Welcome to those who were treated as invisible, or problematic, or too much, or not enough. Welcome to those who were told they couldn’t, and to those who were asked to leave. Welcome to those who were told not to show weakness, and to the boys who dared to cry. Welcome to those who had to let a part of themselves go to be ‘quiet and gentle’. Welcome to those who were taken as someone else’s. Welcome to those who need somewhere safe, yesterday. Welcome to those whose hurt is hidden. Welcome to those who were grabbed or touched or used or abused, and welcome to those who were neglected or silenced because they were a ‘she’. To those who have been called names, told to get back in the kitchen, or been their threatened: welcome. Welcome to those who know they are more than their bodies and to those who are getting to know their bodies as theirs for the first time. Welcome to those who refuse to work for free from mid-November. Welcome to those who know the labels of slut, whore, prude, and frigid are not theirs to wear. Welcome to you.

Welcome to those who feel the fire in their spirits roar when she is treated as though she is less-than. Welcome to those whose hearts beat faster when they see others do well. And oh, welcome to the helpers, the cheerleaders, the ones who help others flourish. Welcome to those who are lending their voices to those who have none. Welcome to those who burn their bras and those who are never without. Welcome to those who listen carefully to other voices. Welcome to those who were born to lead and to those who affirm their leadership. Welcome to you.

Welcome to those who challenge harmful norms and to those who change the law. Welcome to those who know that their lives are inextricably linked with those of their sisters around the world. Welcome to those who create respectful billboards and TV ads. Welcome to those who are working to end the violence against her and welcome to those who are removing price tags from priceless bodies, to those who are forging the keys to the cage that she is trapped in. Welcome to those who write about women as if they were real people. Welcome to those who petition for change. Welcome to those who are getting her clean water and good education. Welcome to those who champion single mothers and orphans and the ones we so easily ignore. Welcome to the Malalas who take risks and the Teresas who care and the Joans who surprise. Welcome to those who teach girls to be brave and strong and smart, and who teach boys to respect them. Welcome to you.

Welcome to those who are #LeaningIn and to those who are #HeForShe. To the men who’ve got her back and who lay aside privilege. Welcome to those who recognise that sexism benefits no-one. Welcome to those who share platforms and know she can do more than make a good cup of tea. Welcome to those who make space for Her to thrive. Welcome to all those who celebrate the truth that We Are (wonderfully and fearfully) Equal. Welcome to those who invite her to the table when she’s dragging her feet. Welcome to those who Ask her More. Welcome to those who challenge and refuse to be a part of objectification and abuse. Welcome to those who show her the things she can’t yet see. Welcome to you.

Welcome to those who are picking up hammers and hairbrushes, pens and computers, judges’ robes and neurosurgeons’ scrubs. Welcome to those who honour those who have come before and pave the way for those who will come after.  Welcome to those who raise confident girls and brave boys. Welcome to the ones who show up and to those who won’t settle for less. Welcome to those who are breaking glass-ceilings. Welcome to those who keep putting one foot in front of the other when it’s an uphill climb. Welcome to the prophets and visionaries who dream of a better future, and to those who make it happen. Welcome to those who take risks and learn from their mistakes. Welcome to those who are breaking out of boxes that were far too small. Welcome to those who are creating safe spaces for all and welcome to those who are taking up space. Welcome to those who are finding their voices again and for the first time. Welcome to those who cheer from the bleachers and those who fight in the ring. Welcome to you.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, here is your welcome to join the movement. To no longer fear ‘the f-word’. To proudly wear your badge and do your bit. To find your patch and to work hard. To know that you are not alone. To remember that things are moving. To remember that you matter. To remember that you have value. Welcome.


One thought on “Welcome

  1. Hello Gemma ruth…beautiful. Times are changing, unfortunately too slowly!
    There will be many more brutal deaths before violence against women will be a thing of the past, if ever. We can only continue, as women and men who support women, to keep giving out the message of protest and hope in the younger generations.
    Thank you.
    Regards. Marie.

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