What are we fighting for if not this?

By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer

The recent “vandalism” done to the pro-life display outside Bellarmine and the following response demonstrated a disgusting hypocrisy and double standard by the university and XUPD. 

The display, which read “PRO-WOMAN, PRO-LIFE,” was surrounded by signs displaying pro-choice messages and protests. The pro-life letters were taken down, and eventually some were stolen to make the message read, “PRO-MAN, PRO-LIE.” 

I, for one, appreciate the creativity. 

XUPD responded quickly to every incident. They even identified the students who stole the signs and returned them to the organization responsible for the display. 

XUPD responds more effectively to some supposed “vandalism” to a pro-life display than they do to actual acts of racism and bigotry by far-right groups. I mean, the hypocrisy is so loud it’s screaming in our faces. It’s obvious now what their priorities are: shaming and restricting the rights of women who have abortions instead of protecting and ensuring the safety of students and people of color. 

Displays like this go up every year. Pro-life speakers address crowds of students to promote their views. 

And I honestly don’t want to hear it. I’m so sick of hearing it. I want to own my body. I want to be the one who decides what can happen to it and what can’t happen to it.  

These pro-life voices don’t support my life or the lives of women who don’t want to be pregnant. They support a clump of cells within our bodies. They want that clump of cells to have more rights than we do. That is, until that clump of cells is born Black, Hispanic, Muslim, gay, transgender or anything outside their prescribed set of values: their White, Christian values. 

This vandalism isn’t vandalism. It’s the long-suppressed pro-choice voices on campus finally saying, “Enough is enough.” That display, that message, isn’t pro-woman. It’s the complete opposite.  

I am a woman. And I am angry. I’m furious. I want to raise hell and burn everything down. I want to scream and scream and scream until they all know that I am serious, that I mean it.  

I know I’m not supposed to be angry. We’re not supposed to be angry. 

But, god, what else can we be? 

I keep asking what belongs to us. I keep writing this story. I’ve written it a hundred times, and it never seems to go out of style. I’m sure people are tired of reading it. I’m tired of writing it, but I can’t stop because nothing has changed. 

There was a pro-life display vandalized by students. These students are not allowed to voice their pro-choice opinions. Apparently, this vandalism is an “attack on the pro-life values of our Jesuit, Catholic university.” Apparently, it is a sign of a “broken culture.” 

It is a broken culture. One that favors the rights of the unborn over the rights of those who carry them.  

I thought the Jesuits were supposed to be open-minded and understanding. But this view is just as close-minded and misogynistic as anyone else. 

These views dehumanize us. They vilify us. What else can we do except tear them down? 

What else are we fighting for, if not this? 

And I don’t care. I don’t care that the things I write alienate and anger people. I’m not trying to please anybody. I’m trying to fight, and I’m sick of being civil.  

Multiple acts of racism have occured over my three semesters of school, and XUPD and the university don’t seem to care. XUPD responded quickly and decisively to the “pro-life” vandalism, but the same can’t be said for actual acts of hatred and fear-mongering. The university sent out a message to the student body to not post about these attacks — to keep it internal. To keep it quiet. To keep it hidden. 

Exactly what kind of “values” are we trying to teach? 

Not wanting to be pregnant, not wanting to give birth — these are not selfish desires. Our bodies are the only things we ever truly own. They are not public property. They do not belong to the Conservative right. They do not belong to any religion. They do not belong to the pro-life.  

They belong to us.  

And I will keep writing this story until people finally start to believe it.