When I first heard about the OW movement, it was in regards to them asking to be admitted to the Priesthood session of General Conference in Fall of 2013. At the time, there was a lot of backlash, but I was not as quick to give in to the “OH THEY’RE BEING DIFFERENT, LET’S HATE THEM” aspect of it all.
After some research, I felt a few ways:
My heart goes out to the women who are struggling with their worth and place in God’s eyes.
I applaud the way these women are not afraid of asking questions.
Life is all about perspective. Yesterday, I went to a Peace Forum that talked about survivors of sexual assault and how the culture is different here in the bubble that is Utah. A woman came and spoke, Dr. Niwako Yamawaki, who is a psychology professor at BYU. She did a really good job and had some really interesting research on sexual assault and rape. It’s kind of a heavy topic and I pretty much always leave feeling heavier when these things are discussed, but it was really good for me to hear.
Some of you may know that my plan in life is to do humanitarian work, mainly for women, so going and listening to people tell their stories was almost surreal. Of course, we’ve all read about these horror stories, but to see real people sharing their real stories, was scary! Dr. Yamawaki shared some statistics, one of which was that 31% of reported sexual assaults in Utah are those committed by family members of the victim.
My mother works in criminal law and as I was telling her about how it felt to hear all the stories, she told me how to work in this kind of environment, you really have to remove yourself emotionally. I’ve always been extremely empathetic, so trying to look at everything clinically and not let it upset me…I thought I would be able to do it, but after last night, I’m not so sure.
There are so many people struggling out there. I feel so fortunate to be where I am, and I asked my father yesterday why it is that I have all that I do while other people are struggling all around. He said something interesting, that I believe–something along the lines of “some people are prepared to help other people.”