As a woman in the greater New York area, who worked in show business as a younger person, fighting off unwanted advances of agents, casting directors and fellow performers, was a way of life for me. I wrote “Me too” on my Facebook status, like countless others, but did not post my war stories. But the above article in the New York Times really made my blood boil. It speaks volumes to the argument against the domination of patriarchal religiosity. It speaks to the organized abuse of women and children by a patriarchal system that cannot be accepted. Women must not be complicit in this abuse of other women and children. Patriarchal fundamentalism in all so-called religions cannot be tolerated, whether it wears the mask of faux Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism. I am not against the true spiritual teachings of mercy and compassion.

I found this essay by my friend Zelda and it gave me hope for the future.

An essay below by my wise friend Zelda Hall, an Irish born transpersonal psychologist living in beautiful Amsterdam:

THE #METOO CAMPAIGN AND THE CALL TO BECOMING FULLY HUMAN
Yesterday I had a discussion with a (male) friend of mine about the #metoo campaign in which women are speaking out about the many times we have been assaulted in one way or another by a man and we have often kept quiet about it because we wouldn’t be believed, might get into even deeper trouble, be killed, or lose our job on which we were dependent to keep ourselves or our kids alive. Or we just accepted that this was what we had to subject ourselves to if we were to get on in the world as we are all told is what we are here for. To be “successful”
Some men have joined in, in different ways. Some to support women and others to admit their own oppressive behaviour and yet others to say ME TOO.
Of course I too have had to deal with the assaults that many women talk about. The abuse of power.
The older boy who flashed at me in the woods when I was a young girl. So that the woods, which were a place I loved were no longer quite so lovely. The doctor who insisted that he had to do a breast examination when I went to him for the pill. The Spanish bloke who tried to rape me when I thought we were only going to share bananas and milk at his place, not bodily fluids. After he tore the buttons off my blouse and almost broke the zip on my trousers, I got him off me by shouting ‘you bastard’. He only stopped because felt insulted by that word! I had bruises on my breasts. I have never felt paralysed, as is a common reaction, fight or freeze, when attacked in this way. I am very lucky. I managed to fight off an attacker in a New York street at seven in the morning when I was 22. I could run faster than he could.
I have never felt afraid of men.
My mother told me a story about how when she was a school teacher, all the women teachers would pass the word on not to be alone with a certain school inspector when he came to the school. No-one complained to ‘the authorities’. So many of us learned to avoid certain men or situations. Some of us could not avoid them.
There were and still are too many of these stories. There were and still are people who say well ‘that’s what men are like’. Or ‘boys will be boys’.
But I don’t believe that that is what men are like. I do believe that all of us suffer under a system that needs to change if we are to continue to live on this planet.
We must evolve from what Rianne Eisler called the dominator culture, to partnership. From culture that believes that there must always be someone on top. That there are only winners and losers. That accumulation of material goods is that which will ensure our rise to the top of the pyramid and will insulate us against misery .
To a culture in which we think as ‘we’ as not as ‘them’ and ‘us’ where we can be partners and allies in innovative ways of solving the planetary crisis.
You may say I’m dreamer but I’m not the only one.
I am reading Roddy Doyle’s book ‘Smile’ at the moment. It is painful. The main character, Vincent, describes in such exquisite detail how the boys in his school are brutalised by the members of a religious order who are teaching them. And how this abuse of power is reiterated in the boys’ relationships with each other.
And in his internal world.
One of my very dearest friends suffered from this same brutality. It injured him deeply.
A prominent Dutch male journalist speaks out about a well known media figure who raped him when he was much younger and just starting out. On TV, several male commentators on a programme about football laugh uneasily about what he has told. Seemingly totally unable to face the implications of it and acknowledge their own discomfort.
Women have taken the lead here and have risked being attacked yet again for telling their stories.. This is why some women really resent men ’jumping on the bandwagon’ and starting to speak out about their own abuse under the same hashtag, as part of the same campaign. I understand this.
The men need to do this for themselves. Not in the form of whatabouttery. We women cannot do the work for men. There are men who are addressing this. Who are confronting, supporting, and embracing their fellow men.
There are plenty of women who have abdicated to patriarchal authority structures. There are mothers who have abused their sons. There are women who have started wars and sent their sons off to do battle, to be martyrs. There are women who demand that their men support them financially and then berate them for not earning enough or not spending enough time with their families. And there are women who tell other women who speak out to shut up.
We all must acknowledge our misuse of power. Our contempt for others or for parts of ourselves. Our dismissal of our tenderness and hurt and inability to protect ourselves or others. And we must become fierce in our defence of life and our planet.
Many evolved women are yearning for men who have found a sense of purpose, who can acknowledge the parlous state of humanity and our treatment of the planet. So that we can be allies in evolution towards a more expanded state of being in which we can dismantle the patriarchal structures which we have allowed to hold us captive for so long. And which are slowly killing us all.
It is essential that we learn to communicate well, that we can listen, that we can hear. That we can hear the pain of another without wanting to jump in and say what about me? That we can acknowledge our role in creating that pain. Without simply becoming stranded in guilt and shame. That we can begin to create the kind of world in which all life is honoured. And that we honour the spark of life, the call to becoming fully human that lives in us all. That we live in service to this greater calling.

Sunset by Zelda Hall

Advertisements