Too often we forget that there is a tremendous amount to be learned through the personal experiences of people at the frontlines. The doctors who exist in a constant state of precarity to the violent behavior of the anti-choice right, the activists who time after time face verbal abuse by the religious right as they raise awareness on self-determination, and the stigmitization of women who face such difficult decisions about the future of their own bodies. There is something to be learned from people in their every day struggles for justice. Listening to their narratives and carrying those intimate stories of liberation into our own activist work is so vital to achieving our goals.
I stumbled across a beautiful site the other day that was established as a memorial to the life work of Dr. George Tiller. The site consists of anonymous narratives that are submitted in honor of the work that Dr. Tiller did for women all over the country. It embarks on an investigation, at a conceptual level, of everyday practices by which people constantly shape and reshape their environment.
I read some of these stories and they honestly brought me to tears. Something that I found particularly interesting is the way that each narrative exists behind a level of anonymity. It provides a safe space for the powerful work of men and women every day without placing them in even more danger then they already exist.
Their stories are powerful. They really bring truth to the reality of our work here. What is it that we are fighting for? If your still asking yourself that question, I encourage you to read this site. We are fighting for justice, safety, dignity, agency, and the ability to be free from a patriarchal institution that wants less of us, a system that seeks to deny women’s right to sex education, reproductive freedom, health care, and self-determination.
This site is a mechanism for employing subjectivities and escaping discursive forms of domination. If the world of social networking is a place for raising consciousness, then we, as feminists, must claim this space as ours. Making our voices and our perspectives heard in a way that personalizes and destigmitizes abortion is one of the most effective ways to challenge the colonized mind that denies women choice.
There is an incredibly inspiring quote that I read on this site and wanted to share here, “Being an abortion provider is a privilege. You are given the opportunity to take part in a woman’s journey as she reclaims her body and her future. Regardless of her circumstances, the process is always one of great emotional intensity – sadness, relief, forgiveness, hope, love. The most meaningful experiences of my medical training have all taken place within an abortion clinic.”
What an incredible display of personal experience. I really enjoy this story because to me, it personalizes the process. It breaks down the pre-conceived notion that these decisions are some how easy and made without difficulty and struggle. This story exemplifies the transition from struggle into self-actualizition. That liberating moment where a women is finally free again.
This website is undeniably one of the best resources for strengthening your purpose and drive as we embark on the battle to reclaim our freedom and personhood. Learn from these narratives, because with each new experience there exists something new to learn about our struggle for choice.
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.