Shannon Galpin, founder of Mountain2Mountain, discusses the The Power of Voice at TEDxMileHighSalon conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Shannon Galpin on The Power of Voice at TEDxMileHighSalon
What is it that you see when you look at this photo? Do you see potential, possibility, a changemaker?
Every day, women like these are forced to beg in the street. Women are raped as weapons of war. Children are taken from their homes and forced into prostitution, and girls are denied an education simply because of their gender.
Atrocities happen all over the world and the sheer numbers of oppression, conflict, genocide are staggering — so staggering in fact that we tune out. Shockingly, the more we hear of atrocities and brutalities happening, the more apathetic and desensitized we become. We pity those people, those victims. Something should be done, but what can I do? And so we tune out, apathy sets in and we remain silent.
But when we can put a face on one individual and use that individual to tell the story of the bigger picture, the bigger problem, people listen. We essentially plug in to the many through the heartbreak of the one and this one has a face. This one has a voice. She is the one of the many victims of self-humiliation. Setting herself on fire to protest, to escape abusive relationships.
But I would challenge you to look beyond the victimhood, beyond the victimization, and consider that perhaps women like these could be solutions. Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Call to Arms: “The world tries to break everyone. Some of us are stronger in the places that were broken.” And given a voice, women and victims around the world could perhaps change the entire perception of victimhood.
Now, I would ask you to look at me. What do you see when you look at me? Do you see an adventurer, an athlete, an activist, a fighter, a mother, a daughter, or do you see a victim? You see, many years ago when I was walking home from work, I was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead. A victim at eighteen.