“Did you just call me a bitch?”

Gabi Holzwarth

There was a moment 12 years ago when a man dragged me across a room, slammed me on the ground, and called me “a little bitch”. I was thirteen. That memory lingers in my head as if it happened yesterday. For some reason, that word stung more than all of the punches and slaps in the world. That particular word did not anger me or make me feel sad, rather it brought up deep feelings of shame and embarrassment. I finally felt like a grown woman for the first time! — Not the greatest transformative experience…

I wish my initiation into adulthood would have been a better experience - perhaps being referred to as a “woman” or a “lady” at a restaurant, perhaps trying on bras with my mom for the first time, or perhaps not being asked to show my ID for an rated-R movie; but no, this wasn’t my fate. For me, it was being called the word “bitch”.

And that horrible transformative experience that I endured as a young girl, followed by a mulititude of other horrible experiences, is the only reason I spoke up to TJ when he called me a bitch. I responded to TJ on behalf of the young woman I was 12 years ago, and on behalf of all the other young women who are undergoing a rough time.

People continue to ask me if I am okay after this whole Crunchies fiasco — and I can honestly say “Yes, I am.” I can continue on with my life and have a great weekend with my friends and feel even stronger than before, rather than hurt.

Ask that to the young girl a decade ago, and she, too, would say “Yes, I am.” But it would not be the truth. It would be cloaked with feelings of shame and embarrassment. Feelings that would be expressed in cutting her arms, expressed in hiding her food under the table, expressed in overdosing on medication, expressed in stealing and being sent to jail, and many more silent but deadly forms of expression.

So, if my mission in life leads me to pulling a Kanye and interrupting an awards show,(Man, I wish I had run on stage), then I will. Bring it on.



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