Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-09-16 15:22:09 –
The FBI recently released the latest hate crime data. This is the highest number in the last 12 years, indicating that more than 10,000 people have reported hate crime victims.
“I want people to understand that it always happens,” said one woman who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation for her hatred. “These people you talk to and associate with every day. They don’t consider you equal. They definitely see you as you are smaller than them.”
Called Martha for the purposes of this story, this woman is in her mid-30s and is Hispanic. From a young age, she says that prejudice has permeated almost every aspect of her life, and the pain has been felt deeply for generations.
“When my grandma was young, she was born here in New Mexico. When she went to school, she was beaten by speaking Spanish. So she told everyone in her family that Did not teach, “Martha said. “She and my grandpa decided not to teach Spanish to anyone, so I don’t know Spanish.”
“I was pushed into a locker. I was thrown upside down in the trash. I was a stuffed animal for people,” added another 52-year-old woman who wanted to remain anonymous.
Seven years ago, the woman, called Kelly for the purposes of this story, came to her wife at the time and said she was transgender.
“It led to violent assault,” she said. “If it’s never happened before, it doesn’t seem to be that important, but it seems they’re deliberately trying to upset me, it feels threatening, and it’s on a regular basis. happen.”
The data confirm what these women feel. According to a study by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, 68% of hate speech or hate crime victims experienced PTSD symptoms such as paralysis, avoidance, and re-experience.
It’s not just an attack on beliefs, it’s an attack on identity, so it’s even more effective.
“I look in the mirror and say what the hell are you. It seemed like you didn’t believe who you were,” Kelly said.
“When I’m young, I don’t know what’s going on and I feel sick about myself. How can I change it? What did I do?” Martha said. “But I went out myself, made my friends, lived my life, and realized that I wasn’t myself. Whatever their problem was with me, how I What you see, and the way I was born, is literally. It has nothing to do with me. It’s their own prejudice. “
There is a simple yet profound realization that can change. These women say they don’t always come. Kelly had 35 years of suicidal ideation to understand it, and Martha lived in fear for over 20 years. But when they got there, they said it was as if decades of trauma, inferiority complex, and pain had begun to slip through.
“It was a euphoric, very intense euphoric explosion that led me to today’s place,” Kelly said. “It was so powerful and so beautiful that I just cryed and hit the ground.
Perhaps this is why we call people who endure this kind of hatred survivors.
“In a way, I don’t make the same decisions about people, so I feel like I’m a better person,” Martha said.
“This harassment can’t turn me back. I’m stubborn and it only makes me more determined,” Kelly said. “That’s why I’m sitting here because it only makes me more determined to move forward.”