“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
-Anne Lamott

It’s been an intense couple of weeks, as I have grappled with a plethora of emotions in relation to my navigating the million and a half things I am committed to, as well as my deciphering, and relating with my thoughts, on the tragic events that the world has witnessed over the last couple of weeks.

There is a 23-year old young woman out there, whose life experience has been violently shaped by patriarchy and the privilege in affords men, particularly, white men. I am not interested in further engaging with the animalistic, gruesome, ugly, disgusting, and sickening character and mind of this sexual assailant, rapist and those characters who support him, but more so want to talk about the judicial, political and societal consequences of unequal relations of gender power which continue to treat women as second class citizens.

My heart broke to pieces with each and every single word I read in the 15-page heart wrenching letter that this young women wrote to the judge and the assailant. With so much have been mentally, physically and emotionally robbed from her, through her recount of what she has experienced since the assault, it’s clear that this young girls life will never be the same. Her voice was robbed from her in such a way that no individual should ever have to experience, and to have to justify your pain and why it remains valid, to a judge who ultimately rules on a six-month jail sentence, is traumatizing to say the least.

Patriarchy remains unquestioned, unmovable and legitimized, as a particular class of men in society continue to privilege from it. I am convinced of the patriarchal boys club that engages men who come from a particular socioeconomic, educational, familial background, and protects them and shields them from the consequences of their own actions. It is a club whose membership is not afforded to everyone, and one which protects itself and stands its ground no matter the number of calls from those who remain talking outside of it.

Women and minority men who do not conform to or by birth carry this particular brand of masculinity, too not not benefit from it. It is a masculinity that this young women addresses in her letter where surrounded by a powerful band of attorney’s and lawyer’s this rapist could brand and re-brand the story as he so wished to do. It’s a masculinity and a patriarchal boys club that accepts it’s own, excuses it’s own and saves it’s own. It’s white. It’s rich. It’s male.

A couple of weeks back, a friend of mine, on her Facebook page shared these words, “I will applaud you for breaking the barriers of patriarchy.” We need more individuals who are going to stand up to break the barriers of patriarchy. Individuals who are not ashamed, who are not afraid, to rally against any forms of injustices that are perpetuated a a result of patriarchal norms. We need an army of women and men who are hungry to defeat this patriarchal masculinity that so often dismantles lives, and hearts and souls, and does so without consequence.

This letter heart wrenching, and so very sad, but is also the most powerful to educate and to inform. In the last paragraph of the letter, this brave young woman writes, “And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”Let us all be brave as we rally against forms of oppression and injustice rampant in our society. Let us all commit to change as we stand as lighthouses, daily transforming our world.