Hello all. My last post was about bullying and how we as humans need to stop hating people who are different from ourselves, and more than that we need to learn to love ourselves and reach out to people. Today’s post seems like it is probably connected to that in some basic way. I stumbled across this article in the L.A. Times that just broke my heart for a number of reasons. One, the girl featured was only 21 years old, less than a year older than my daughters. Two, she was from my home state. And three… dear God, after a life of violence and prostitution, this beautiful girl was found naked and dead on a trash conveyor belt! How could anything be more heartbreaking than that?
I don’t even have words. Everything in me is screaming: STOP hurting women! STOP selling ourselves! STOP! Just STOP!!! I started to post this on my Facebook, but I decided I wanted it here instead. What was this poor girl’s early life, that she ended up this way? What is the root of this, and how can we rip it out of wherever it grows and obliterate it forever?! I don’t even know where we could begin. More love, more life, more words, more beauty, more peace, more kindness, compassion, strength, tenderness, care… more SOMETHING. Something that touches people’s souls and teaches them that life has value and inflicting pain is wrong and USING people is just WRONG.
The knowledge of this girl’s life and how it ended has touched me in this moment. I can’t say “I’ll never be the same” because odds are, I’ll forget her name and face in a few days, and whenever something makes me remember the story, I’ll think, “Oh, yeah, that was really, really sad.” But maybe her story should serve as a catalyst for action, a jolt out of an existence characterized by apathy, an inspiration to stand up and shout against something. I have noticed an unsettling tendency in myself, and that is… I don’t stand up lately. I don’t support causes, and I don’t oppose causes. I don’t say what I believe very often. I don’t agree and I don’t disagree. I smile and nod, or frown and shake my head, but I don’t use my voice. I don’t engage and I don’t confront. I don’t fight. I think it’s time I started working toward moving in the opposite direction from that. Some things are worth fighting for, just as some things are worth fighting against. I have feet, and I need to start standing. I have a voice and I need to start using it. It’s past time to choose a side and speak.
Jarrae Nykkole Estepp can’t use her voice anymore. What would she say if she could? What could we say FOR her, to help make sure nobody else ends up like her? I urge everyone who reads this to use your voice. Speak up for something, speak up against something. Use your voice and your hands and your feet and begin to fight for your beliefs.
Until next time,
May We All Stand UP.
EDITED TO ADD: Here is a website that lists activist websites for women’s issues: