Millions of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest in the days since Donald Trump’s inauguration, with the Women’s March and protests at airports against the president’s “Muslim ban” and anti-immigration executive orders making headlines. Now, writer and sexual assault survivor Jessica Knoll is highlighting the parallels between rape culture and what women in marginalized groups are experiencing right now in the U.S.
Knoll, who wrote the best-selling novel Luckiest Girl Alive, shared a snapshot of a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union on Instagram Sunday, thanking her for donating to the organization. But her caption was what really stood out to us.
In it, Knoll says she’s spent a lot of time “soaking up” coverage of the Women’s March, and noting that some criticism has emerged regarding how mainstream feminism often tends to exclude women of color, women with disabilities, and immigrant women. Knoll says she found herself getting defensive when she saw a photo of activist Angela Peoples holding a sign that said “Don’t forget: White Women Voted for Trump.”
She writes that her initially thought was: “Don’t lump ME in with the rest of them.” But then she had a revelation. “I thought about all the times men have dismissed rape culture to me, by saying they are sorry that happened to me but that sort of thing just doesn’t happen where they’re from. THEY’VE never seen it or participated in it, and it’s not a problem in their communities,” she says.
“Just because you don’t experience something doesn’t mean it’s not real. You must believe the women who tell you it is, and let that be the starting point for change,” she adds.
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