It’s been 12 months since an estimated 5 million people participated in 673 Women's Marches in cities on all seven continents, in a record breaking day of action to protest Donald Trump’s presidency and demand equal rights for all.
This year the Women’s Marches were held on January 20, 2018, with hundreds of thousands of women and allies attending rallies around the United States and in countries such as Canada, the UK, Italy and Japan, again protesting Trump’s first year in office.
But a lot has changed in 12 months. The #MeToo movement is helping women from all professions and walks of life share their stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment, forcing into the open what has for too long been our society's hidden, shameful epidemic. Hollywood’s shocking culture of sexual harassment has been exposed and the Time's Up campaign is harnessing the power of famous women to help support victims of sexual harassment in coming forward.
The viral moment of this year’s marches was the profoundly personal poem “A Story Like Mine,” written and performed by 23 year old singer Halsey. In the poem, Halsey shares her own experiences with sexual assault and her extraordinary honesty is inspiring even more women to share their own stories.
Read the full poem below.
It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying. Not really sure where I am, but I’m holding the hand of my best friend Sam in the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood. The air is sterile and clean The walls are that “not grey but green” And the lights are so bright they could burn a hole through the seam Of my jeans. And my phone is buzzing in the pocket. My mom is asking me If I remembered my keys Cause she’s closing the door and she needs to lock it. But I can’t tell my mom Where I’ve gone I can’t tell anyone at all You see my best friend Sam was raped by a man that we knew 'cause he worked In the after school program. And he held her down with her textbooks beside her And he covered her mouth and then he came... inside her. So now I’m with Sam At the place with a plan Waiting for the results of a medical exam And she’s praying she doesn’t need an abortion. She couldn’t afford it And her parents would “like totally kill her” It’s 2002 and my family just moved And the only people I know are my mom’s friend Sue And her son. He’s got a case of matchbox cars And he says that he’ll teach me to play the guitar If I just keep quiet And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 Will haunt me in my sleep For as long as I’m alive And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs But I must lie I must lie... It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy And I sleep in his bed and I just learned how to drive And he’s older than me And he drinks whisky neat And he’s paying for everything, (The adult thing is not cheap) We’ve been fighting a lot Almost 10 Times a week. And he wants to have sex And I just want to sleep He says I can’t say no to him That this much I owe to him He buys my dinners, so I have to blow him And he’s taken to forcing me down on my knees I’m confused cause he’s hurting me while he says “please” And “he’s only a man," and these things he “just needs” He’s my boyfriend So why am I filled with unease? It’s 2017 and I live like a queen And I’ve followed damn near every one of my dreams I’m invincible! and I’m so fucking naive... I believe I’m protected cause I live on a screen Nobody would dare act that way around me. I have earned my protection, eternally clean... 'Til a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants But I don’t want none of that? I just wanted to dance? And I wake up the next morning like I’m in a trance And there’s blood My blood... Is that my blood? Wait hol-hold on a minute. You see I’ve worked every day since I was 18. I’ve toured every where from Japan to Mar a Lago, I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage. I mean I pied the piper! I put on a diaper! And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS HAPPENED TO ME? You can’t put your hands on me? You don’t know what my body has been through. I’m supposed to be safe now I’ve earned it. It's 2018, and I’ve realized That nobody is safe long as she is alive And every friend that I know Has a story like mine. And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment. But then heroes like Ashley and Simone and Gabby McKayla and Gaga, Rosario, Ali. Remind me this is the beginning it’s not the finale. And that’s why we're here, and that’s why we rally. It’s Olympians and a medical resident And not one fucking word from the man who is president It’s about closed doors And secrets and legs in stilettos From the Hollywood Hills to the projects and ghettos When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers; and child brides cry globally under the covers Who don’t have a voice on the magazine covers And you can’t walk anywhere if your legs aren’t covered They tell us take cover... But we are not free until all of us are free. So love your neighbor Please treat her kindly Ask her her story Then shut up and listen Black Asian poor wealthy Trans Cis Muslim Christian Listen. Listen. And then YELL AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues, for the people who had to grow up way too young, there is work to be done there are songs to be sung, Lord knows there’s a war to be won.