My dear fellow women tomorrow is “International Women’s Day” and I celebrate you!
As we highlight this day we do so to not only to celebrate our strengths, beauty, and our ability to move through hard times and rise…we also do so to bring awareness. To raise our voices and take action together against the discrimination and violence that continues to occur against women we know personally and those we hear about.
It’s not about pointing fingers or laying blame, it’s about each of us doing our part to encourage, support and educate others that discrimination and violence against women should NOT occur under any circumstances, and to RESIST it.
Please, please hear my heart – not talking about it is not the solution, pretending it isn’t happening will not make it stop. Together, we have to contribute to the solution.
“My first awareness of abuse happened to one of my close friends. We’ll call her Susan! We met at church many moons ago, I was 22 – she early thirties married with two young girls and a stay at home mom…living a middle class lifestyle. And from all appearance their family displayed the kind of family one would admire. and on the outside everything was ideal with no signs of abuse. As our friendship developed I learned otherwise – she was being forced to have sex regardless of the time of month or how she was feeling. She was verbally abused in front of her two girls.
She told her pastor, and he said it “God put them together, women are to be submissive to their husbands, and she was taking it out of context. He encouraged her to pray it through”.
I told her she should seek outside help – it wasn’t healthy for her and the girls.
She said, she will stay and pray for a miracle. For the next 10 year of our friendship long after I left the church we would meet for dinner, and every time I saw her my heart broke. The pain of Susan’s abuse was now clearly seen in her physical body, there was great sadness in her eyes and our conversation was the same – she unloaded about the abuse, and I listened, and finally one day I asked her why? Why are you staying, aside from what the church is telling you what else is keeping you there?
She said “I’m staying for my girls, and because I’ve never worked a day in my life and I’m afraid that I’ll end up on the street”. I understood and I didn’t…if that make sense. There was nothing I could say to shift her from that belief. Our friendship started to erode…I was getting tired of seeing the pain eating her away, and at times angry because she just wanted to unload with no plans to change.
Finally, I could no longer allow myself to sit through another dinner like that, and told her. Our conversation and friendship needs to be more than that…I wanted my friend back, but there was only a shell of her…what was left of her.
Sadly, that was the last dinner we shared – we drifted apart.
Years later I’m about to board the train and there she was – we hugged, she looked amazing! Two years ago her husband died of cancer, she went back to school and is working as a secretary and happy.”
She stayed until he was taken, and was forced to face her fear, she regained her self-worth, learned a skill and got herself a job.
Fortunately for her, and for others no so much.
Hear me, you deserve better, and if you have kids, they also deserve better. It’s not easy to get up and walk away, sometimes we need to hit a brick wall, our breaking point before we get help. It’s not about being pitied, it’s about taking the hand of that friend who’s there to help you up.
If you know someone who is being abused, or if it’s you – there is help available check out the Battered Women Support Service
. If you live outside of BC they will be able to connect you to a local support service in your area.
Together, let’s do our part to help each other rise up out of discrimination and abuse of any kind
KATIE PERRY – RISE
I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype
I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots, they run deep, oh
Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform
When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”
But still I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise