This Young Woman Walked Through Kabul Wearing Metal Armor To Protest Street Harassment
Artist-activist Kubra Khademi took to Kabul’s streets in a metal jacket in a defiant protest against sexual harassment.
posted on Feb. 27, 2015, at 11:02 a.m.
posted on Feb. 27, 2015, at 11:02 a.m.
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.
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.
Bloggers 4 Peace
I saw the Neurologist this morning. We had an unusual conversation. We talked about gratitude. I learned some interesting facts. Most of our conversation was taking place around the concepts of past, present and future. They are doing more and more research on the way the mind works.
I think this is a very important direction for neurology to go into. So little is really known about how our minds work. How do each of us learn best? How do we survive trauma and violence? What can we learn about how to deal with mental illness and the part it plays in violence in our world? Why are some people drawn to violence and some completely repulsed.
They know some victims of violence, have a brain that rewrites itself. It goes around the areas damaged by the pain, trauma and fear in the past. But do they all rewrite the same? Probably not, because some abused children become serial killers and some are good citizens who care about others.
Writing is one thing that scientists suggest as a way to deal with the traumas in our lives. When you sit down to write and put pen to paper, what comes out is the real truth and sometimes what we aren’t aware of on a conscious level. Free writing is putting pen to paper and just write without stopping. Write for thirty minutes. If you hit a block, write stuck, stuck, stuck until the words begin to flow again.
Scientists are doing case studies about going back to basics. To start at the very beginning. To go into a meditative state. Breathe in and out slowly and put your awareness on how the breath flows, how your heart is beating and how your lungs are taking in air and pushing used air out. As you finish the outbreath and are beginning to take your next in breath say thank you with an open heart. The thank you is for the fact that your body works. There may be parts that are not working right, but the basics work. Your body will take you where you need to go. Even if it constantly hurts, it is still working and you are here. So thank you is all that is required from you. It is pretty easy, yet it effects your mind and how your subconscious works.
The subconscious mind lets go of pain, trauma and fear. The future becomes brighter and manageable. The scientists have determined that chromosomes elongate and we begin to feel younger. I don’t think any of us would mind feeling younger.
Namaste to everyone.
Freedom Writers Teacher and role model (still from the Movie)
A little while ago, I wrote about a teacher in Long Beach, California who was teaching English to kids who had problems of some sort. I had watched the movie and discovered the book. It is available in bookstores and on Kindle and Nook. Ms. G. taught freshman and sophomore English. Well I am now reading the book which is an anthology of the student’s work. The students were told to write in their journals, and the anthology includes various entries from each of their journals.
To encourage participation without the possibility of humiliation, the journals were all anonymous, but the entries were numbered.
The students wrote about what was happening with their families and their lives, and why their English class in Room 203 with Ms. G became Home; for some of them a second Home, but for many, it was the only Home they had.
Some of them wrote about going home from school and opening the mail and finding an eviction notice. Others wrote about the fact that there was no food in their house, and no money to buy food. They wrote about being molested or physical beaten by their mother’s significant other. They wrote about watching their mothers being beaten, and trying to pull the abuser off their mothers while blood is running off their mother’s head.
Some of them wrote that they lived in very bad sections in Long Beach. , some children would stay late at school to finish their work, but because they lived in such dangerous areas it wasn’t safe to be out after dark, particularly for the girls. Ms. G would wait until the children left and even though she did not herself live in Long Beach, she would personally drive each child home to keep them safe.
More than one student wrote about how hard it was to keep their minds positive, to keep hope in their hearts, that they would get good grades, and be able to do everything that they wanted to. They were surrounded by negativity, and that was what made it so hard. Everywhere they looked, there was negativity. This negativity was where the violence and the gang life style, and the intolerance and bigotry that surrounded them came from.
The students learned through Ms. G’s class to respect themselves and to believe in themselves. They wrote of seeing the whole world differently after reading books, biographies like Zlata’s Diary, that showed them that other people have gone through really difficult times and survived, and got stronger, and turned themselves into better people.
The students wrote about how reading opened up the world to them, and they learned about what was possible, not matter where you lived or what kind of background you had, you could be a person who gave backed to the world. You could make your life be how you wanted to be, instead of what the world said it had to be.
One student even wrote how her mother ever gave her curfews or rules to follows, so she got the idea that she should give herself curfews, because she didn’t want people to know that her mother was neglecting her. She felt like she had raised herself, and that it wasn’t easy.
After they had compiled their journals, choosing the pages to submit, Ms. G had the compilation turned into a book. Ms. G then contacted the Secretary of Education, and told him about her students and their projects, past and present, and about the book created from their project. He invited them to come in person to bring him the book. Ms. G and the students earned the money for the trip to Washington, DC, and got to meet the Secretary, who was very impressed with their book. SOme of the students were blown away just walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. When they reached the Washington Memorial, they encircled the monument, held hands, sang and said prayers.
Some of the students wrote about that trip, and how they felt so light and full of hope joined together around the Washington Monument.
When they returned to Long Beach, they found out that another student in their school, not a Freedom Writer, had taken a trip to Vegas with friends, and while their brutally raped and murdered a 7 year old girl, while another student watched and did nothing to stop it. The students wrote about the difficulty of balancing the positive energy from the trip with the horrific news that someone they knew had raped and murdered a little girl. It was a difficult time but they made it through together, and when the media came to the school looking for headlines about the murder, they went out against school regulations, and sang and talked to the media not about the horror perpetrated by one student, but about what the 150 or so of them had accomplished instead.
The negativity that surrounded these students is what is causing the distrust, distress and violence in the world today, but this wonderful teacher and her courageous students stand as a shining example of what positive energy, hope and understanding can do to make the world a better place.
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