what a real, loving relationship felt like. While I wish I could share more details of her story, I stop her for it is not my story to tell.
Instead today, I wish to honor my mother – who fought hard and bravely for her place of safety in the world. My mother knew that love did not have to hurt and she deserve to be taken care of even if she could very well take care of herself. I can only imagine the horrors she went through and what she had to overcome but she did it, even if she had to do it alone – she did it.
Today, I salute women like my mother and others like her. Today, we are slowly taking away the stigma of walking away from bad, abusive relationships and slowly stripping these types of men of their power.
For every woman who is still in relationships as such, I pray that God gives you the strength to overcome – you are not alone. Love does not hurt, does not sting, does not make you feel crouch in fear nor does it make you feel small – real love liberates and I pray today, you find the courage to choose to keep yourself safe.
Let us keep fighting for every woman in the world for it is through this united resolve that we overcome.
I end this with what I wrote three years ago:
“I am sharing this story to remind you beautiful woman reading this that you are not alone and that when a guy hurts you whether through his brute strength or his words, walk away. You were created to be loved and appreciated and believe me when I say that staying will not change him but even make the situation worse.
By loving yourself and being brave enough to walk away, you are stopping him from repeating the same behavior and at the same time, inspiring women everywhere that you don’t have to take what you don’t deserve. By taking the stand today, you at also making the world a better place for little girls to grow up in.”
Happy International Women’s Day.