Yesterday’s post led to heated discussions. To my great surprise, many people argued for keeping my mouth shut because the situation with the Duggars is “private,” and none of my business.
Just please, Meg, be quiet.
Today my husband has been told the same message about another subject. What right, they said, do YOU have to say anything? This is none of your business. Just be quiet.
As if the right to point out a wrong has to be earned by participating in the creation of that wrong.
And even when I *am* involved, I’m told to shut up. When I started to voice my objections to being diminished because I am not a man, I was told that I was being a “bully” about it.
Just please, Meg, be quiet.
I’ve been quiet a long time. When I was a kid, if I burped at the table, I was called The Mouse that Roared. In high school, my best friend Krista was the girl *everybody* knew, and everybody talked to, and (almost) everybody dated, and I as known as Krista’s Best Friend. My silence defined my childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and much of my adulthood. Be quiet, go along, don’t make waves, don’t cause trouble, don’t say anything.
Silence was my way of living.
After I had a child with a disability, I was forced to speak. At first, I hated it. I wasn’t comfortable with a megaphone, however small, projecting my words to people outside my head. But when I held my daughter, when I looked in her face and saw her potential future if I allowed the world to shape her existence their way, I had no choice. The pain I would cause her was greater than my discomfort, and I plunged ahead, tripping over obstacles I didn’t realize were in my path, learning how to choose my words for maximum effect.
However stammering my speech, however timid my attempts, I was no longer silent. Because my daughter needed me to be her voice.
Yesterday, I raised the point of the overwhelming silence about the fate of the girls who were victimized by Brother Duggar. No one is speaking for them.
I was told to be quiet.
Today, my husband raised the point of the need for change in a facet of society that affects all of us. He speaks frequently on his belief in improving the world we all share.
He was told to be quiet.
Knowing there are children who have been damaged irreparably by Brother Duggar, I am disgusted at the insistence that this is a “private” matter. Those girls were victimized by silence. They have been living in silence about this since 2006. Nine years in which the world was invited into their personal lives (and the reproductive choices of their parents) and they were silent. No one spoke for them.
I wish every one of you out there who wished I would just keep my mouth shut would go look in those girls’ faces and tell them that their suffering is none of your business. Tell them that to their faces.
They probably won’t object.
Because I am sure they’ve also been told “just be quiet. don’t make waves. don’t cause trouble.”
I bet their brother told them that.
Be quiet. Don’t tell anybody.
Silence is complicity. Silence is shame. Silence is cowardice.
When there are people suffering because silence is their way of life, when there are children whose lives and bodies are damaged because nobody wants to make waves, I can’t sit by and watch.
Silence kills. Too many people I know have tried to kill themselves. Too many have lived their lives in fear and shame. Too many–ALL of them–believed they did something wrong, and should be punished for what their abuser did to them. That their sorrow and anger and terror was their punishment. That they deserved what happened to them.
Because I want to live in a world where the child molesters are shamed (and not their victims), I will not be silent.
Yesterday, I heard from a woman I’ve never met that she had been raped as a young woman and said nothing, and had lived with her shame about her past for 20 years. She couldn’t speak about her pain yet, but she read my post and saw for a moment a “beautiful hope”
That is why I write. That is why I break the silence. That woman–and the dozens of my friends who were used and molested when they were children–is why I speak.
You can keep your head buried in the sand if you like, but don’t you dare tell me to shut up again.
Look at these. ALL of them say, “Stop the silence.” If your position and your message to me are “just shut up,” you’re wrong.
And in Canada,