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Overcoming Obstacles this October:

Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

On October 22, 2011

She Said

            As a college student, I am apt to complain about everything under the sun. I work too much, my homework load is too heavy, the commute for my internship is wearing me out etc. Yet I seldom reflect on what others around me are going through. Sure, we all have our crosses to bear, but maybe I have a pretty privileged life. In honor of Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness month this October, I can humble myself to realize the personal struggles that seem so big to me may really be so small.

            I am one of the few I know that does not have a loved one who has suffered from breast cancer. Recently, at my yearly exam with my doctor, she informed me that she was going to do a routine breast exam. I giggled and sarcastically said, "Oh, I never had one before," and the look on her face was one of astonishment and utter fear. "You've never checked your breasts before? I'm a little nervous now," she said, putting me right in my place. As a young adult, it is easy to feel invincible, but this one doctor's visit put my whole world into perspective. Breast cancer is real, and it is a reality for many brave women who are forced to fight the fight against this horrible disease. Whether it is the lady on the television in the breast cancer ad campaign or my great grandmother on my mother's side, breast cancer leaves its mark on everyone. Even those who think they are invincible.

            October also brings to light the issue of domestic violence, which most of us have seen or experienced without even realizing it. Those hurtful words your boyfriend screamed at you, that name your uncle called your aunt, that questionable slap your father laid on your mother are all clear examples. We seldom want to admit (or even care to realize) the warning signs of an abusive relationship. It is a main event in the lives of many who are scared to seek help, who are scared to make their way out of the wood work. I want to tell every one of those people that there is someone waiting to listen.

            One thing I could never imagine is the despair of being diagnosed with breast cancer or the everyday struggle of fighting for your life. I can't even fathom being hit, scolded and tormented by the one you love the most. Even so, I can imagine the triumph of a breast cancer survivor or the victory of a woman who has escaped the clutches of an abusive relationship and is finally free to live her own life. Overcoming these obstacles may be the most impressive leaps of the human spirit, the most glorifying triumphs we can make as human beings. Breast cancer and domestic violence may haunt us but they do not own us; we are free to dream of a happier, healthier future. Overcoming is the battle, and I know that this battle will be fought.


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