Are You a Feminist?


domesticviolence_logo What makes people decide to be a feminist person? For me it was reading about the witch trials in Europe and how women who understood the healing power of herbs and were in attunement with animals were called witches and killed in various horrible ways. Millions of women, men and children were killed for being witches. It was a mass hysteria which took over most of Europe and England. As always, there were sexual favors that might save your life. But torture was always a part of it and men were usually the jailers, guards, judges and executioners. Add to that the abuse from my childhood,  and feminism was what made sense to me in this crazy world, though this was the seventies. We still live in a harsh, unjust and often uncompassionate world.

 

I got involved with Domestic Violence. And I was proud and excited to be able to help women and children; to be a feminist.  “Feminist” is the only tag I will tolerate wearing. Many women live feminist lives and just don’t label themselves as such. I have known women who just never thought of themselves in these terms; but they lived it and passed it on to their children.

 

Feminists are like trees in a woods. We come in all sizes and shapes. Some are intensely passionate, as I was, and marched and picketed for women’s rights and children’s rights. Some quietly lived their lives without giving a thought to what kind of woman they were.

 

Every woman who has taught her sons never to hit a woman is a feminist, whether they use the term or not.

 

Every woman who has taught her sons that “no means no” is a feminist.

 

Every woman who insists their family functions with justice for all members is a feminist.

 

Every mother who teaches her daughters how to take care of themselves is a feminist.

 

A feminist isn’t a weird aberration of what a woman is. A feminist simply believes that all human beings are equal, regardless of sex.

 

He or she believes that women’s work is as important as a man’s, and they should be paid equal wages for equal work.

 

Feminists believe that no one should be owned. We do not believe that marriage means that one partner now owns the other. A couple, married or not, should be equal partners, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses:  a compliment to each other.

 

Feminists believe that no one should have control over a woman’s body except herself. Doctors and the government do not even try to tell men what to do to/with their bodies, yet it is acceptable for them to do so with a woman.  Not to a feminist.

 

Feminists and Humanists believe that  we are all brothers and sisters living on one planet together. We also believe that every child deserves a good education and corporate America should not benefit from these kids financially.

 

Feminists and Humanists believe that lives should be free from fear and violence. If you are in a violent relationship, get out. Call the hotline number on this blog and get the help you deserve.

 

 

It is time for a woman president. I strongly feel this. Men should not have all the power and control in governments and it is time to change this. There have been a few women leaders in countries around the world and now it is time for America to step into the future.

 

The time is way past the days of “the little woman at home, cleaning, taking care of children, and cooking dinners for the boss”.  Those days, rightly, died out in the forties. They died out because of a man, Hitler who brought the world to the brink of destruction. Men were drafted to fight and push the Nazis back into Germany. So our government needed women to go to work. The icon of that age was “Rosie the riveter.”

 

Until the War, a woman had been told she only had value in the home, and then found out she had value in work outside of the home. Some even found out they enjoyed that work outside of the home; it made them feel needed and important. When WWII was over, women were forced back into the home to make jobs for returning vets. For some this was great. For some this chaffed like cheap wool on sensitive skin.

 

Then Betty Friedan wrote a book called the “Feminine Mystique” and the simmering pot boiled over.  Many women wanted to work; others wanted to be home with their families. Many wanted to both have a job and family.  Some women didn’t want to have children, and didn’t feel that made them incomplete, or less of a woman.  None of this had to be an either/or choice. And suddenly, women began to realize that we do, indeed, have choices. We could be the woman we were meant to be. We weren’t less than men, and the choice we could make didn’t make us less of a woman, or more of a woman. Whatever we chose, we could be gloriously all we were meant to be, and all we wanted to be.

 

Progress is coming and women will be a part of it. We will partner in the future with feminist men and make this a better, fairer, kinder world. There will be equality for all lives. All lives will have quality. Hunger will end and disease will be cured not just for the wealthy but for the less fortunate also.

 

Whether you are a silent feminist, an outspoken one or not a feminist doesn’t matter. The future is coming and together we will make it be better than it has ever been.

Namaste, Barbara

 

Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.

Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.

 

fgm11

Just What is a Feminist?


I chose my subject this evening because I read a social media comment which described a feminist as a woman somewhere between an angry alien and a rabid wild animal. Now, I did not respond to the individual because I continue to work for peace and compassion in the world and in my personal world.

 

In case you are not aware, I am proud to be a feminist. A feminist is a woman. Just like any other woman. There are some differences. Feminists are men and women who believe females are people just like any man is a person.

 

Feminists  also believe in equality. They believe that both sexes are born equal. Not every man can drive a race car at 100 mph, and not every woman can turn out a perfect Beef Wellington. Feminists do look at the world and see what is wrong and unjust. Some people look and turn away because what they see is horrific. For all of the wonderful people in this world of ours, there are many who are evil.

 

A feminist looks at what is wrong in the world and sees it and then begins to look at how it can be changed. Whether a feminist man or woman, they will not turn away from the ugliness but will work, speak out, write, protest to change the wrong.

 

We, as women, have the vote because of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and hundreds of Suffragettes (feminists) worked to make Congress to give us the vote. They even went to the dire length of handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They were arrested, and once in jail they went on a hunger strike and the media told the world and we got the vote. This is of course, a simplified version of the tale.

 

 

WeCon

I became a feminist in the seventies. Abuse was the issue that ignited my heart and passion. I do not believe that one person has the right to hit another. Women and children have the right to live without violence and fear. If a woman is the abuser, she needs to face the same consequences as any man who batters.

 

Women have the right to make their own decisions. To marry or not to. To pick her friends. Men have control over their bodies and the government would never think to tell them what to do with them. Even the man who hires the prostitute is usually protected from prosecution, while the woman is charged and will be in jail at least overnight. The government has repeatedly tried to control women’s bodies and how we choose to use them.

 

A feminist is a person who feels that women should receive equal pay for equal work. We have never had this in the USA. My sister found out she was making less than the men in her department. She was, justifiably, upset.  She was doing more work than literally anyone in the company (when she left, her duties had to be spread over 5 people), yet she still made less than men with less education. Was that right? No.

 

Some feminists are wonderful wives and mothers, both stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. It is what they choose to be and that is great. I, myself, have nine grandchildren. I have also marched for Hard Hatted Women. Women who wanted the right to work in construction. It is their right to choose how to support themselves and /or their families.

 

So, like black lives matter, so do women’s lives. And for those who disagree, perhaps a long look in a mirror would be a good thing to try. Hugs, Barbara

 

everynineseconds

Why Does She Stay?


I worked for years in Domestic Violence, and I have heard many, many stories of abuse.  I think that educating people about Domestic Violence, and that there IS help and that people DO care about their safety, and the safety of their children is the most important thing we can do to stop the violence.  There is away out, and people around you will help find it.
I have heard this story in many variations from hundreds of women.  There is nothing like hearing a victim’s story, and that she safely got out, to give a victim of abuse the courage to begin breaking their own silence and to begin planning their own way out.

 

domesticviolence_logo

 

Inside a Batterer’s mind — and his victim’s soul


Hello, all.   I am fighting off what may be the flu right now, but I found this article on CNN. I wanted to share it with you, to give you another perspective on Domestic Violence.

As always, if you are being abused — physically, psychologically, emotionally, verbally or sexually — please seek help.  Every city in the United States, and most around the world have hotlines you can call.   In the US, the National Domestic Violence hotline is always available at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

domesticviolence_logo

bjwordpressdivider

Domestic_violence

bjwordpressdivider

Peering inside a batterer’s mind — and his victim’s soul

Richard Pryor knew in 1978


There really is nothing new under the sun.  Police brutality against black men is nothing new, as you can see from this routine that the great Richard Pryor did in 1978.  (Caution: Strong Language)

Remember, every human being is equal.  We are all brothers and sisters in one family and one world.  We made need to say it louder and longer, but we can do that, you and I.  One Family on Mother Earth.  One Race – The Human Race.

The Long Term Effects of Violence


We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.

 

It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.

 

One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.

 

I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.

 

Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.

 

I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.

 

I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.

 

I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.

 

Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.

 

Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.

 

I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.

 

We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

 

We are all part of one human family.

We are all part of one human family.

 

May Peace Prevail

May Peace Prevail

 

The parts of a happy life.

The parts of a happy life.

 

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

The Sexism Behind Abuse


Many different ways have been devised for keeping women subordinated to men in patriarchal societies. Footbinding was used by the Chinese to cripple women for over a thousand years. Purdah, is the Muslim practice of secluding women from contact with men outside of the immediate family. Muslim women are to this day, are prisoners in their own homes. Clitoridectomy, the excision of the clitoris, is still practiced on millions of young, pre-puberty girls today in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq,  Guinea and Ethiopia.

 

Violence against women in the form of battering in the home and rape in and outside of the home is a major issue for societies to address and stop. Violence against women has happened so often for millennia. Yet women continue to leave in fear for their lives.

 

Women in Japan, Netherlands, France, Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, USA and Germany began to stand up for their human rights as women in the 1970’s. There has been much done to stop the battering but we have not ended violence against women.

 

As women, we demand that governments recognize the existence and extent of this problem in almost every society. We demand safety for ourselves and our children. I began work in Domestic Violence in the seventies, and here in America women continue to be killed, to face daily violence, to lose their self-respect and their hope. It is very difficult to find the courage to leave an abuser when he has twisted your actions and words to manipulate and control you.

 

Whether the abuser is male or female, the penalty for Domestic Violence must be increased. The perpetrator must be more severely punished.

 

Rape is the other type of violence against women that must be stopped. Rape has nothing to do with sex. It is constructed by a man’s need to have power and control over a woman. Men in sexist societies are surrounded by sexist views and attitudes which they use to validate their actions against women.

 

Male violence against towards women can not be eradicated without also eradicating the unequal power relationships between the sexes. Many sociologists feel that the traditional family need to be changed. Equality within domestic relationships is very important if we are to completely eradicate violence in families. This includes violence against children.

 

Spanking children is abuse. Slapping them is abuse. In addition, it teaches them that at the basic level, violence is the way to deal with problems and/or behaviors we are not comfortable with. This is why abuse is found in dysfunctional families. It is passed on from one generation to another. Children in violent homes, learn how to abuse and how to be a victim. No one should be a victim, ever.

 

I must also speak to teenage girls. There is nothing you can do that means your boyfriend has the right to abuse, hit, batter, slap or kick you. It is his issue and not yours. Talk to your guidance counselor or doctor or your parents.

“Love is never meant to hurt. It should never leave red marks, bruises, or broken bones.”  — Barbara Mattio

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

The first time you are beaten is the time you should leave. Abusers do kill women.

The first time you are beaten is the time you should leave. Abusers do kill women.

 

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.