I remember a cartoon from my childhood. Too young to read articles, I loved skimming cartoons. The one that stayed in my mind was of people on a bus. Most were reading, keeping to themselves. One person was standing, face full of alarm, mouth open, pointing to some disaster happening outside. What happens when one person names what is going on, calls for something not right to be noticed? When it is something going on that needs to change? When we need to do something about it? I have always felt like that person. Hoping always to meet others who feel the same way.
Then the men, strangers in the park, drive by flashers, rapes, attempted rapes, beatings, cat calls, humiliations, all the stories we young women told each other had an impact on me. The lack of support, the quick responses ridiculing us and the outright attacks on the character of those of us who spoke out, had an impact on me.
These formed my early decisions on what I wanted to do with my life. I decided that if something needs to change, I have to say it out loud and do something about it. Finding others who felt the same way led to us opening women’s centres in Canada, pressing the Government for funds for shelters, learning to publish our own news and holding healing circles. Speaking out then we were vilified, just as speaking out today we are still accused of being too loud, biased, angry women. An effective silencing tactic. Nothing would stop me, and I found others who were equally unstoppable.
Finding each other, we had and have great impact on each other. Encouraging each other through the public ridicule, hearing about and meeting more and more women who refuse to stop speaking out, impacts me. Billions of women every day are being beaten, shamed, ridiculed, killed for speaking out, for breaking some rule, for wanting independence, for simply being women. Every sister who speaks out has an impact on me, and this impact continues to grow. It grows in its protection of the truth, in its proof that we are not alone, in its proof of what we somehow knew was happening everywhere. This impact on me by other strong women formed the base from which I developed my own ideas of what I could do. It gave me proof of the magnitude of violence against women and girls, and of a toxic expectation among men and boys that they join in or be punished too. Finding each other we have formed this home base, a centre of reason and vision that melts away the accusations that we are exaggerating, that we are dangerous women who are going too far, that we are expecting the impossible: simply, freedom from violence. We are now aware of each other, we know that even without meeting in person we are creating change together, and that we are not finished until everyone is safe and free. I am impacted by the courage, the strength, the shared determination of my outspoken sisters. I am impacted being able to speak directly about the violence being done to women and girls across this world, from stories I read here in World Pulse.
As we bring news and details into the stories we learn from each other and repeat, our impact grows. As I witness women realizing what we have been up against by sharing our stories, I see the impact of our telling our stories to each other. As I witness women pressing governments to take financial responsibility for the ongoing violence, I recognize the power of our impact. Our collected stories give me impact, as I am able to describe what so many women have experienced, and with that knowledge weave together the safe routes, the solutions by which in so many ways now we are leading each other out of violence and into our own empowerment.
We have gone from whispering, to meeting secretly groups, to writing, to a collective leap into the online world. We have each other now. We have 1 billion rising, Million Women’s Marches, International Women’s Day. We have MeToo, HerToo, Time'sUp. We Colour the World Orange every year. This is global because we are connected now. This is how I have met you. This is when I realized that what had been a hope, a dream, was happening. That we have been and are truly everywhere, working to end every form of violence and suppression of women and girls. And that we have been and are leaders, inventors, artists, writers, singers, musicians, whose stories were buried or denied, even our accomplishments stolen. Now we are sharing the truth of what women have done. That it has not always been this way, and that it is not this way everywhere, even now. That there were times in the past and still are places here on earth today that women have been and are leaders, healers, respected and loved. Every piece of knowledge as the truth is uncovered, spoken, proven, the stories repeated, all this gives me impact. That we are working together for change has impact on me, and has an impact on everyone I tell. As we develop and strengthen our connections with each other, my impact soars just to describe this story.
World Pulse sisters, your voices have had such an impact on me. When I discovered World Pulse I realized with amazement that now I could know what sisters have been through and what sisters were doing about it everywhere. Then one day I saw a message box with an invitation to be a Listener (now Encourager). I sent a message that I was interested. What happened shifted me into a new reality. I hadn’t even realized that I could be a Member. I remember thinking, Can this be true? By donating 3 hours a week I get to be on the inside of this movement, send encouragement, and really meet and begin to network with anyone here I want to know better?!! I became a Member and an Encourager on the same day. What a brilliant system we have. Encouraging keeps me informed, and offers me a way to go as deeply as I can into this global movement. What a gift, to be an Encourager.
Then came the invitation to be an Ambassador. With my base as an Encourager, repeating your stories, taking your messages to heart, by sending them further and planning together and inspiring each other, I am impacted and my impact has soared. I carry the news of what we have and what you are all doing. I watch each woman’s face as she realizes what we have now through World Pulse. I see her feel that impact, take the news into her heart, and realize that now she has more chance to be believed. I see this impact take form. As we work more and more closely, we will never lose the impact of knowing that each other is there. Your strength inspires me to grow. Your words give me truth to describe. Your hearts have given me such a sisterhood of joy. This impact defies gravity. We are soaring now toward a world in which we are all free.
So this is my journey from feeling alone, to a global movement. I recommend everyone to become an Encourager. Three hours a week, keeping informed, sending love and support, deepening connections. And now with a new call for Ambassadors, ask yourself. Are you already busy? Do you want to work more closely with others equally committed? Do you want to move forward with your plans to let many more know how empowering this is, to be active in our communities and reading and reporting to this global network? Become an Encourager. And send in your plans for being an Ambassador. If you are reading this and are not yet a member, join us! We are growing so strong now that we have each other.