Some of my posts come from the heart, some from the head. This one comes from the gut. It’s difficult to write because I’m swamped with strong emotions I don’t quite know how to express. So I’ll simply tell you the truth. I’ve recently come across three troubling blogs. One is written by a woman who describes the sad and dangerous life she lived as a prostitute in New York City for ten years. A second expresses a woman’s disenchantment with her religion because of the oppression she’s experienced. A third is by a woman who is regularly abused by her husband and wishes she lived in America. None of these women make excuses or plead for sympathy. They simply tell the truth about their lives. And the truth is shocking, painful, and scary.
It’s shocking to know how many women suffer at the hands of men who fear and hate them. Shocking to know how often the authorities responsible for protecting women feel justified in not doing their jobs. Painful to know that so many women in today’s world are mistreated simply because they’re female. Painful to realize I’d rather turn away than face this truth. Scary because it reminds me how vulnerable I am…because I’m a female.
I started this post a few hours ago and was almost finished when I accidentally deleted it. So I had a little inner discussion that went like this: “Oh, darn! It’ll take too long to try to rewrite it. I should just start over with another topic that’s easier to write about.”
My conscience responded with, “Are you sure you didn’t unconsciously delete it accidentally on purpose so you’d have an excuse not to post it? Are you perhaps feeling a wee tad cowardly?”
Oops. We bandied this about until the doorbell rang. It was my daughter, granddaughters and granddog who’d dropped by for a brief visit. I told my daughter how I didn’t know if I wanted to re-create the post and she said, “Why don’t you just write another one about how conflicted you’re feeling? Wouldn’t that be appropriate for your blog?” Yes, indeedy it would! How’d she get so smart?
So I’ve decided to tell the truth I don’t want to think or write about. A web site called Archetype in Action has been publishing posts of mine for several months in the hope of raising psychological awareness about the unconscious forces in ourselves and society that perpetuate the abuse of women. Last week they posted an older one about the feminine principle in men and women, only to have their site hacked. Someone deleted my article and replaced it with a formal-looking notice saying it was inappropriate! The site manager provided another link and the problem was solved. But is the real problem solved?
This morning’s e-mail contained the latest post from the blogger who’s experienced oppression by her religion and culture. In it she expressed her anger at the hypocrisy of a religion that makes scholarly pronouncements emphasizing women’s rights while dismissing the women who do not experience these rights. After I read it I clicked on the link to her site so I could make a comment. Guess what. The post was gone and there was a notice that said: “Not Found, Error 404. The page you are looking for no longer exists.”
Here I am, a well-intentioned, well-loved, well-treated woman in 21st century America, afraid to express my anger about injustices against women for fear of becoming a target for misogyny. Is a world where women are afraid to tell the truth the kind of world in which we want our daughters and granddaughters to grow up?