I am rising because men have been taught to hide their emotions and male survivors have been taught to believe that we will be perceived as weak if we admit abuse or talk openly about feelings. I believe that admitting our pain takes more courage than stoicism does. By facing what happened to me I have gained the courage to talk about it and move past it. I will not return to a perception of masculinity that doesn’t allow me to be honest and real.
I am rising because we must all rise together to end sexual and physical violence in our world. Only when we face it can we overcome it. But we can’t do it alone. We must stand side by side–men and women, young and old, of every creed and color–if we are to end the violence. When a billion or more of us stand up we can end it. When a billion or more of us rise up we will not be put back down again.
This piece was written for the event, One Billion Rising, that will be held world-wide in February. In Madison, Wisconsin there will be an event at the Brink Lounge. Survivors were invited to submit poems and essays that were to take off on the theme of “I am rising because . . .” The submissions will be featured on a “Wall of Rising” at the event.