Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.
Hi. I’m “Candace.”
But not really.
This is not a story that I tell very often, but I want to tell it now. This movement is showing me how important it is to speak up.
I was sexually abused as a child by a family member. It has been more than ten years ago now, and my family still doesn’t know. Thankfully, it never amounted to anything. Just a few “abuse sessions” as I refer to them, and then it was just over.
This family member is still in my life. He pretends like it never happened and actually considers us “friends.”
Several years after that happened, I became involved in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a boy four or five years older than me. I ended up being hospitalized, but not from physical abuse. It was his words that put me there. I spent the end of my junior year in high school in a hospital because I wanted to die. I spent three years in counseling after that because the feeling never went away.
It still resurfaces sometimes.
This has made me a stronger person but it has also caused many problems in my current relationship. My fiancé felt used for the first half of our relationship because I was so wrapped up in hating myself that I didn’t have much room to love him. I’m really lucky that he stuck around. That is how I got to finally experience unconditional love.
We now have a young son together, but I had a miscarriage four months before I got pregnant with him. It sent me into a frenzy at the time. I lost all the progress that I had worked so hard for. I had almost been normal before that. I had gotten to where it was only once a month that I was having days where I shut myself away and cried for hours. But after the miscarriage, I returned to being a daily crier. It sent my relationship into a downward spiral that we are still trying to recover from.
We had another pregnancy scare when my son turned three months old.
That’s something that almost ended us for good.
I wanted an abortion but wasn’t sure I could handle the guilt. It caused so much tension that I nearly ended my life. Again. (I almost left my tiny baby alone once during this time. I am still ashamed of that feeling.)
I heard so much negativity and shaming in the media regarding women who abort fetuses. The guilt over what I was feeling lead me to almost end it all. I almost left the love of my life to be a single parent to my still so new baby.
I am so ashamed.
I ended up miscarrying again.
Had I not miscarried, I would have gotten the abortion. Had I not miscarried or gotten the abortion, the pregnancy would have been enough to cause me to ruin my family and myself.
I was not emotionally able to handle another child.
I wanted to march in the women’s march, but I couldn’t. We have only one vehicle and only one source of income. My fiancé was working a fourteen-hour shift that day. If I would have had a way to get there, I would have gladly pulled out the baby carrier and marched with my son strapped to my back. I wanted to march, not only for myself for anyone sitting at home who had ever had the same feelings I had – just hoping that they could find the courage in themselves to do whatever they thought was best for them. Only them. No one else.
I also want my son to grow up knowing how to treat a woman. I want him to become a man who knows how to respect both himself and everyone else’s rights.
My life is tarnished but livable. His is pure and ready to be filled with all the things we have to teach him.
My name is “Candace.” But not really. And this was my Silent Marchers story.
“No woman has an abortion for fun.”
– Elizabeth Joan Smith