How It Went

Friends, I cannot tell you how moved I am right now. Today I watched these women, myself included, speak their truths with courage, compassion, honesty, and strength.

All of you who reached out to share support prior to our meetings? We felt that. You wrapped us in love and with the help of the ACLU and each other, we went forward to the offices of BOTH our Senators today to meet with their staff members. As I said in a post or two ago, this is not a political party thing for me. So I am not going to berate the elected officials from my state here, but I am going to tell you that we were received differently by the two groups of staffers and that it was in the second meeting with Sen. Sasse’s office where we felt seen and maybe, just maybe, heard.

{OK, I am going to go political for a moment. As many of you know Ben Sasse likes to speak and loves rhetoric. It would be super, super great if he would take his words from the Senate Floor from last night and apply them in action to his vote on Kavanaugh. You can call him and tell him that (please).}

When we left the second meeting, which began just 10 minutes after the end of the first one (so, hello whirlwind), there was a collective sigh of relief that we had just done that. We shared our stories. We shared our views. We asked questions. We carried all our sister survivors with us, including the ones who have not been given an opportunity to speak.

And it. Was. Powerful.

I am in awe of the fortitude I saw in those women today. There were moments of intense emotion, yes, and there is no need to apologize for that. What we brought was real and what we shared touches so many of our lives because what impacts a survivor impacts everyone around them.

My part was both short but of value and meant the world to me in terms of using my voice, even in small ways.

Several of us agreed to start off the whole process by shaking the staffer’s hand and saying something of the following:

“Hello. My name is Jennifer Welsch. I am a constituent and a sexual assault survivor. I request a meeting with the Senator.”

I was the first one in line to do this for both sessions.

In the Fischer meeting I did not speak another word. In the Sasse one I did.

Y’all, it was beyond empowering to take back my power and give a face and a voice – my face and my voice – to this movement. I have been keeping myself small in public spaces on this trip but after we finished today, I walked out of the Russell Building with my head held freaking HIGH.

I was given shitty circumstances by being assaulted. All of the women in my group were, too. But from that dust and ash, we rise, and we will continue to rise until we are seen and heard and believed by all.

Our pictures taken afterward (seen above) were full of power. The hands in the air? All the better for you to see us, my dears.

And because I adore Nahko and his song “Love Letters to God” (see lyrics below) I kept my palm open because, yes. Yes I can fight with an open fist, a loud voice, a brave heart, and a peaceful purpose.

“Don’t believe all you’re told/and open/open up your fist/ it’s a misconception, you can fight like this/and praise/with the power of prayer/if God’s on our side we can take the stairs/to the heavens” – Nahko & MFTP “Love Letters to God”

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