The Power of Voice

I recently heard about the story of Nicola Briggs, the woman stood up to the man who flashed her. Briggs screamed, “That’s it, oh you’re getting f–cking arrested. I’m not leaving your side! My plans are done for the night.” Check out the video below and be amazing at a woman using HER VOICE to affect change!! I get chills every time I view this video. She was trained in the art of Tai Chi and was prepared to use if he tried to get away. Tell me YOUR thoughts.

The man, Mario Valdivia who was a convicted sex offender not only got arrested but got deported back to Mexico.

Why is this woman my hero? She’s my hero because she refused to be silent. It would have been easy for her just to leave the subway and victimize herself. She had plans for the night and come on, who really wants to confront a flasher?

The video was viewed over 500,000 times and made headlines. My immediate response is: why did this story make the headlines like it did? Shouldn’t this woman’s response be the norm? Seriously? Why aren’t more women taught to scream out and express themselves? Here’s a clear example of a woman being violated and most women’s response is to be feel shame? I was a victim of sexual assault and experienced shame. I felt like it was my fault and blamed myself for a long time.

If you watch the video again, you might hear people laughing in the background. Why would ANYONE laugh at a woman who was a victim of a sexual assault? I don’t think they were laughing maliciously but rather they were uncomfortable watching a woman scream. Think about it. It’s rare to see role models of women speaking up for themselves. Women are taught to be quiet and ashamed when a man harasses them? The harasser is the one who should feel ashamed and disgusted, not the victim! One recent good example of a woman who stands up for herself in the movie, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Also, if you watch the video again, you see that men were also involved in helping this woman. Men also have a responsibility when they see an injustices committed against women to step in.

One of my monologues, “Navigating the Stares,” in Ideal Beauty, is about how to deal with harassment.

Other women are also inspiring me. Emily May started a site called http://www.ihollaback.org, a website where women speak up about injustices committed towards them by taking pictures of the men who harass them.

May agrees with me, “The reaction of our readers when they saw this video was: Wow. She’s my hero. This is because sexual harassment crimes are usually crimes that tend to silenced, in part because of the shame the shame they provoke in victims. Most women’s instinct, when confronted to a situation like this one, is to feel as fast as possible. Sometimes especially what no other people are around, this is probably the safest attitude to adopt. But this video proves that having the courage to speak out, loudly, against the harasser can have more of an effect than we think.”

Yesterday a man on a bike blew a kiss at my girlfriend and I in a disgusting way. I immediately froze. I realize this is usually my response to conflict. I am working on changing my reaction to harassment but it’s a process. I realize I’m not going to change overnight. But the first step to change is being aware.

I feel like EVERY woman should watch this video and show it to their teenage daughters to show them they don’t have to be a victim. They too have a voice. They can be empowered by speaking up.

About Danielle

Danielle Sonnenberg is a psychology student, a thinker, and someone who chooses love over fear.
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