It was not a dream. Her reality is his voice, his ruling, running through her mind at 5am on a Saturday morning, preventing her from her sleep.
Looking toward her sleeping daughter beside her, the thoughts circulating through her mind are anything but cuddly. She is tired of this scenario.
Tired it is still happening.
Though she’s so tired, she cannot sleep. Not on her child’s account, and not on her own.
When her second daughter came along she thought surely that by now the men like him would have lost their place. Surely her children would be safe.
Because they deserved protection.
And yet last week Judge Lenehan’s sexual assault ruling tried to take something from her and her girls, without a second thought.
But she took notice.
So too did the thousands more sleeping with one eye open- just like her.
In a chorus, women across the nation placed their feet on the cold floors of their bedrooms at 5am, determined to do something other than screaming into their pillows.
And because of this ruling, each of those awoken today won’t sit down. Not once. Because there’s too much work to do.
Today she won’t quiet her voice, she won’t take a step back, she won’t bite her tongue.
Today she won’t quit. Not until the sun is down and her body aches and there’s not a single car left on the road to read her protest signs and hear her opinions.
She won’t feel shame for feeling feelings, won’t feel embarrassed for shouting from the rooftops, or the street corners, as was her case.
She won’t hold back at all.
She’ll take it to the streets and she’ll take it to the dinner table. She’ll put it all out there for your digestion- and you might even lose your appetite.
She may come off as impolite. She may come off as brash or crude or inappropriate for daytime.
You may call her bossy and bitchy because she will demand your attention, and won’t simply request it.
She will persist.
Because she’s woman, and because it’s this week, and because this week follows after so many other intolerable weeks in her history, she’ll have had enough.
And your eyes better be ready to view her, your ears ready to hear her, and your hearts ready to receive her.
Your minds better be prepared.
Because though she be just a lonely janitor wandering lonely halls she never really works alone. Though she may be a motel’s only receptionist, or a playground supervisor’s only paid staff, she is never on her own.
Though she may be a stay at home mother or a woman juggling a CEO position in a high rise, she belongs to one collective group.
She is female.
And though she may not be great at speaking up for herself, though she may find it hard to justify that, she does not find it a challenge to stand up for others in her club.
And when you dared to dim out her flame she was watching.
When you dared to put her daughter’s future safety on the line you better believe she was listening.
When you dared to try to throw her further back into the stone age she dug in, and so did we.
We dug in for our sisters. Because every time you try to put one down, we collectively feel that burn. Every time you dig one woman’s grave you prepare ours.
So today she is brave. Because she never works alone.
This week your ruling makes us feel weak for our sister victim, but we are not weak.
Because one victim’s courage to speak her truth is pumping the blood through all of our veins.
See her. Hear her.
Have the courage to be moved, too.
Because we won’t sit and we won’t rest.
Though we, are so, so weary our light is not out.