Over It Redux

An Essay by Eve Ensler

I am over rape.

I’m over women (cisgender, transgender and gender non-conforming) having to tell our stories over and over, traumatizing and re-traumatizing ourselves over and over when the stories and names and identities of perpetrators remain protected and anonymous.

I am over rape culture, where privileged men with political and physical and economic power take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it.

This would include the super Predator in Chief, Donald Trump, who was elected after bragging about grabbing women’s pussies without their consent and who has more than 15 charges of abuse against him. Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly… the list is endless. It’s not enough to fire them and have them walk away with millions. Sexual abuse is already illegal.

I am over how long it takes for anyone to ever respond to rape, and how long corporations and partners protect abusers through payouts and backroom deals. If that same president or CEO stole money from you or killed someone, you can bet they’d be fired on the spot and he would be charged in court.

I am over the three out of four women who experience sexual harassment feeling they can’t tell anyone for fear of losing their job or not being believed.

I am over women being slowly made insane and angered and humiliated and shamed by being forced to ignore, deny, block out, tolerate, minimize the sexual harassment in order to survive.

I am over “33 million U.S. women being sexually harassed, and 14 million sexually abused, in work-related incidents,” as reported by ABC News-Washington Post.

I am over domestic workers being held as sex slaves.

I’m over non-documented workers being sexually and physically abused, and then having no place to turn for protection or justice.

I am over room attendants in hotels having to fight to get panic buttons installed on their beings because they can hardly bend over to clean a bathtub without fear of being attacked by male guests.

I am over restaurant workers being made to tolerate being grabbed, insulted degraded and harassed at jobs because they are reliant on tips and paid $2.13 an hour.

I’m over 76 percent of nurses being verbally assaulted and kicked, punched, bitten, grabbed or attacked by their patients or visitors on the job.

I am over 60 percent of women farm workers suffering sexual abuse, so much so that their place of work has been named the field de calzon, the field of panties.

I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.

I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, you name a place, still waiting for justice.

I am over one in three women in the U.S military getting raped by their so-called “comrades.”

I am over the fact that half of all transgender people and lesbians will experience sexual violence.

I am over the fact that 75 percent of women in prison “have histories of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner… and 82% suffered serious physical or sexual abuse as children” and they are being further punished rather than healed.

I’m over college campuses being places young women survive rather than places they thrive because of rape culture.

I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.

I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public. reality of being a woman — by the numbers.

I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it’s their fault. Because they did something to make it happen like “wearing the wrong clothes.” Because they are terrified they will get fired or won’t get the part or ever work again.

I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think being forced to watch a vile, powerful man masturbate in front of us to keep or get a job or having an uninvited penis up our anus or our vagina is a laugh riot.

I’m over women being forced to leave their homes when their husbands beat them.

I am over violence against women not being a number one international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime ― the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself.

No women, no future, duh.

I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters ― film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, shamans, priests, rabbis, imams, gurus, coaches, doctors, movie stars, athletes (insert here) ― while the lives of the women they violated are devastated, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.

I’m over listening to a predator who has slept with and then married his step daughter expressing his empathy for a mutual predator.

I am over years and years of being over rape and rewriting and updating this piece Over It.

I am over thinking about rape every day of my life since I was five years old. I’m over getting sick from rape. I’m over getting depressed from rape. I’m over getting enraged by rape. I’m over reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.

I am over being polite about rape. It’s been too long now, we have been too understanding. We need it to end now.

We need people to truly try and imagine ― once and for all ― what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered.

And really deeply, truly, I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you? You live with us, work with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and harassment, degradation and humiliation of us?

Why aren’t you rising in droves, going beyond apologies and confessions, realizing this issue is your issue not ours? Why don’t you see yet if you were to stand as one fierce band of insistent, consistent, loving men speaking to your brothers, calling out your brothers, interrogating yourselves, dismantling patriarchy in every board room, audition hall, hotel, hospital, office, farm, school, locker room, this whole thing would change overnight?

There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated.

ONE BILLION WOMEN.

Can we rise together? Can we change the paradigm? Can we rebirth the culture because we know that when women are free, safe, equal and allowed to be alive in all their intensity the whole story will finally change?

–from One Billion Women email newsletter

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day:

Around the world, the sights, sounds, and energy of women, men and children in their communities can be heard demanding JUSTICE! Among the thousands events planned worldwide, risers will be dancing on campuses, at the gates of the High Court in Bangladesh, in Trafalgar Square in London, at game parks in Swaziland, at oil plants in the Bay Area, against the militarization of the mines in the Philippines, within Ministries of Women, in active violent conflict zones, with the rising girls in Siloe, Haiti, at the Palace of Justice in Rome, across the five Burroughs of NYC, at the steps of City Hall in San Francisco, at the International Criminal Court, in prisons, and more!

ONEBILLIONRISING.ORG, Your Window on the RISINGS

“Dancing insists we take up space, and though it has no set direction, we go there together. Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious and it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center of ONE BILLION RISING”

–Eve Ensler.

As we prepare for ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, for the escalation and the deepening of the campaign, we want to take a quick look back and ask What did dancing do?

We have seen the power of communities coming together through dance and action.

Dance broke the silence in Somalia and new laws were passed in Guatemala. It’s unified groups, it’s made people feel free, it’s broken down barriers.

Rising for Women Everywhere: V-Day

As activists in 128 countries escalate their efforts and plan local One Billion Rising For Justice 2014 events, our core team continues to create path breaking resources, tool kits, & short films; connect networks; and use social media to activate and engage the dialogue of justice.

Peru is Rising for the hundreds of thousands of indigenous women who were sterilized during the Fujimori regime and for the tens of thousands of women who were raped during the armed conflict and have never received justice.
Farm workers in the US and Mexico are Rising for immigration reform, farm worker, women’s rights and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.
South Africa is Rising to end ‘corrective rape’ against lesbians.
Guatemala is Rising in support of laws to protect women and to highlight indigenous women and their vision of justice.
Bangladesh is Rising to lobby political parties to bring legislation to protect women.
Los Angeles is Rising to promote rape awareness and sexual assault in the military, engaging courts, local police and sheriff departments.
Haiti is Rising to bring a State of Female Justice to Haiti as defined by Haitian survivors and women’s groups.
The Philippines is Rising against militarization, corporate greed, mining, economic injustice and labor exploitation, and the plundering done by a corrupt government that severely impacts women and girls.
Mexico City, Atlanta, Miami and San Francisco are Rising to Stop Sex Trafficking.
College students in the US are Rising to stop sexual assault on campuses and to hold administrations accountable to properly prevent or adequately respond to the needs of college survivors.

Your participation on 14 February means everything to us!

With gratitude,

V-Day core – Eve, Susan, Cecile, Christine, Monique, Purva, Shael, Tony, Kate, Amy, Laura, Carl, Joliz, Noelle, & Kristina

Letter from the Congo

A Letter from Eve Ensler

Dear All,

First let me begin with the deepest thank you to all of you who believed in City of Joy and have stood by us with your confidence and support. I have spent the month here and all I can say, is you would be proud. Let me start by describing the current state of Bukavu. It is nothing short of catastrophic. In one of the richest resourced countries in the world, the poverty is inconceivable. In a place where it rains almost every day, there is no water.

It is a country with the most fertile green fields, people are starving. There is no electricity. Most of the month the children have been sent home from school as the teachers are on strike. (they have not been paid). Even the policemen are begging for food. The road is better but most of the time we have not driven on it as there are so many reasons for detours. This is the environment our director Christine and her astounding staff face and transcend every day. Then of course there is the issue of security. The month I have been here there have been no incidents, but it feels arbitrary as there is no real political basis for security and one feels anything can happen at any time.

I will not even begin to tackle here the many proposals that seem to be circulating for peace in Congo. They either feel rhetorical or implausible. I think it is safe to say that if Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi were to get out of Congo, if there were real leadership and a functioning government in Kinshasa, there would be change. But that is not the nature of what I am writing about. We made a decision four years ago to put our energy into the grassroots women of Congo, to support their visions, their plans, their desires, their futures. To believe in their strength. To find the support for them to heal from gender violence of all forms, to be trained and educated in skills and their rights, to become leaders in their communities so that they could build a grassroots movement that eventually would be strong enough to transform this country and turn pain to power.

I am happy to say we are on our way. None of it would be possible without the brilliant leadership of Christine Schuler Deschryver and Dr. Denis Mukwege. Their devotion, tenacity, great humor and fierce love makes all transformation possible. I could not admire or love them more. Let me also reassure you that Dr. Mukwege, in spite of his new life (which due to high security measures has limited his freedom and autonomy), is doing extremely well. Operating, working non stop in every direction to support all he can. We are so thrilled he continues to teach sexual education at City of Joy and be our partner. So let me begin to give you a taste of what is happening here.

I send my love and gratitude from that place which is the City of Joy,

Eve

To reqad the entire letter and see the accompaning photographs please click the following link: http://www.vday.org/dearall