The Suffering of Women


women are human beings

women are human beings

Not only do American women continue to face sexism in our country. We continue to do equal work for lesser pay. Sexual harassment is increasing and sexual crimes against women is also increasing. We continue to be the only citizens in America who are not legally equal. We are suffering because Congress is trying to regulate our bodies. Most women in America do not want men telling us what to do with our bodies. I know, to be honest, I don’t want even a husband to tell me what to do with my body. In 1972, I decided that I wanted a tubal ligation. I told my husband and then went to my doctor. He told me I would have to have my husband sign papers allowing me to have the surgery. Men have never needed permission to have a vasectomy. I felt like a child who needed parental permission. I know that women resent this requirement.

This morning I was reading about Bahrain and the torture, rape, and brutality that is being inflicted upon the women of that country. It is an awful story and I listened to women talking in videos telling of how they are suffering. In many countries, genital mutilation continues so a young woman is marriageable. No mutilation, no marriage. And the practice has been brought to America by families and they still want their daughters mutilated. I have blogged about this before and it is all done without pain medication.Little girls between ten years to fourteen years old go through this awake and without anything for pain. This is torture. Torture that has been passed down from generation to generation. Mothers holding their daughters down while the village midwife cuts her in a part of her body that is most sensitive.

The dream of equality

The dream of equality

Women are not the punching bags for the close minded and hateful in our world.  Women are people, we are equal, we are independent, and we can think for ourselves. So, I think that white males need to look within and squash their sexism, racism and elitism. That said, I don’t understand why often minority men of many nationalities that have experienced bigotry and racism, look at all women as second class citizens of whatever country they live in.

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I have written about this before and will again, it is important for everyone to understand what it is like to be a woman in this world. I know that the people who have suffered racism and /or genocide will understand how important this is for us to improve. When you talk to you friends listen and you will hear racism and sexism. Chauvinists are every where and often quote scriptures from their religions as the basis for their behavior. There is no basis except for the ugliness within them. We must love one another and we must be compassionate and understanding. Every one of us is equal to the others. That is why I say we are One Family in One World. You never can love too much. It is impossible.

Sisterhood bridges color and religion

Sisterhood bridges color and religion

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“The sexes in each species of beings…are always true equivalents–equals but not indenticals.”  —Antoinette Brown Blackwell

” There is a potential heroine in every women.”  —Jean Shinoda Bolen

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We are going into the Future – with Positive Energy


I have been listening to people, what they write and what they say. I have looked around me at the people in my life and the acquaintances. When people talk, there is a flow of negativity. If one person does not make themselves clear, the other assumes the worst.

Now, it occurs to me that these threads of negative thought and speech are influencing more and more of the energy of our communities. People hurt others’ feelings, there is a lack of respect of others, of the elderly. Everyone seems to be on a hair-trigger. This trigger seems ready to go off and escalation is the result. My confusion comes from the fact that many of the angriest people have everything they could want. Yet it isn’t enough. Then I began thinking about how if friends and neighbors can’t have conversations without hurt feelings, there is something going on.

Times are changing. There is a lot of negativity in our cities, our country and all the countries of the world.  There is an outcry across the world by the people who have been living under dictators, who live amidst bombs and fear. We human beings are committing terrible crimes against each other. Racism, sexism, greed and power are bringing out the worst in humanity.  Not that we historically have had any difficulty torturing or causing pain to our fellow sentient beings.

Genocide is happening yet again. We have made it a purpose  in life to try to wipe out races of people who are different. Their skin color, religion, education, natural abilities all have worked together to sound the battle cry to kill…the “others”. Some countries are keeping women and girls from receiving an education. This leaves them in perpetual poverty and controlled by the males in their families. They are owned by fathers, brothers, and husbands. They never even have a chance to figure out who they are. They never get to experience themselves as a child of the Universe. They are stuck having to always do what they are told. They don’t know how to protect their daughters because no one protected them.

Girls are being married off at as young as 10 years old. Their bodies are not even completely formed yet. In my mind, only a pedophile could or would do something like this. IN some cultures, if a man wants a woman and she doesn’t want him, he has the right to throw acid in her face. This is done to save his family shame. Also no one will ever want her. I have seen such horrible pictures of young beautiful women who are scarred so much their families are shocked. Little girls disappear. Mothers cry and pray, but the girls are gone and have been sold into sexual slavery. Their life is essentially over. Very few governments will search for them, so they are used until they commit suicide or are thrown away like garbage. In many countries, when girls reach puberty and their menses begin, the mother takes her to the midwife for genital mutilation. This practice is what will make them marriageable. It is done to decrease sexual pleasure and to ensure virginity. Some men have their wives sewn closed while they are away on business so their labia is sewn together to prevent sexual intercourse. A small opening is left so they can pee.

All of this adds to the negativity which is swirling around our world.  Every time a girl or woman is saved and educated, we decrease the negative energy. It takes getting involved and understanding that every woman who is injured, is a sister.

Here in America, Domestic Violence is not stopping but increasing according to the FBI statistics. A woman who is married is not owned. She is not required to obey. She is not the reason he hits her. We  started building Domestic  Violence shelters and giving hope to abused women and their children in the 1970′s. We taught them to do the Activities of Daily Living so they could escape and survive in the world. Legal advice and assistance was provided. We saved lives. In those days, we were grass-roots organizations. Hard work, prayers and tenacity is what we lived on while we counseled, loved, fed and sheltered millions of women and their children. We just saw a need and began to do something to change lives.

This is exactly what we need to do to go forward into the future. We need to form grass-roots groups of dedicated men and women to stop the violence and negativity, of all kinds. Righting wrongs is an important aspect of our journey here on our World. Stopping negative energy and gut reactions is necessary to take us forward into the future. Caring is good, it is important. Volunteering a few hours a month would do much to create  positive energy. People need to just think and act positively. Get out and give the Universe a few of the hours of your life and we will feel the energy brighten and we will feel joy within us. This must be a present and the future and we all can participate.

Bob Marley said it so well. One World, One God, One life. Do what you can do to add positive energy to our world.

The Need for Women’s Voices in the World


Galveston Island, TX ; Photo by Barbara Mattio

” This is how love is: So what if your head must roll,

What is there to cry about?”    —-Kabir

“In proportion as one simplifies one’s life,

the laws of the Universe will appear less

complex, and solitude will not be solitude,

nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.       —Thoreau

If we were to remove all mention of women from the history of the world’s major religions, the history of these religions would not undergo the slightest change. Removing all male’s names would destroy religion. The presence of feminine mystics and holy women has never altered the course of religious history or changed its direction at all.

Most people assume that our religions were equally representative of the feminine psyche is an assumption that finds no footing in our religious histories. To change religions and spiritual paths to be inclusive of the female energy and spirit. Women need to continue to take the forefront of spiritual experience in our modern world. We need to take the lead in making spiritual paths more accepting of women and protective of women and children.

Gulf of Mexico,  Photo by Barbara Mattio

Women at the head of spiritual paths and walking along their own spiritual journey can begin to change some of the horrors women and children find themselves living in. I am speaking of Human Traffeting in children, genital mutilation, marrying 10 year old children. We as women need to teach more about love and acceptance and less about hatred and violence. Women have the ability to look at the big picture of what is happening in our world and to make the needed changes.

Things like micro loans, education, feeding a village buy buying the villagers a goat or seeds to plant to grow their own food. Women need to take the lead in the global climate control. It is our time to step forward and speak up. It is our time to make the haters, the greedy, the ones’s who take advantage of the poor, elderly and homeless pay for their crimes.  We need to step forward to show that our priorities are more than monetary. They are people, peace and the end of wars.

The Beauty of Mother Earth

 

What Women Want


This is a subject that has inspired books and movies. It is now a huge part of our 2012 Presidential election. Now, be assured that not all women want more rights. Some are happy and content being “owned” by the significant male in their life. But for those of us who are strong. capable and passionate, we want change. We don’t want to go back to the nineteenth century and we want to move forward.

Women want to be legally equal in 2013. We are the only citizens of the United States of America who are not equal legally. We want the government and men out of our bodies. We are capable of making choices that effect our reproduction and our health.

We want people to understand that rape is not legitimate. It has nothing to do with sex. It is completely about power and control. I cite the cases of eighty-five year old women and one year old babies being raped.

We want stronger laws protecting women and men from Domestic Violence. I worked in Domestic Violence in two states for over 25 years. A women does not have to live in fear. No one has the right to verbally abuse you. No one has the right to hit, slap, punch, kick, break your jaw, threaten your life or the lives of your children. There are shelters and helplines in almost every town and in every state. Call your local police for telephone numbers to receive shelter, food, counseling, legal assistance, moral support and caring attention.
At the shelter I helped to start we had a slogan, “You can’t beat a Woman.”

We want equal pay for equal work. Women who are doing the same job as a man are currently earning $.77 for every dollar a man earns. In the 1970′s, it was $.64 for every dollar a man earned. Yes, it is an improvement but a pathetic one.

Women want the world to know that women’s work counts. If a woman chooses to stay at home with her children she is just as worthy as a woman who goes out of the home to work. And if we go out to work, our work is as meaningful as a man’s work.

Women do not want to be viewed as second class citizens. We don’t want how we look, what size we wear, or how much plastic surgery we’ve had to matter more than our character, morals and intelligence.

We want the women in every country of the world to be free from honor killings, being sold into sexual slavery, from genital mutilation. We want every child, boy or girl in the world to be able to learn to read and write and to receive the medical care they require.

We want American insurance companies not to put caps on the health costs of human beings. We want every man, women, and child to receive the medical care and medication they need, even if they aren’t in the 1%. We want insurance companies to be forced not to tell doctors what medications they can prescribe and what treatments they can order.

We want the bullying that children are suffering at the hands of classmates to end. We want schools to be free of violence and hatred. Every time a child commits suicide due to bullying, we as a society, have failed them. Our hands are also bloody.

We want people to be able to love whomever they love. Love comes from the soul and souls don’t have gender. Souls just love and that love is no less beautiful than any other.

Please feel free to add things that I have not mentioned. I am happy to have your feedback. We need to create a better life for all women on this planet. If you don’t know much about feminism and would like more information, I suggest reading, Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem. Revolution from Within, Robin Morgan, The Burning Times. I also suggest Lenore Walker and Alice Walker, Marge Piercy and Toni Morrison.

Alice Walker, author and feminist

Wisdom of Women


Susan B. Anthony was a Suffragist and worked hard for the rights of women including the right to vote. I wonder what she would think about the current war on women being waged in the twenty-first century. Including the right to be legally equal. The constitution gives men equality. White men, of course. Then the abolitionists and the Abraham Lincoln made blacks and whites equal. Women however, have never been accorded this inalienable right. I recently had a conversation and equality came up. Every man belly-laughed at the thought that women needed to be legally equal. It gave me the experience of “going through the looking glass.” It was the juxtaposition of reality and illusion. This is something that has historically been used to justify oppression.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Statton were the mothers of the cause to fight for the right to vote. Elizabeth was a wife and mother of eleven. Lucy Stone was another of the suffragists who devoted their lives for us to be able to vote. Alice Paul received a master’s degree. Her dissertation focused on the legal inequality of women. That was in 1906 and it is more than 100 years later. One hundred years, where we are citizens but not equal women. Another movement was waging an antislavery war and well as the fight to vote. Many people took part in the abolitionist movement as well as the Suffragist movement.

In the 1970′s we worked once again for women’s issues. The right to control our own bodies, the right to be free to live without violence. Equal pay for equal work. It is a long list. At present, Congress is trying to take many rights away from us. President Ohoma has recently signed a bill extending the equal pay law. Unnecessary? Well, The government stats say a woman earns $.77  for every $1.00 a man makes for the same job.

Domestic Violence is growing and many young women I speak to, think they deserve to be abused. Some don’t understand that when someone  hits, punches, shoves, kicks, slaps, demeans, controls a woman, it is wrong. It is illegal. Every woman has the right to live without violence. Now there are those in Congress who wish to take away the laws we fought for in the 1970′s. That can’t happen. Domestic Violence is found in every demographic in our society. You know an abused woman, even if you don’t realize it. She could be the professor’s wife, the mailman’s girlfriend, your neighbor, the Rabbi’s wife, the Pastor’s sister, your daughter, your friend, your supervisor. 5% of abuse happens when a woman abuses a man. It is not as frequent but it does still happen.  I find that the more I read the words of the feminists and the suffragists who walked before me, the more my eyes are awakened to the importance of all of these issues.

Even though, women around the world are suffering from inequality more than most here in the states; it does not mean that we should shut up and be grateful for what we have. Genital mutilation, acid throwing, human trafficking, sex slavery, forced marriage at 11 or 12 are all issues that still need to be fought .  We have daughters and granddaughters who need us to make life safe for them. To   teach them that they have worth, they are important and equal human beings.