We’re Not Okay

I Am Not OK.

Those four words are quickly making the rounds due to a viral hashtag bringing awareness to an important topic: intimate partner violence.

After actor Evan Rachel Wood shared on Twitter that she was a survivor of intimate partner violence that eventually led to self-harm, others began telling their own truths—building an avalanche of testimony about violence that builds on the explosion of #MeToo and expands it into critical spaces. (Just this week, I shared the lyrics to Kelly Rowland’s ‘Dirty Laundry,’ a song where she revealed her story of intimate partner violence, on my own Twitter feed.)

#IAmNotOk is now a home for the stories and experiences of survivors of intimate partner violence from around the world, and Wood’s role in launching the conversation as an out bisexual woman is pivotal. It’s about time that we committed to elevating the stories and experiences of survivors of IPV—especially those who are people of color, LGBTQ+ and non-binary. Too often, even in social justice movements, these communities are left out of the conversation and lose their seat at the table.

Today, I can’t help but think about three survivors: Wood, a bisexual woman; Rowland, a Black woman; and Cardi B, a Black Latina woman. Today, I can’t help but wonder how many more queer people and people of color, how many more celebrities and everyday people are not okay.

How many people can actually say that they are survivors? Just as Tarana Burke did when she launched the #MeToo Movement, we must take on the cycle on intimate partner violence in public and center those who are impacted, especially those at the margins, and confront the reality that many are still suffering.

The time is now to break the silence and elevate stories from the margins and from outside the typical narratives we’re more comfortable with.

#WeAreNotOk. And that has to change.


Monica Edwards is an If/When/How RJ fellow at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. Originally from Marion, Alabama, she received her B.A. from The University of Alabama and received her Juris Doctor from The University of Alabama School of Law. During law school she interned with her hometown’s District Attorney’s office and was summer student legal counsel at Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, one of many legal clinics at Harvard Law School practicing family law. Also during law school, she worked in Alabama Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic under the late Elizabeth A. Whipple where she represented victims of domestic violence. Her mentors are former professors and social justice legal scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. When Monica isn’t pushing back against misogyny and injustice, she is watching Scandal, Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder.