Silence took over the conference room as Nadine Ortega, founder of Af3IRM Hawaiʻi, spoke of her family’s experiences as survivors of sexual abuse. The feminist activist’s voice trembled for a few seconds before growing steadier and stronger as she went on with her story. While she was in graduate school, Ortega sought to trace back her ancestry and family history. Curious to find out who her grandfather was, she learned that her grandmother had been raped and, as a result, pregnant with Ortega’s mother.
“This violence runs in my blood,” she said, driving some of the hundred people gathered at the YWCA Honolulu to tears.
“Speaking out is a threat to the structural power of patriarchy,” said Nadine Ortega during the #metoo discussions in Hawai‘i. On Monday, Feb. 12, people gathered to understand where the state is at in terms of awareness and adherence to the #metoo movement. The event opened a safe space for sharing experiences, calling for empowerment and praising the victims’ courage to speak up.
(author: Kapi‘o News Writer Katlin Cilliers; Img by Katlin Cilliers)