Editor’s Note: One in three too many

University of Central Arkansas student Stephanie Meador (left) and Dr. Angela Webster, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast.

This month’s edition of 501 LIFE is all about “Celebrating women.”

The theme was selected for this March issue to reflect International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on March 8. The observance “offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” 

We are fortunate in the 501 to have many extraordinary women who are doing great and wonderful things in their communities. We applaud and celebrate their efforts. 

At the same time, we recognize and are saddened that there are women in the 501 and beyond who are victims of domestic violence. They are battered and bruised at the hands of “loved ones.”

While attending the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast hosted by the University of Central Arkansas, I was touched by the words of UCA student Stephanie Meador, winner of the MLK written/oratorical contest. With her permission, we share her words with 501 LIFE readers:

I Object

Dainty, purple bands decorate her throat.
Like the rings of Saturn.
She lies speechless, he goes to his friends to gloat.
We can’t ignore this toxic pattern. 

Instead of seeing somebody, you see a body. 
How far have we really come, all these years? 
If a woman reporting on television, is subject to humiliation
Because a marathon runner helps himself to her rear?

You deflect. 
You defend your behaviors in fear and shame. 
A slip of the hand deserves more than a slap on the wrist. 
We no longer fret over monsters under the bed, 
Our fears stem from reports of women found dead. 

Don’t go out alone. 
Don’t leave your drink unattended. 
Don’t dress in a way that provokes them. 
Don’t put yourself in a position to become the victim.

Fear that I might be one more nameless statistic.
I might become a lesson of caution to my peers. 
One in three is too many, forgive me if I’m being pessimistic.

Rough edits of the scene plague her mind. 
He lives comfortably, she suffers constantly.
Stripped of security, forced into a role,
Is this truly our definition of equality?

Thank you, Stephanie for your powerful words. We agree. One in three is too many.

Until next month, here’s to “Loving LIFE” in the 501.