This paper was inspired by the author’s experiences teaching a required class about feminism to affluent, predominantly female undergraduates who vociferously considered it outdated and irrelevant to their lives until they realized, in painfully personal ways, that this was the dominant discourse speaking, not their own voices. Inspired by these women, and in the hope of further displacing the hegemonically imposed code of silence, this paper breaks the author’s tacit complicity with these societal forces of repression. Written on a bus from Boston to New York, the author weaves her narrative with a description of that trip and its passengers, combining imagery and psychological interpretation to reveal her personal journey into the intersection of the social politics that shape and control the legitimacy, experiences, and representation of women’s stories, exploring how these forces are resisted and negotiated, embodied and survived, silenced and voiced.
Sexual abuse is not an isolated phenomenon or private event. It is woven into our social fabric. It is a public issue. It is our anger and our outrage, not our silence, that will hold society accountable and provoke change.