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Women's Marches were the post-election turning point we needed

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

With massive, safe protests worldwide, women sent the message that we will not be silenced

Things have been pretty rough for a lot of us since November 9th.

Not only was a Republican man elected president of the United States by the electoral college after losing the popular vote for the second time in 16 years, but we’ve had to contend with resident racists, misogynists, xenophobes and homophobes coming out of the woodwork, now that they feel as though they have a legitimate voice again.

More: Why we march – women share their biggest health concerns

We’ve been depressed, binge eating and unable to watch the news because for so many of us, seeing that giant, bloated orange face is triggering.

But that started to change yesterday. The Women’s March – not just in D.C. but on all seven continents – was a turning point, finally giving us some hope. The new president’s election left so many of us scared and feeling isolated, as if no one would look out for our interests (you know, like health care and other basic human rights) after President Obama left office.

More: Women's March on Washington draws unprecedented crowd

Yesterday, it was clear: we are looking out for each other. We are watching. Even though we face a president and cabinet with a clear agenda that deliberately excludes a large part of America, we know that are not alone and we will not be silent.

At one point during the speeches, I heard someone behind me ask someone else if they needed to get through. I turned around and saw an older woman weave her way through the crowd, as people backed away and let her pass as soon as they saw her.

“You can tell this is a women’s march,” she yelled to us over her shoulder. “I didn’t even have to ask to come through – you all made room for me on your own!”

And it was like that all day. Marchers formed paths within the crowd by linking arms on either side of a woman in a wheelchair so she could roll through. Someone found a pair of pink prescription eyeglasses, held them up, and everyone in the vicinity tried to locate their owner. Children were hoisted up on shoulders and literally given megaphones in some cases to ensure their voices were heard.

More: No, Republicans: Defunding Planned Parenthood definitely will not save money

The next few months (and, let’s face it, probably years) will not be easy. Yesterday was just the beginning – we will likely face our next round of challenges without the benefit of half a million supporters physically surrounding us on the streets. But now we know they’re there – in all 50 states and across the world.

For the first time since November 9th, it feels like we’ll be okay.

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