#metoo – I was raised by a single mother who didn’t hide from me the reality of her life. I had a front-row seat growing up seeing her cat called, sexually harassed, shamed, manipulated, accosted, threatened, abused, beaten, raped, lied to, cheated on, and impregnated & infected with STIs by a lying & cheating lover. And while I was taught by her honesty and transparency with me, I was also the only one who was there to pick up the pieces and help her to move on….each…time… Trying to scrape by financially, we also took in foster kids from time to time to help make ends meet, and of the many abused children that we helped in our home, I’ll never forget the 13 year old girl who was placed with us in an emergency the night she was raped by her father…
So…I was raised knowing first hand some of the atrocities men inflict upon women in our “civilized culture”, and I took that with me into adulthood where I worked at family planning and in mental health for years, deepening my awareness of the scope and breadth of the problem. I’ve always felt most comfortable around emotionally intelligent people, so I have not surrounded myself with average guys. But over the years as I’ve come to understand more and more about my unique gift in this world, I’ve come to realize that it is to step up and help men learn emotional intelligence, character, communication tools, honesty, transparency, and CONSENT.
While in North America we have come far in the women’s movement, on this planet however women are still bought and sold like cattle, kept suppressed doing cooking and cleaning, and beaten and even killed at their husband or father’s whim. There is so much more work to be done. To me, the path forward for our planet to survive is to empower women worldwide with education and access to sexual health services and birth control.
I live in a machista & Roman Catholic society where I see every day how the women around me are suppressed into stereotypical gender roles. The average age of first pregnancy where I live in Central America is between 13 and 16. Abuse runs rampant in so many homes. So many women fear their husbands, have daughters are abused, and access to birth control is difficult, and support services are rare. The majority of young women end up stuck with endless childcare, no access to their own income stream, and dependent on a man who lies and cheats on her.
There is a better way. When the masculine and the feminine can live together with each supporting and validating each other with non-violence and equality, then there is a chance for peace in the household and on our planet.
I’ve started teaching consent. I’ve started teaching emotional intelligence and communication tools. We are part of a great awakening in the world, and in order to empower women we need to help our men to deepen their emotional skills and ability to have empathy…offering a lifeline to help unlearn the tenets and cornerstones of misogyny and replace them with consent culture and nonviolence skills.
Reading all of my friends’ #metoo shares is a profound gift. I bow humbly to you in respect, gratitude, and appreciation. By sharing your history publicly, you normalize this conversation and help everyone to see in undeniable clarity the size of the problem. This conversation is of the utmost importance, and many women in the world are completely unable to voice their mistreatment for fear of being beaten, abused, shamed, or further violated in some way. What a blessing facebook is for those of us who can make use of it to open this dialog and create an air of support, validation, and witnessing.
To all of the people who are too afraid to share their own #metoo story, I invite you to send me your story, and I will publish it for you anonymously so that your story is out there and heard, but no one will be able to trace it back to you. Just voicing the experience can be a step towards healing and moving on, as well as the solidarity that can be gained from receiving positive support through other people’s comments and feedback.
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