Woman have begun singing about their pain. I know you think they did this decades ago, when feminism uplifted women's voices, but that was different music - it was about a longing for the sky, a song of wings. Now, we hear about the broken bones, bruised hearts, ruined trust. The songs that could never be heard until women had rescued themselves from dark towers, claustrophobic kitchens, small lives, and learned not only to fly but to stand on their self-seeded inner ground.
These are songs women have been whispering amongst themselves for millennia. Where do you think so many fairytales come from? We mostly know them now the way men have chosen to retell them, but their origins are in the bones and blood of what women have always experienced.
(Men have their own terrible experiences too. As I woman, I can say that but not speak to it.)
And in the middle of all this wild and powerful singing, I want to speak for silence.
For the women who carry a song within themselves that they do not vocalise: it's okay to be silent. It doesnt exclude you from the community of survivors. It doesn't mean you aren't amazingly courageous. Infact, I wonder if in these days, holding on to silence is a special courage all its own. Maybe you are protecting yourself. Your parents. Your children. Your peace.
Maybe you cried out years ago, told family, told the police, and were left with this silence that has become itself your lament.
Maybe you were assaulted by women, and no one's singing about that.
If you are holding words in silence, for whatever reason you choose, I want to tell you that you're noble. You're brave. You're just as important and beloved as the women who shout their tales to senators in elevators. What happened to you mattered, and your choices as to how you carry that matter too. Don't let anyone tell you that other women speaking up is on your behalf too. Your silence is important! We must not deny it. We must not take it over and speak for it. The silence of some women is an essential part of womanhood's song.
It's okay to speak up about what happened to you. There is no shame to having been sexually assaulted any more than there is in having had your arm broken. It's also okay to not speak up. Your survival is not someone else's healing tool. It belongs to you, and absolutely you have the choice what to do with it.
Silence is not a matter of not speaking out. It is a way of holding one's voice.