Untying the Ropes of Silence
Speaking up: an action that empowers, strengthens, and instills confidence in you. Yet some strings of fear, of anxiety, yank us back into our comfort zone– silence. These strings entangle us, leaving us breathless, speechless, and afraid: our true feelings are the ropes binding us, telling us “don’t speak, it’s too risky.” However, traumatic experiences and wrong, malicious doings committed are inevitable. There will always be a malevolent, spiteful, and vindictive offender that threatens us with their vengeance and power. However, just because these perpetrators continue to enact these cruel deeds and violate our rights as human beings, it doesn’t mean we should surrender ourselves and succumb to their authority. We must be stronger, rising to immediately speak out to combat these villains who shoot bullets into our society, our communities, and our families. Speaking up and defending your rights is essential for the past, the present, and for the future.
The significance of the past is often overlooked. Past events give perspectives to learn from and references as to how to move on. When distressing incidents occur, it is important to reflect not only on how to avoid them, but how to relieve the agony. For instance, post experiencing sexual harassment, many feel powerless, weak, and depressed. The disturbing image of the oppressor frequently reappears in the mind as the victim vomits disgustedly at the thought. When keeping this thought inside, it is impossible to escape these feelings and ideas. Survivors of horrific events, such as genocides and mass shootings, are inevitably tangled in distress. . Many historical examples rouse from this, one of the most important being the Holocaust. For many survivors, sharing their poignant stories was one of the hardest obstacles for them to overcome when beginning a new life. However, the shame, embarrassment, and fear these survivors bore flooded their ability to speak up; ultimately, tormenting them as they drowned further into misery. Once the wave of bravery rose as they spoke out, many were relieved of their anguish, and some were even motivated to fight for human rights and change. Although many of our traumas do not even come close to the extremities of these survivors, the concept of alleviating pain, feeling rewarded and strong is quite similar. When speaking up, a sense of empowerment, pride, and freedom liberates you . Supporters will rise with you and begin to relate to you, sympathize, and battle for justice: you never stand alone.
The causes of speaking up seem obvious in the present as the solution to the problem is often an attainable thought. The victims must speak up in the present to get the justice they rightfully deserve at the appropriate time. When violated, digging yourself out of oppression is your priority. From experience, I can tell you that most run away from their hardships, in efforts to escape the problem. Those who try to blind themselves to their issue usually sink into depression, entwined in their emotions. While attempted repression fails, those who face the situation head on become stronger, happier, and more confident. Many trepidations may rise, such as “What if no one believes me? What if my friends turn on me?” While these apprehensions are valid, one must understand the importance of moving beyond fear because the victims’ vulnerability and weakness grows. In times like these, you must show you are strong and are not one to be messed with, as fending for yourself and protecting your rights become priorities. In life threatening situations, such as persecutions, speaking up against the perpetrator is almost impossible. But when a witness observes these lethal cruelties and they are not threatened, it is their responsibility to speak. The longer the violated waits and the prolonged silence the witness holds, regret slowly consumes them. Their confidence and trust are hindered. As many victims and bystanders often make statements post conflict, it is not enough. As we can see in the history of genocides and their aftermath, many made powerful statements and gave inspiring speeches that highlighted this uplifting and empowering claim. Although these speakers stirred their crowd with emotion and influence, we still see mass killings and cases of ethnic cleansing occurring around the world at this very moment.
Why do these catastrophes continue if many spoke about their experiences? Why haven’t our voices been powerful enough to abate creaulty?
Violation continues because most avoid speaking in the present. Many say, “this won’t happen to me” or “it’s not my problem.” Realistically, we are all on our own, this is true. But when the pinnacle of oppression is reached, the bystanders must all congregate to fight for the victims- whether it is through connections to authority or directly to the source (depends on the situation of course). These victims and witnesses who don’t speak in the present are left deserted from themselves, their self esteem, and strength. The bubble of character that is yourself, that your family loves, your friends cherish, that your soul mate adores, pops. Do not compromise your true self and create a facade fostered by fear, remorse, guilt that masks your identity. Only your ashes will appear for an instant, and soon they will wither; rather, make a mark that will engrave the world’s memory and remain forever.
At the end of the day, the future is the purpose of our war against oppression. We long for our wishes granted, our prayers answered, and justice to be rightfully served. Regardless of your current position, whether grappling with the anguish of the past or the hardships of the present, the future is the promising source one looks to for hope. The new generation is where we look for our past incidents never to be repeated and the saying “never again” to ring true. However, the harsh reality is that even after abhorrecies occur and the world reflects in sadness and apology, the question of will it happen again, remains unanswered. Now, with the surfacing of the “Me Too” movement, the alarm has gone off reverberating “it’s enough.” It has been enough of the endless oppression innocent people are subjected to and there have been enough sick, and resentful people in this world that have resorted to notorious crime to express themselves. Let’s influence the future referencing the past and relieving agony so our traumas and anxieties do not transform into cruel practices. Let’s influence the future by speaking up in the present to quell the harassment of innocent people and feel strong and empowered. Our future’s fate lies partly in our hands; influence the future by speaking up for what’s right and killing the cancer that saturates us with fear, eats our confidence, and impairs our ability to speak.