On the night of May 25, 2014, I curled up in bed and waited to die.

My Twitter mentions were bursting with reasons why I should. I was a man-hater. I was a rabid feminist. I was capitalizing on a tragedy. I was a terrorist in sheep’s clothing. I was a hypocrite. There were many that had creatively utilized a 140-character limit to fantasize about particularly creative ends for me.

What I’d asked for.

What I deserved to have done to me.

What they wanted to do to me.

I was a Muslim woman who had dared to start a viral hashtag that laid out the fears women faced – while men shamed and accused them of generalizing against an entire gender for the sins of a perceived few.

I was the creator of #YesAllWomen, and in that moment, I had no idea what the morning would bring me.

And I wasn’t sure if I wanted to wake up and see.

“#YesAllWomen is trending. Thank you so much, everyone. Your feelings are valid. Our feelings are valid.”

@gildedspine, May 24, 2014 – 2:58 P.M.

On the afternoon of May twenty-fourth, a young man named Eliot Rodger armed his male entitlement with a weapon and left several innocents to await identification in body bags.

On the same afternoon, a serial rapist was let out on parole – against the advice of his own psychiatrists, in the face of united protests and fears and dread – into a small Californian town. One of the women interviewed in response was herself a rape survivor. She was shuddering. She was crying.

When I read her words, I cried, too.

And I was angry.

I know the realities of the world I live in. As a Muslim woman, as a woman of color – as a woman in general. Our bodies are hated – even as they are coveted and leered after and broken by greedy, grasping, unworthy hands. We are told to dress up, dress down, we deserve it, we should smile, that was a compliment, don’t frown at me, don’t block me, are you listening to me?

Source and rest: On #YesAllWomen, One Year Later

Piece by Kaye M. Kaye M. is an English major and MLIS hopeful, and a former member of the We Need Diverse Books campaign team. When she is not advocating diversity and feminism online, she is hard at work on adding her voice to the growing list of authors within the Muslim YA canon and obsessing over tea, magical girls, Studio Ghibli, and lip colors.

(Excerpt etc. first posted on feimineach.com. Orig. attribution above.)

women's stories: On #YesAllWomen, One Year Later