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Former members of the Harvard women's soccer team reunited to write a powerful, heartbreaking opinion piece they should never have had to write.

The op-ed was written in response to The Harvard Crimson's recent story about the men's soccer team's "scouting report," a publicly searchable guide written and maintained by the 2012 Harvard men's soccer recruiting class detailing and rating members of the 2012 women's soccer recruiting class.

The document included the women's physical attributes, crude nicknames, and guesses as to their preferred sexual positions. While the disgusting digital tradition appeared to begin in 2012, conversations continued well into this year.


Within days of the newspaper revealing the abhorrent practice, the university cancelled the remainder of the men's season (two games) and any post-season play.

But that's not exactly a "victory" for Harvard women's soccer. Soon, former women's team members were inundated by the press, their comments taken and spun out of context. Their lives were disrupted through no fault of their own. And for current players, the scandal overshadowed what would soon be a championship season.

Tired of outlets misrepresenting them, their team, and their school, the six members of the 2012 women's soccer recruiting class wrote an opinion piece for The Harvard Crimson.

Brooke Dickens, Kelsey Clayman, Alika Keene, Emily Mosbacher, Lauren Varela, and Haley Washburn, now Harvard alumni, came together to tell their side of the story in a piece titled "Stronger Together."  In doing so, their voices carried for the millions of women who don't often get that chance.

"In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives."

A woman holds a placard during the fifth annual SlutWalk in Hong Kong  to protest against sexual violence, victim-blaming, and rape culture. Photo by Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty Images.

While the women bravely shared feelings of hopelessness, concern, and frustration, strength and hope were on display too.

Being a target of misogyny of this magnitude would hurt and devastate anyone, but as athletes and young women, they are accustomed to getting back up in the wake of defeat.

"We know what it’s like to get knocked down. To lose a few battles. To sweat, to cry, to bleed. To fight so hard, yet no matter what we do, the game is still out of our hands. And, even still, we keep fighting; for ourselves, yes, but above all for our teammates. This document might have stung any other group of women you chose to target, but not us. We know as teammates that we rise to the occasion, that we are stronger together, and that we will not tolerate anything less than respect for women that we care for more than ourselves."

They're banding together now, not just as athletes or Harvard alumni, but as women.

Incidents like these are not confined to the locker room or college campus: They're everywhere. But women, athletes or otherwise, are stronger when they come together to speak out against sexual mistreatment. All of us, not just women but men too, need to come together to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

"As women of Harvard Soccer and of the world, we want to take this experience as an opportunity to encourage our fellow women to band together in combatting this type of behavior, because we are a team and we are stronger when we are united.

Women march behind a banner for an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

From locker rooms to boardrooms, from the warehouse to the White House, the Harvard women's soccer team is right: We need to come together to stand up to misogyny.

Misogyny is not cute, funny, or harmless. It's cruel. It's devastating. And from micro-aggressions to sexual assault, sexism is creating and perpetuating a culture of rape and violence against women.

To put an end to it, we need men and boys to recognize in no uncertain terms that women's bodies and minds do not belong to them. Whatsoever. Full stop.

Students hold signs  as they shout slogans against a recent rape that took place in New Delhi in 2012. Photo by Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images.

"We are human beings and we should be treated with dignity. We want your help in combatting this. We need your help in preventing this. We cannot change the past, but we are asking you to help us now and in the future."

We need women to continue taking the brave step to get support and/or report their attackers in the wake of emotional, physical, and sexual violence, too. You and your voice are important. Know there are people nearby and around the globe who will stand with you and support you.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Together, all of us can make a difference for each other and generations to come. And it can start today.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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