By Jessica, See the Triumph Contributor
Moving through different countries during my twenties, I was consistently drawn to groups of women that had a community strength about them - the ones where you are welcomed in as a daughter or a sister, called “my dear” in the mother tongue, and taught to make the traditional family meal. My eyes were also drawn to the subtle signs of injustices occurring towards women in these cities, towns, and villages. Whether it was remnants of forced sex work, the whispers of familial violence, or the shadows of sexual abuse, the traces of women’s stories and their survival were there. These issues flew under the radar, quashed by cultural traditions, deep-seated gender imbalances, and biased solutions.
As a survivor, I am accustomed to violence against women being interpreted as an uncomfortable topic. If a story comes up, the breath is taken out of the conversation. In media, favor is given to the abuser while we pick away at the survivor’s story, accusing them of everything but being a victim. As a world citizen, I am bombarded by tales of pain and sadness and at the end of each day, it can often seem the world is hopeless, that there is no way to help, and we see anything but triumph.
But if there is anything I’ve learned from the women I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard, it’s that triumph is everywhere - and it is a beautiful thing to behold. Triumph might resound like an echo between two mountains, or be quiet like the flutter of butterflies’ wings among the garden flowers. Triumph grows in kitchens with lovingly-made meals that carry with them a long legacy of women healing and surviving with each other. Triumph flourishes on the living room floor, connecting and laughing together with knees folded on bright cushions, and sparks during intimate conversations with a friend who says “I believe you” and takes your hand. Triumph is in the satisfaction of doing something she wasn't allowed to and no longer feeling the anxiety and shame. Triumph is the justice found in custody battles and the journalist who gets it right. We see triumph alive on the Internet with community forums and in comments and posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where girls and women of all nationalities find their common threads and rally together.
Behind closed doors around the globe are girls and women of lioness strength, steadfastly navigating what it means to survive and triumph over violence; seeing the triumph is happening every day and everywhere in communities of women, big and small, that band together and say “no more” for each other.
Triumph is survivors taking on the world in their own way, as it means to them, surrounded by a global community that understands and sees the triumph with her. No matter who we are, we can choose to see no hope, or we too can choose to see the triumph.