Hello everyone! So I know it’s a new month which usually means I post my book of the month or something like that, but I really wanted to do something a little different. Recently in my speech class, we had to write a eulogy. We could do a person, a pet, or even an idea. I decided to go with an idea and did the death of silence, more specifically, the death of silence in regards to sexual assault. I was really happy with the end result and wanted to share it with all of you here. I hope you enjoy it.
Ladies and gentleman, we are gathered here today not to mourn, but to celebrate. In a time where we are plagued by countless stories of women being abused and taken advantage of, you may ask what there possibly is to celebrate. How can we celebrate when we’ve learned that so many women have suffered? Well, we can celebrate because these women are no longer being silenced by their pain. These women have stepped up and told their stories so that the world may know what they’ve been through, so that the world may know who has been hurting them for so long, so that the world may put a stop to this senseless violence against innocent people who have done nothing to deserve it.
Today, however, is not the real funeral. Today, in fact, is merely a final goodbye. The real funeral occurred on October 15th, 2017, when people shared their stories on social media, effectively ending an era of silence and tolerance and instead beginning an entirely new era, one that gave a voice to the voiceless and refused to tolerate the crimes that had been overlooked for so many years. But that was not the only funeral. Again, on January 7th, 2018, men and women dressed in black flooded the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Once again, stories were shared, voices were raised, and people recognized that this violence could not continue. The last funeral was held over the course of a week, from January 17th to January 24th, 2018. This was the funeral at which one hundred and fifty-six women stood in a courtroom and used their voices to break the chain of silence that had been wrapped around them for so long.
As the funerals have already passed, today we are simply here to remember the struggles of those who came before us, the women who, at these very funerals, paved the way for me and women like me to be heard for years to come. It is important, as we sit here today, many of us lucky enough to be untouched by the violence that has fallen on so many others, that we recall what was said at these funerals that effectively ended the reign of silence that had been going on for far too long.
Brave, fearless women such as Aly Raisman came forward at these funerals and gave their own eulogies of sorts, saying goodbye to the one thing that had quieted their voices for so many years. “We are now a force,” she said, “and you are nothing. We are here. We have our voices, and we are not going anywhere. And now it’s your turn to listen to me.” She was not the only one to speak out. Reese Witherspoon said, “There’s moments that you have to evaluate whether silence is going to be your only option. And certain times that was our only option. But now is not that time.”
Going back to when I mentioned what we were here for, this is exactly what we are here for. We are here, not to dwell on the violence these women have been forced to deal with, but to celebrate the fact that these victims have found their voice, that they have effectively broken the decades of silence that have been forced upon them and women like them. No longer do they feel obligated to be quiet, something that was once their only choice in regards to dealing with the violence against them, but now they feel safe enough to speak up and speak out.
It is important for us, as the memories of these funerals fade out of the Twitter timelines, as they fade out of our day-to-day conversations, to remember that women did not pour out their hearts and souls for nothing. That women did not break the chain of silence that had been oppressing them for so long for nothing. We, as decent human beings, have a right and a duty to ensure that silence truly died over the course of the past three months, that no longer will women have to fear using their voice. We must ensure that women will no longer be silenced by the violence against them. Everyone deserves a voice. And now that silence has died, people may finally have one.