It was a mumbled comment from a close friend, barely audible, but I heard it. I felt her words in every muscle of my body.
Her: We had sex last night.
Me: Did you want to?
Her: Not really. But he was getting frustrated that we hadn't so I did.
Mutual friend: That's call rape. He raped you.
Her: No. It's okay. I love him.
Me: Did you want to have sex or not?
Her: Not really.
What happened next was blurry. It involved high levels of emotion, lots of accusations, and lost friendships. Maybe we pushed her towards him even more. They eventually married, had kids, and separated themselves from the fraternity we were all members of and haven't really been heard from since.
I think about her a lot. Was I wrong to be so freaking angry at him for forcing her to have sex against her will? They would have eventually done it. But it was her first time and it was on his terms, not hers. Her entire experience of being a woman was wrapped up in his approval, what he wanted her to be. He owned her thoughts and behavior, and now he owned her body and her friends.
I can feel the rage building in my body even now, 25 years later.
I feel it when I see videos of women after being beaten by men. I feel it when I read comments about women who deserve to be raped for what they are wearing or where they are hanging out. I feel it when I see women give up their power to men. And even worse, when I see women put down other women for standing up for themselves or something as basic as how they look.
We talk a lot about what being a Goddess looks like. It always has something to do with yoga poses, flowers in the hair, beautiful beach sunsets, and chocolate. Add in oracle cards, essential oils, and candles, and call it a retreat and women will pay thousands of dollars to have that experience.
And I guess that is part of it. But what I see as being a Goddess is the part where we fiercely take a stand for women and children all around this world.
Where we accept other women for who they are and not what we want them to be.
Where we honor all bodies and all abilities.
Where we see ourselves in others.
Where we love all the pieces - even the ugly, hard to love parts.
Where we are willing to put our own bodies, livelihoods, and egos on the line to speak out for women who aren't able to speak up for themselves.
Being a goddess looks like this woman calling the cops on a man beating his girlfriend on a bus.
Being a goddess looks like this woman standing up for a Muslim woman wearing a hijab on the subway.
Being a goddess looks like this woman recording two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks being arrested for no reason.
Being a goddess is more than flower tiaras and sexy dresses. It is about using your voice to make the world a better place for everyone, not just those that look like you.