Strength in numbers: the first anniversary of the Women’s March

One year from Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March held its first anniversary. City streets across the globe filled with rallies of feminists. The highpoint for many was 23-year old singer Halsey’s performance of a moving, but harrowing poem. Within the five-minute speech, ‘A Story Like Mine’, she covers her own personal experience with sexual assault, inequality, abortion laws, and the deafening silence from the President. She graphically details how her boyfriend would rape her, and how she was made to perform whilst suffering a miscarriage. She makes the thought-provoking point that how being in the public eye has done nothing to guard her or others from this abuse.  The rhyming poem ended poignantly: “there is work to be done, there are songs to be sung, Lord knows there’s a war to be won.”

Whilst the sheer magnitude of these stories is somewhat depressing, the strength and determination displayed by their tellers is working to build momentum in a movement that is only just beginning. The #MeToo campaign, has been shared across social media millions of times. Women and men have used the hashtag to share their own stories of sexual abuse, assault and harassment, particularly prevalent in Hollywood, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Yet, the embodiment of #MeToo represents that nearly every woman, and many men, have been affected on varying scales by these same issues, and not just by the “monsters” like Weinstein, but by friends, colleagues, bosses and seemingly “good guys”.

The #TimesUp initiative is a unifying call for action by the women in the entertainment industry, and for women everywhere. They are partnering with equality advocates to improve laws, employment agreements, and enable more men and women to access a fair legal system to hold the perpetrators of sexual misconduct accountable.

You don’t need to look far to find an anti-feminist, basking in their male-privilege, sharing their unwanted viewpoints: probably in every Facebook comment section ever. Yet it’s starting to feel different, it’s reflected in the solidarity from women and men the world over, the Women’s Marches, the pro-equality initiatives and social media campaigns. Time is up, there’s a strength in numbers, and there are more of us than ever ready to do what we need to do to put the times of inequality behind us.

Molly Deakin

Art by Marie Köhl. Find her on Instagram @marieonetten_tanz

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