Let Your Voice Be Heard

Recently I was grading a stack of final papers for one of my classes, and I began to notice a common habit among some of my students. Female students, to be specific. Their writing style, format and content was more passive, tentative and cautious. Even the sentence structure and grammar was in the passive voice, burdened with apologetic qualifiers and caveats.

As I was reading them, I wanted to scream.

Claim your truth. Let your voice be heard. If you assert yourself boldly, you will not be corrupted by ego or arrogance. You will find yourself standing firmly on sacred soil.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever… And the speaking will get easier and easier.   –Audre Lorde