Last December (2012), I was out on a walk and was raped. I didn’t know the guy. And it did change my life in so many ways. It has been one crazy twist in what I thought my life would look like. I want to share this because I know that most of you on here did not know that this happened, and it just shows that we never know what someone has gone through. All the more reason to be careful with words. The Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Bar has a menu that has a drink called Date Grape KoolAid, after being asked to remove the name from their menu it has spiraled to an example of how desensitized our culture has become to this violence and how jokes about this serious crime are socially acceptable. If I am honest part of my fear of admitting that something happened is because of the questions people will ask, questions that insinuate that I did something wrong. These kind of jokes, just make light of a situation and invalidate a lot of feelings. The name of the drink, comment by the establishment, and the fact that some people do not believe there is a problem with it provides an opportunity to educate people and a chance to change the culture.
So here is my challenge to all of my Facebook friends: 1. Be aware that people in your life have experienced this and you may not realize what someone has gone through and words are powerful. 2. Be a voice when given the opportunity. 3. Be mindful of the words you use. 4. Take a moment and check out this page: Boycott Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory like it and pass it on (even if you aren’t from Spokane) because I would love to see this page have more support than the bar.
I had some great encouragement in writing this post. Spent time in prayer and took to heart a sermon from Thrive tonight. What happened does not define me, my feelings, my thoughts, none of that define me. I had put what I found important on the back burner because I didn’t feel strong enough, or able enough. And I don’t have to because God has a plan and it is good, all the time. The passion I had put behind me was the very reason I joined debate, because I believe there is power in knowledge, in words, in presentation, because I believed I could make a difference. The thing is I still can make a difference and this is just the beginning. I feel that passion beginning to stir in me again, a light starting to burn, that the power of words is there. That I can share my story confidently because I am more than that, but someone somewhere may need to hear it. And if this convinces one person to think twice about their words, helps one person not feel alone, gives one person hope (just as others have done for me by sharing their story), encourages one person to speak up then sharing will have been worth it.