Opening a Dialogue About Sexual Assault

By Alexis Charles

Last Friday Jezebel posted an article entitled “Stanford Student Compares Rape to Not Locking Up a Bike.” In the article, Jezebel reports on and criticizes statements made by two male undergraduates, one from Stanford and another from Harvard. The Stanford student cited claims that women should be doing more to protect themselves from sexual assault, and that men assume an unfair share of the burden.

He reportedly said, “Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness. Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad? We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”   

Bloggers from across the Internet picked up the story and lamented its shortsighted and entitled assumptions. If our social networks are any indication, many students at Stanford feel embarrassed and angry that such a statement has been attributed to a student at our university. It reflects poorly on all of us, and it should concern us to know that our peers and neighbors are thinking about sexual assault in these terms.

The statement is certainly alarming. A woman’s body is not a piece of property, and she shouldn’t be made to feel she lives in a world in which this “property” can be taken.

The student who made the comments, Chris Herries, issued a reply in The Stanford Daily stating that his views were “grossly misrepresented.” Herries’ claims that he never meant to suggest that women’s bodies are like property and that sexual assault was akin to theft. Herries also insists that he never condones victim-blaming. In his reply he refers to his other articles in The Daily that he says more accurately represent his views. In “Victim Blaming” and “Victim Blaming Problem,” Herries suggests that there is a contradiction between practical preventative safety measures on campus and the sole culpability of a sexual assailant. He argues that outreach programs that provide training and tips about how to avoid sexual assault are “implying that sexual assault is preventable by the survivor. If [organizations like the WCC and the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Office] were to teach safety measures, then they’re essentially saying that two parties are at fault in assault cases.”

We appreciate Herries’ efforts to clarify his opinions. While we have significant qualms with his position, our intention in this post is not to continue targeting Herries.

The point of view that there are two parties “at fault” in sexual assault cases, even if taken out of context in the Jezebel article, is not an aberration. Victim-blaming is a distressingly common occurrence on college and university campuses across the United States.

Acknowledging the insidious reach of victim-blaming, Jezebel’s article, among others, questions why such statements are even published in the first place. Relating such views on sexual assault, the author of the Jezebel piece argues, legitimates them.

However, some of us at the WCC want to suggest that publishing problematic statements about sexual assault isn’t all bad and doesn’t necessarily legitimate them. Comments like these remind us that there is still a crucial need for a larger conversation about sexual assault, victim-blaming, and accountability. Only by getting opinions like these aired we can directly address them and dismantle them. It doesn’t do anyone any good to censor the men who understand themselves to be oppressed. Rather, we should listen and do our best to explain why analogies like these are destructive and misleading. Ultimately, we want men to understand that being vigilant about sexual assault isn’t a mechanism for their oppression, but for everyone’s liberation, and that men have nothing to fear from a system that only wants to ensure consent from all parties involved.

What if instead of condemning male students who feel unfairly burdened we asked them questions about their views and probed them for deeper answers? What if we hold a very real dialogue about personal responsibility, respect, and consent? What if we talked with them about these issues and about gender oppression, about women everywhere who are being reduced to objects who are there for the taking—like money on the ground—when they’re incapacitated? Women shoulder the burden of confronting sexual assault and harassment every day. This isn’t immediately obvious to some. But we can help to make it so.

Changing male culture is key to ameliorating rape culture. Men can be feminist allies, and changing hearts and minds requires a lot of listening and patient explanation. No one student is responsible for perpetuating pernicious masculinist culture, and every voice has a right to be heard. After all, for every one comment published many more are made. Let’s address the issue instead of silencing it.

 Many thanks to my WCC colleagues Annie Atura and Mackenzie Cooley for their thoughtful input on this post.

To read more about these issues, check out Stanford student and former WCC staff member Sarah Roberts’ powerful piece 15 Reasons Why #YesAllWomen Matters!

15 Reasons Why #YesAllWomen Matters

By Sarah Roberts

TW: Misogyny/ Sexual Violence/ Transmisogyny

1. Because approximately 158 sexual assaults have been committed against women in the United States in the two hours it took me to write this.

2. Because 43% of queer women are survivors of sexual violence.

3. Because almost three-quarters (72%) of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67%) were transgender women of color

4. Because Stanford has a history of not expelling students found guilty of rape, and survivors have to share a campus with their rapists all over the country.

5. Because I can’t kiss another woman in public without being stared at, catcalled, and harassed.

6. Because I can’t exist in public without being stared at, catcalled, and harassed.

7.Because saying I have a boyfriend is the easiest way to get a man to leave me alone; he respects the idea of another man’s “property” more than he respects my agency.

8. Because I received a rape whistle for Christmas when I was sixteen.

9. Because when I saw a girl stumbling around alone at Sasquatch, someone told me to just leave her because he “didn’t think she was gonna be okay, but whatever, it’s fine.”

10. Because when I realized that same girl could be entering an overdose and brought her to the medical tent, the medic cared more about the fact that I was topless than the fact that a girl could be dying.

11. Because we don’t owe men anything–not our phone numbers, our bodies, or our agency.

12. Because when I told my 7th grade teacher I was being sexually harassed by another student, she told me I needed to learn how to get along with people.

13. Because four days after the Isla Vista shooting, I spent two hours in a classroom being told gender based violence wasn’t real, and feminists need to stop talking about it.

14. Because the first people I told about my sexual assault said, “me too.”

15. Because even if you do not harass, rape, or abuse, you are complicit and even culpable every time you silence us or remain silent yourselves. Because if you are tired of hearing about misogyny, imagine how tired we are of living in it.

Sending our Prayers to Nigeria

By Maggie Cremin

Following the kidnapping of the young women from Chibok, located in Borno State in Nigeria, there has been a worldwide response. However, this is not the first terrorist attack that the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has perpetrated. For years, there have been numerous public attacks in locations varying from religious institutions, government offices, public markets, bus stops, and schools. The attacks have been predominantly in the northeast of Nigeria, but have spread more recently to other states including Abuja, the capital city. WHY NOW!? Why is the international community just turning its attention to the atrocities being committed in Nigeria now? Last night the Stanford Women’s Community Center, SASA, CAS, SABF, MSAN, NAACP, ISSU, NAIJA,* and Stanford students from Nigeria hosted an event to shed light on what is happening in Nigeria. Professors and students shared facts about Nigeria’s history and the events that have taken place. But they also created a space for students and members of the Stanford community to reflect on what has happened in Nigeria and the attacks that continue to occur.

Students highlighted that anyone in the room could have been born in northeast Nigeria. We could have been one of the girls kidnapped, one of the family members, one of the victims. With this perspective, we reflected on what we could do in response to such horrid and inhumane attacks. Most importantly, we want to look to the Nigerian people for guidance and draw attention to their positive efforts to support the families who are victims of these various attacks. In addition, we should be sensitive to the complexity of the situation and not make fleeting or generalizing statements about Islam, terror, rape, trafficking or gender.

Feelings of anger, sadness, and hope were shared. Anger that there has been so little response by the Nigerian government and the international community. The Nigerian president did not release an official response to the April 14th kidnappings until May 4th. President Obama did not release a response until May 6th. Now there are even more questions of why? Why did it take so long? What is going to happen now? Sadness for all the death and lost well-being, the fear that the people must live with and the hurt they hold in their hearts for lost loved ones. But nonetheless we still hold hope. Last night’s event was a great example of hope, love, and support. People want to find a way to help our sisters and brothers in Nigeria.

But how? Is the reoccurring question. What I learned last night was that the first step is educating yourself about the situation. 1) What are the facts? For example, the #BringBackOurGirls was started by Nigerian women, not an American woman. 2) What are the motivations for giving aid now? The United States often offers aid to a country in order to gain access to their natural resources, especially oil. 3) Talk about the event with peers, a professor, a friend and find a way to show your support.

We send our support to the Nigerian people that they may stay strong and continue to make positive changes.

*Updated 5/27

Beyond Lip-Service Inclusivity

By Sarah Roberts

As Trans Awareness Week comes to a close, we at the WCC would like to take some time to reflect on allyship and inclusivity. In her introduction of keynote speaker Laverne Cox, Violet Trachtenberg, a Stanford Students for Queer Liberation organizer, spoke about the cultural climate at Stanford towards trans issues. Stanford and Stanford students are rarely outright violent or hostile towards trans students. At the same time, our campus culture of apathy is palpable. Among students, allyship is often viewed as the absence of discriminatory behaviors, rather than intentional action and lifestyle. On the university level, with no gender-neutral locker rooms in the new gym and minimal gender neutral housing options, Stanford does not do enough to actively make trans students feel included.

Lea DeLaria, an actress best known for her portrayal of Big Boo on Orange is the New Black, has recently withdrawn her participation from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, citing the festival’s exclusion of trans women as the reason. The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival has a strict “womyn-born womyn” policy, which only allows people assigned female at birth to attend. Unfortunately, situations like this are not uncommon, even and sometimes especially in the feminist community.

At her talk last night, actress and activist Laverne Cox spoke about how we in marginalized groups can often begin to police and subjugate other marginalized individuals due to internalized oppression and the stress that accompanies abuse. The feminist community is no exception, having historically oppressed and/ or ignored women of color, trans women, queer women, etc. Especially given this history, it is vital that feminist communities consciously act to bring people in. This means including all female-identified people in women’s spaces, and going further by actively creating spaces that are trans inclusive through intentional language. It means going further than just adding buzzwords (e.g. “especially women of color”) to sentences that primarily speak to the experiences of cis heterosexual white women. It means considering the unique experiences of women of color, differently abled, low income women, and queer women. It means going further than inclusivity to make the experiences of these women central to the movement, not an afterthought or a token side note. Only when we consider and value the diverse experiences of all women can we possibly achieve the liberation of any women.   Image

White House Task Force Recommendations and Stanford’s Take Back the Night: Remembering to Listen and to Act

Yesterday the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released its first document of recommendations to universities as well as launched a new website and public service announcement. The Task Force, created on January 22, 2014 by President Obama after several high-profile reports of university mishandling of sexual assault cases, encourages schools to develop a survey that will accurately measure the extent of sexual assault on campus and determine where the school could better comply with Title IX. The report put out by the Task Force also suggests several methods for improving a school’s response to reports of sexual assault or relationship abuse, such as creating trauma training for university employees and campus and local police authorities so that they can better respond and aid survivors without further traumatizing them, and they also recommend providing confidential personnel for survivors to talk to and seek advice from who know about Title IX or alternative review processes.
Though the report released yesterday are recommendations and therefore may not have the same legal force as a law would, its practical suggestions for aiding survivors and holding perpetrators accountable, created in part by many meetings with schools and survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, demonstrates a commitment to listening to the voices of those who have been most impacted by gender violence. Their website, “Not Alone,” reflects survivors’ calls for more clarity and further understanding of victims’ rights. Their one-minute public service announcement includes celebrities like Steve Carell and Daniel Craig as well as Biden and Obama who speak out against violence against women, encouraging bystander action and demonstrating the necessity of men’s involvement in the cause to end such violence.
I was incredibly moved by and am so grateful for the stories shared by friends, acquaintances, and strangers last night at Stanford’s Take Back the Night. The silent march and following gathering of students in the Black Community Services Center demonstrated both the need for further awareness and bystander action as well as the importance of trained university respondents. The march, organized by a student committee headed by the SARA Office‘s student intern, provided several personnel on the sidelines for people to talk to throughout the event if they were triggered or just wanted to talk. At the end of the night, I was again so grateful to have shared the space with friends and peers, and reminded again of what prevalent issues sexual assault and relationship abuse are. We as a community must continue to listen to the voices of survivors, to not take part in victim-blaming, and to pressure our university to continually improve its resources and response to survivors. The White House Task Force provides the recommendations and an educational website, but as a community made up of individuals and individual actions, we must remember to all take responsibility for the culture we help create, and use our position as students to leverage for more resources and communication between the university and students.

To Daisy Coleman

By Tori Lewis
**Trigger Warning for Discussions of Sexual Assault (and its aftermath), Suicide, and Bullying**

I wrote this blog post several months ago but never got the courage to post it.  After Take Back the Night yesterday evening, I finally feel like it’s time to put these words out there.

I honestly don’t even know what to say.  But saying nothing is what got us here.  So here it goes.

Daisy Coleman attempted suicide this weekend. 2 years ago, when she was 14, a young man sexually assaulted her and then left her outside of her house, alone, bruised, and intoxicated, in freezing temperatures. 1 year ago, the system failed to seek justice for the crime that was committed.

Daisy Coleman is an incredibly strong young woman.  Don’t just take my word for it… Read HER words.  She is without a doubt incredibly brave.  She’s been stronger than any human should reasonably be expected to be over the course of their lives and she is still oh-so-young.

There is something so fundamentally broken with our society and we can’t let it continue a single second longer.  There are lives at stake.  Young girls, with so much potential and light and spark, are being broken down by a system that is utterly failing to protect them.  And then those around them are failing to listen to their words, treat them with respect, and allow them the peace to figure out what this all means for THEM.

It’s hard for me to do anything right now besides cry.  It’s hard to remember how breathing works when each breath doesn’t feel choked.

I’m gonna be honest with you.  I feel utterly wrecked by this.  So wrecked that writing a coherent blog post seems trivial and nonchalant and nowhere near worthy of all the things that Daisy deserves from this world.  What happened to her makes me physically ill — and I’m being sincere.  The night after I found out about her recent suicide attempt, I couldn’t remember what human bodies were supposed to feel like.  My body no longer felt like mine… Or I should say, it again felt like it wasn’t mine.  Because I know what it’s like to be there and feel like not only were you utterly violated (which really is far too tame a word but I don’t know that my vocabulary contains one strong enough), but no one seemed to understand it and everyone seemed to want a reason for it not to be true.

I am not Daisy Coleman.  Not all rape victims are the same.  Her trauma is different from mine and her aftermath was different from mine and her path towards healing will be different from mine.

I stand with Daisy Coleman.  I stand with Rehtaeh Parsons.  I stand with Cherice Moralez.  I stand with every young girl whose name we will never know who has been sexually assaulted and then made to feel like they were the ones who were carrying the blame.  You’re not.  And you never will be.  It’s not your crime.

It feels like an unspeakable trauma, I know.  But speech is here.  And sometimes the words that come out will be a string of expletives that don’t make any sense and don’t even really make you feel any better.  Sometimes the words will be rejected by those who hear them because they’re too selfish or ignorant or cruel to hear them.  Sometimes the words will be you quietly reminding yourself to breathe in and out and in and out and in and out until your lungs feel like yours again.  And sometimes the words will be the exact right ones and the right time and a little piece of your healing will click into place.

At least that’s how it is for me.  I don’t know how it is for you.  But I do know that I’m sorry and that there are people who are here to listen if you’re ready to talk.

Daisy Coleman is a brave and brilliant girl.  What happened to her was wrong.  But it didn’t just happen.  Someone committed a crime.  That person was not named Daisy.

Add Your Piece

AddYourPiece

By Maggie Cremin

This year, the theme of the Stanford Women’s Leadership Conference is “Add Your Piece: Redefining Success Individually.” Our thought process was that there is no longer just one definition of success. For example, success does not only have to be defined by making lots of money and having a big house and a nice car and being able to provide for one’s family and be the breadwinner. In today’s world success can also be defined by making a difference in someone’s life, improving a community by giving it access to better resources, or it could also be raising one’s children to be good, caring, thoughtful citizens.

The goal of the conference in my mind is to show women that there are infinite ways to be successful, they can be physicists, mercenaries, doctors, CEOs, diplomats, activists etc. (the list goes on and on). Personally I sometimes felt that I could only be successful if I became a doctor or took a position in a male dominated field (such as government). But now, I feel that I can be successful in any field that I am passionate about because I can use my passion and talents to make a difference in that field and help people by contributing to that field.

My hope for the SWLC is that aspiring leaders learn that there are infinite role models to look to for inspiration in creating her/his own path to success. Add your piece to the growing list of incredible women leaders!

To learn more about the SWLC visit our website at: swlc2014.weebly.com

Football, Fandom, and (a lack of) Feminism

By Monica Chin and Annie Kaufman

Super Bowl Sunday, which attracts an estimated 110 million viewers, is one of the most significant days for advertisers nationwide. This means the biggest companies, flashiest advertisements, and most hype. Fueling the conversation about representation of women in these ads, The Representation Project started the #NotBuyingIt trend on Twitter during Super Bowl 2012. The goal was to critique the depiction of women in these multi-million dollar campaigns. This year, The Representation Project came back swinging with their #NotBuyingIt app, which allows users to document sexist portrayals of women in advertising and send direct messages to companies protesting this destructive imagery. The hashtag was used more than 15,000 times during the Super Bowl, attesting both to the widespread use of sexism in advertising and the frustration of viewers across the country. Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 2.47.14 PMWhile such activism advances the fight against sexist advertising, sexism is still rampant and widespread, especially during the Super Bowl. Some companies toned down their blatant sexism this year, but they still rely on shock and insensitivity. GoDaddy avoided the striptease scene, instead choosing to objectify hairless and heavyset men while showcasing its spokesperson, Danica Patrick, in a fake weightlifter body. After Volkswagen implied that female engineers essentially don’t exist, there seemed to be little hope for feminism in this year’s crop of Super Bowl advertisements. Thankfully, one glimmer of hope for feminist advertising remained in the GoldieBlox toy company ad, which encourages young girls to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). While their ad attempts to inspire girls to be more than just princesses, some still critique it for telling girls what and what not to do/play with. The other sad truth is that the GoldieBlox ad is the first ever advertisement by a small business in the Super Bowl, a spot obtained through a contest put on by Intuit to support small businesses. The reality is that big media attention is out of reach for most. Out of a plethora of advertisements showcased this Sunday, the only one that was arguably feminist was produced by a small business, not one of the monopolizing companies that rule the media. While this year’s Super Bowl and responses to it created some hope for progress, representation of women in media has a long way to go.Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 2.49.29 PM

Let’s Talk About Birth Control

by Sarah Roberts

Today, one of our staff members entered the WCC moaning tales of uterine woes. In our infinite spirit of staff love and solidarity, we overwhelmed her with suggestions about how to appease the menstrual forces. This eventually led to a room-wide conversation about contraception–complete with stories, IUD-evangelizing, and health provider references.

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Some days, the uterus is not feeling so cuterus.

Unfortunately, conversations like these do not happen enough. Sex negativity and shaming promote a culture of silence about safe sex and contraceptive methods. Birth control is a surprisingly contentious issue given that so many people need it. Birth control doesn’t just help prevent pregnancy (though that is in itself a necessary and basic health issue), it also helps persons with uteri deal with medical conditions like painful periods, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the interest of fostering dialogue, here is your quick and dirty guide to birth control:

  • Oral contraceptive pills are one of the most well known form of birth control. The pill works by releasing hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and the eggs from being fertilized. It needs to be taken daily and is highly effective when taken on schedule. It is also used by many people to lessen the wrath of the great Ovum (i.e. it regulates periods by making them lighter, shorter, and/or less frequent)
  • Ortho-Evra Patch is essentially a hormone-lace bandaid that is stuck on the skin to prevent pregnancy.
  • Implanon Implant involves the insertion of a hormonal rod into the arm. It is highly effective and lasts for three years.
  • NuvaRing is a small bendable ring that is visually reminiscent of the swaggin’ rubber bracelets you saw in middle school. Except instead of putting it on your wrist, you insert it in your vagina. It is very effective, convenient, and low hormone, but it can be expensive without insurance.
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Just for emphasis

  • Depo-Provera is an injection of medroxyprogesterone given once every 12 weeks. It is important to keep in mind that there is a FDA black box warning regarding bone density, so many doctors do not recommend it except in special circumstances.
  • Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small t-shaped device containing progestin that is inserted by a clinician. It can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired, but otherwise it lasts for at least 5 years. Like the birth control pill, this IUD can be used to regulate periods.
  • Copper 7 Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device inserted into the uterus by a clinician.  It is a highly effective method of birth control that is good for 10 years, and highly recommendable to those weary of hormones. At the same time, it may increase vaginal bleeding.
  • Male and Female Condoms prevent sperm from reaching the egg. A major advantage is they also protect against HIV and some STIs. Even if you are not having sex that can result in pregnancy, condoms and other barrier methods are an important means of protecting against diseases.

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  • Spermicides are gels, creams and foam can be used in conjunction with the male condom, or they can be used alone for birth control. The sponge, cervical cap and diaphragm keep the spermicide near the cervical opening. But, as Miley Cyrus so eloquently put it, nobody’s perfect. They are not very effective when used alone and they may cause irritation of the male and female genitals, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
  • Diaphragms are rubber, dome-shaped devices placed into the vagina to hold spermicide around the cervix. The cervical cap fits directly on the cervix. Both are used with spermicide, require female involvement only, and can be inserted ahead of time for those nights when you know you’re tryna.
  • Emergency Contraception (i.e. Plan B) can be taken up to 72 hours after an unprotected encounter. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
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Your reproductive system on emergency contraception.

  • Rhythm Method requires that one calculates one’s fertility cycle and abstains from intercourse during ovulation. This is fairly effective for persons with regular cycles.
  • Sterilization is a permanent method of preventing pregnancy.  It works by blocking the tubes that carry the sperm or egg.
  • Abstinence means that you choose to not be sexually active. If strictly adhered to, it is a free and effective method of preventing pregnancy, STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV.

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Here at Stanford, there are several resources for students to obtain contraceptives. Barrier methods like the male and female condom, as well as dental dams, are available at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC). Students can also reach out to Birth Control Peer Educators to discuss their different options. To compare options on your own, try visiting this website. Birth control prescriptions can be obtained at Vaden Health Center, where emergency contraception (like Plan B) is also available without a prescription.

Diaphragms, sponges, birth control pills, vaginal rings, IUDS, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, and education/ counseling are all covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Want to learn more? Come to the WCC on Thursday February 6 and Thursday February 13 at noon for the Vagina Dialogues, an opportunity to talk with a gynecologist about your healthcare questions.

Celebrating the Life of Nelson Mandela

By Sarah Roberts

As the world mourns one of the greatest human rights activists of all time, I find myself thinking about the limitations of words. I’m thinking about the way that no eulogy or article can ever feel like enough. Maybe that’s why we hold moments of silence—because deep down we understand that no words of ours will ever do justice to great lives, or great losses. With this in mind, I pay homage to Nelson Mandela using his own striking words, which serve as a reflection of his inclusive efforts and tireless spirit.

While anti-racist and anti-colonialist movements are inherently feminist, Mandela was also a direct champion of gender equality in South Africa. He never forgot women in his fight for freedom.

“Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
–State of the Union Address, 1994

While serving as president in South Africa, he passed the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which included amendments that solidified reproductive rights and legal protection from discrimination, rape, and domestic violence. Additionally, it offered legal protections from discrimination due to sexual orientation (the first constitution to do so), marital status, pregnancy, gender, race, and sex.

“Women and girls need safe environments to learn and to work. At the moment, discrimination and violence exacerbate their lack of access to the very tools they need to make their own rights a reality. If girls do not have a safe and non-discriminatory environment to pursue education or gain employment, the consequences reverberate throughout their lives, denying them the choice and freedom we take for granted.”
–Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award Speech

Mandela sought such emancipation through both legal and nonprofit means. He introduced free pre-natal and post-natal care in the public health system while president. Even after he left office, he continued to work alongside Graca Machel, his wife, with nonprofit organizations to further women’s rights

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
–Speech from the Dock (1964)

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
–Long Walk to Freedom

Mandela made dramatic leaps forward and left behind a legacy that will forever impact South African citizens and the world. Mandela understood that a champion of human rights could not, and cannot, leave anyone behind. To care about human rights is to care about ALL human rights because oppression will always work to perpetuate other forms of oppression. While our words may not properly honor him, our actions just might. As we progress forward, we should remember the wisdom we were lucky enough to be left with and apply it in our activism, our consciousness, and our lives.