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We can't all be sluts.
We can't all be asking for it.
I am here to give you permission to be angry.
This reality might not have to be our reality anymore.
I felt this crushing sense of powerlessness.
This is the time to take my power back.
Here is my story.
I felt that it was my duty for the women who are silent to be brave.
It's ok to stand up for yourself.
People forget a lot that there is a human behind this, someone who was very hurt and wronged.
I always thought maybe things could change from my daughter.
I never thought things could change from me.
Honestly, I was furious.
I had had a man grope me in front of multiple colleagues,
and I was tired of wondering if it was something I wore,
I was tired of wondering if it was a vibe I was giving off.
And when I talked to other women, they were furious too.
I felt that if I can speak out, maybe if I just stand up,
then someone else will stand up with me.
There wasn't a place for us to report these experiences,
but I sure did talk about it a lot over the years.
The least I could do was actually tell my own story and validate theirs for them in a way,
just as I was hoping someone much bigger than me will help validate my story.
And I knew that other women would continue to apply for jobs there,
and that made me feel really uncomfortable.
I was afraid of the retaliation.
I know the power of patriarchy.
I know what men can do when they are angry.
They did everything that they could to prevent me from raising my concerns further.
They ask me if there were other girls,
maybe that he has done this, too and can I go get them?
I had to show them that I wasn't lying.
It's like they took me for a joke.
And if they couldn't stop us from talking,
well they were gonna stop everybody from listening to us.
People digging into my Instagram,
and you know pulling up sexy photos as if that kind of discredited me.
Well, I have seen you in committee, you're really tough.
Why didn't you just hit him?
Why did you let it go on for so long?
I was a smart young woman that gone to college that knew how to fight
and I still was manipulated and conned.
I felt ashamed that I hadn't spoken out sooner.
Not having the strength earlier on to make it stop.
That feeling of being humiliated as a woman
and there's a point you think is it my fault?
For so long, I went around harboring this ridiculous belief
that because I was a non-white woman in my 20s
that somehow it was expected that I would have to be treated this way.
We don't have to just live like this.
I always thought maybe things could change from my daughter.
I never thought things could change from me.
I am here to give you permission to be angry.
People are afraid, especially women were conditioned since birth to be polite.
To be nice.
To be kind.
To be liked.
To not make waves.
Bullshit!
We can't all be crazy, we can't all be sluts, we can't all be asking for it.
And I am telling you that all the people who stand up, all the people who speak out,
you are teaching people how to treat you
and you should not be shamed for that.
The shame is not ours to hold.
The shame is on the perpetrator.
Me too can be a conversation starter or it can be the whole conversation.
It took away the power from the predator and placed the power on the victim.
And maybe, just maybe we will be able to get a glimpse at the magnitude of this problem.
The amount of people sharing the stories with me is so intense.
People that were complete strangers reached out to tell very personal stories.
It's what they did with this hashtag and they did a lot
and not only in France, in Hong Kong, in Japan.
It's an international movement.
I feel like the day that I spoke up and I said you are a sexual harasser, I changed.
[Spanish] And to know that I was courageous in speaking
[Spanish] and saying what was happening,
[Spanish] in spite of all the dread and fear that I had.
It's an honor to be the person who can say that "Hey! I spoke up about this. I took on the risk."
And I was very humble and I was very proud.
I am very glad now that the story has been heard.
It's a direct response to that arrogance and that show of power and that bullying,
that says we won't be silenced.
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TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers | POY 2017 | TIME

34368 Folder Collection
Katharina Yang published on March 2, 2018    Katharina Yang translated    Ann reviewed
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