The rage women have against abusers is real. We have the power to come forward and say ‘This happened to me.’
If you’ve ever seen Margaret Cho’s stand-up act, you know she turns controversial, sometimes dark subjects on end with humor. Exploring cultures and stereotypes, race, gender and sexuality, she is often crude, irreverent and provocative.
She is also a sexual assault survivor, which she has been up front about for some time. Almost a year ago, she started a Twitter campaign encouraging survivors to speak out (scroll down for more about this). This week (Sept. 2, 2015), she spoke extensively about her experience in an interview with Billboard Magazine. Her comments are honest and insightful, making for an excellent article.
Cho’s commitment to connecting with and empowering survivors is born out of her own experience of suffering in silence. She endured years of sexual abuse, having been molested by a family friend from age 5 to 12; raped by another acquaintance at age 14; and repeatedly raped through her teen years.
Sadly, she had very little support. Her traditional Korean family avoided talking about it. Her classmates severely bullied and shamed her. She was effectively silenced and alone in dealing with the confusion and range of emotions she felt. It was only in her 20s, when she sought counseling, that she was able to understand and cope the multiple traumas and after effects.
In recent years, she has added song writer and musician to her repertoire. And she has something to say, as evidenced in one song, entitled “I Want to Kill My Rapist.”
On Twitter: Survivor Empowerment and Solidarity
In a series of tweets, which later included #ibelieveyou, in addition to #tellyourstory, she encouraged all sexual assault survivors to tell someone what was done to them, whether publicly on social media or privately to someone they trust, instead of suffering alone. Read more here.
Selected Interview Quotes
“I had a very long-term relationship with this abuser, which is a horrible thing to say. I didn’t even understand it was abuse, because I was too young to know…”
“I was raped continuously through my teenage years, and I didn’t know how to stop it. It was also an era where young girls were being sexualized. For me, I think I had been sexually abused so much in my life that it was hard for me to let go of anger, forgive or understand what happened.”
“I’m a victim and now a survivor of sexual abuse and rape, and I think it’s really hard to talk about it. I think having a song to perform live will allow others to talk about it. It’s a huge issue, and this was cathartic for me.”
“But all I have is ownership of my own suffering. I can take that and explain it in a way that helps resolve it. But I often think, ‘How do I have sanity? How do I bring justice?’ I kind of save myself through it.”