Power to the Women of the World

Saturday 1439 – 29th December 2012

Million women

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There is a natural kind of freedom that sisterhood holds…
A unity of sisters in a common cause.
Glorious,fully self acknowledged, fabulous.
Free from Self doubt, Self hatred and Self treachery.
The collection of Sisters that honours the feminine spirit and their global contribution.
The space for Self love, authentic Self expression and creativity.
Brimming with organic,intuitive and non-linear ideas and theories.
The stand that all Sisters, everywhere, fearlessly proclaim their bold Self and lead the
Charge to healing and transforming the planet.
The freedom for all sisters is simply to be true to self.

In sisterhood and solidarity,
Million Women Rise

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What is a woman’s life worth?  It seems in many parts of the world it is still not worth very much.  This is of course a complex subject and a blog post cannot do it justice so, by necessity, I am going to try to keep this as brief as I can manage

Most of you will know that 2 weeks ago in South Delhi a “young physiotherapy student, was beaten with an iron rod and repeatedly raped on a bus by six men, before her naked body  was thrown from the moving vehicle onto a road”;  her boyfriend was also savagely beaten. Sadly the woman has died from her injuries.

This has rightly caused outrage but sadly is not an isolated incident. 

On Wednesday, a 17-year-old girl from a village near Patiala, in Punjab,  killed herself  six weeks  after she was abducted, drugged and gang-raped by  three men.   In her suicide note she blamed her attackers and police hostility for  destroying her life. Police initially refused to formally register a complaint  from the woman  and only acted to arrest her attackers after she had killed  herself”

There is strong evidence too that female fetuses are being aborted in India  “In 1961, for every 1,000 boys under the age of seven, there were 976 girls. Today, the figure has dropped to a dismal 914 girls.”

Gendercide is happening in other countries too, notably China, with its one child policy ( though there are rural exceptions) , where boys are seen as an asset and girls as a drain because they marry into another family and don’t support their parents.

Honour killings too continue in many countries around the world when young girls refuse to marry who their parents want them to or are seen to disgrace the family in other ways.

It’s down not only to culture but to money. (aren’t most things? ) Having boys means someone to carry on the lineage, to work to keep you in old age and in some countries to bring in a dowry ( bride’s parents pay a dowry to the bridegrooms parents in India even though India outlawed dowries in 1961,)

But this post isn’t just about  what is happening in the developing world. Oh yes it is very easy for those with thinly hidden “racist” tendencies to develop a “them and us attitude” by saying it couldn’t possibly happen in the civilised West. Of course that isn’t true, Britain for example has a very poor record in relation to convicting rapists.

UN figures on recorded rape ( doesn’t say whether recorded means reported, brought to trial, or convicted) shows there were nearly 16000 in 2010  or 28.8 per 100,000 of the population,in England and Wales alone and as research suggests between 75 and 95% go unreported you can see this is a very big problem indeed.

For information – Figures for 2010 for USA  were 84767 or 27.3 per 100,000, India 22172  or 1.8 per 100,000 with South Africa at 277,012  or 120 per 100,000  !   I appreciate that definitions of rape are inconsistent but I’m sure you get the idea.

American Republicans recently dismissed  “reproductive rights and other women’s issues as a “distraction” from the economy” and the unbelievably stupid Todd Akin said he “understand[s] from doctors” that rape-induced pregnancies are “really rare,” and that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Give me strength!!

It’s also widely believed throughout the Western world as well as in the developing world that if women dress provocatively, drink alcohol or behave in a “certain way” that they somehow deserve to be raped or otherwise mistreated.  THEY/WE DON’T.

Following the bus rape that I mentioned above ” Dr Anita Shukla, a female scientist at a prestigious rural university, told a ”women’s  empowerment” seminar in Madhya Pradesh the rape victim’s injuries were her own  fault.” 

”Had the girl simply surrendered when surrounded by six men, she would not  have lost her intestine,” Dr Shukla said. ”Why was she out with her boyfriend  at 10pm?”

Dr Shukla said the woman should not have resisted. ”When a group of men  intend to rape, they will do it. The victim should save herself for bringing the  perpetrators to book.”   She later apologised !! or was made to maybe?  Women are sometimes as guilty for letting the prejudices go unchallenged.

don't tell your daughter

So how do we change this?  It’s in ALL our hands, each and every one of us but particularly women who must be brave and strong as only women can be.

Mothers teach your sons respect for girls/women and your daughters, respect for themselves.  Teach them all about Love and Compassion for each other.

Does this mean I blame women for what is happening. Absolutely NOT but I believe woman must take the power to determine their lives because  history shows that men will try to keep it from us.  

The quote at the very top of this page is taken from this website http://www.millionwomenrise.com/  “Million Women Rise is a collective of women who work autonomously as volunteers, without any corporate sponsorship or formal funding. We promote real change that is based on truth, unity and solidarity, peace and love.”

There will be a march in London on the 9th March. I will certainly be there to show solidarity with all women in the world who suffer violence and discrimination.

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I am the woman

I am the woman who is unstoppable
I am the woman
Whose dreams are immeasurable
I am the woman
Of a different breed, unbelievable
I am the woman
Of all times, incredible
I am a woman
With passion and purpose, unspeakable
I am the woman
Who decides where I should fall
In this universe, unpredictable
I am the woman
Who refuse to lessen my dreams
To meet man’s expectation, inconceivable
I am a woman
Of greatness and this greatness
Should never be compromise, remarkable
I am that GREAT WOMAN

Kathy Elliott

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I know I have many male readers and I apologise to those I know out there who are kind and loving but I felt all this had to be said.  There is a page on Million women which gives guidance on what you can do to help and you can read it here http://www.millionwomenrise.com/men-and-boys.html 

Finally John Lennon wrote this beautiful song about Woman.. I wish more men would recognise they are nothing without women and indeed owe them a debt of gratitude..

WOMAN

(for the other half of the sky)

Woman I can hardly express
My mixed emotions at my thoughtlessness
After all I’m forever in your debt
And woman I will try to express
My inner feelings and thankfulness
For showing me the meaning of success

Woman I know you understand
The little child inside of the man
Please remember my life is in your hands
And woman hold me close to your heart
However distant don’t keep us apart
After all it is written in the stars

Woman please let me explain I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain
So let me tell you again and again and again

I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah

You wanna hear John Lennon sing this wonderful song click on the photo below

Photo%20of%20John%20and%20Yoko

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Some Sources or other reading – http://www.theage.com.au/world/insults-fly-as-rape-victims-fight-for-life-takes-grim-turn-20121228-2bz6y.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13264301

http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/do-indian-men-benefit-from-being-married-in-exchange-of-dowry/

http://www.theage.com.au/world/insults-fly-as-rape-victims-fight-for-life-takes-grim-turn-20121228-2bz6y.html

http://teamoyeniyi.com/2012/12/29/i-am-woman-hear-me-roar/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sex_ratio

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2012/08/21/gop-platform-committee-would-ban-abortion-even-save-woman-life-adding-furor-over-senate-candidate-offensive-remarks-rape/z8RUoesNCeEfX5N0BXqWtJ/story.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/31/china-thinktank-abolition-one-child-policy

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Saturday Girl signing off now. I’ll see you next week. I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here . I have just finished a year of posting at least one photo a day; a 366 . I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already

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23 comments on “Power to the Women of the World

  1. Bindu says:

    Thank you for this post. Women need such repeated, compassionate reassurance. But it rarely reaches the lower sections of the society. And in developing countries the restrictions from the family and religion are too powerful for them to resist.The responses from ‘important’ personalities lay bare the cheap mindset of the people – even the educated ones. One engineer feels that a famous (of course independent and bold) TV anchor needs to be tamed down using rape!

  2. […] Last week I wrote a very serious post called Power to the Women of the World if you haven’t read it I hope you will as it’s an important subject. You can read it here […]

  3. Rachael says:

    As a mother of teenagers, I feel a strong responsibility to raise my son to respect women but also to raise my daughter to be strong and independent. It may seem trivial compared to recent (and, it transpires, eternal) events in India, but I have felt concerned by recent trends in teenage , and even younger, girls’ culture in this country. Luckily, my daughter has contempt for certain fads that do not empower women. I might mention the Twilight series as an example. But I know other mothers who struggle with girls more prone to succumb to peer pressure, girls who are being encouraged to think of themselves as sexual beings earlier and earlier and girls who are growing up in a pop culture that seems to value women according to their ability to attract men. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity last year to be part of a steering group through the Lucy Faithful Trust advising a company planning a new social networking programme for junior schools. One of the games on the site involved dressing figures, a virtual version of paper dolls. The prototypes were all well-developed female figures, with breasts and waspish waists, standing in supermodel poses. The clothes were also what one might expect to see young adults wear on a night out, And this was aimed at 7-11 year-olds! Fortunately, the company was responsible enough to take our objections into account, but generally it seems we are moving backwards as a society in our raising of girls. Incidentally, I do think the recent TV advertisement warning boys against rape is rather good. I know you do not have a TV but perhaps you have seen it while visiting one of your family members? What do you think?

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks for your thoughful reply. I’m glad you got the opportunity to have input with the steering group… and I agree we do seem to be moving backwards when it comes to raising girls.. The equality women fought for through feminism wasn’t meant to mean women behaved as men ( rather badly in some instances! ) it was meant to give women the same opportunities as men. I hadn’t seen the advert but have now as I googled it.. powerful stuff.

  4. clinock says:

    Powerful but heart breaking words – I am so ashamed of my gender but want you to know that we are not all mindless, heartless and power hungry perpetrators of evil. Many of us are trying to change this seemingly endless insanity…

  5. Adrian Lewis says:

    Hi Helen! Two points from me. First I have just received a long email from Sonali Dalal re the 2nd class position of women in India. I mentioned the cast system in India – inbuilt class distinctions – but I imagine that this 2nd class place of Indian women exists within each cast.

    Second, I regret very much the suppression of the sacred feminine by many world churches – as for example our dear old CoE a few weeks back! Maybe this is one reason why I have pagan leanings.

    Anyway, despite all this >>> Happy New Year! Looking forward to much more from you in 2013. Adrian

  6. […] across the world. My friend Helen has wrotten a great article with facts and links. Go to Power to the Women of the World.  Helen links to Million Women Rise. […]

  7. scillagrace says:

    In my own family, one of the four women has been raped. That’s a small sampling and not quite a statistic, but it is a story, a place of suffering, a place of reckoning and healing, of shame and police inquiry, of confusion and silence, of gender and generation gap, of communication inhibition. And it is only one story. We all need to take responsibility for our relationships across the entire web of interaction. We harm living things daily and get harmed daily. Speak about what that is, how that happens, what we do about it, what we want to be and become. It’s very important work. I know you do this work intentionally, with much effort, and I am grateful to you! I really have a hard time hearing someone suggest that a woman “surrender” to a metal rod as a method of self-preservation. No. Just – no. May she rest in peace.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      I am sorry to hear these words of yours Scilla .. I think you alluded to it on another post…. Rape doesn’t just affect the victim but the individuals family, partner, friends, and community.. Indeed it affects all of us; the whole of society. Writing this post had a profound affect on me.. When I started this blog I had not expected it to be used in such a powerful way.. but I am glad.

  8. Genette Midwinter says:

    Thank you, Helen, it needs to be said, and repeated. Our children need to be educated, girls and boys, to respect one another. Why are there so many violent people?

  9. Mark Goodwin says:

    Way to go girl!! You have my support anytime you want it. I brought up my three sons to respect, honour and love women the way that I loved their mother. Thank God they learnt their lessons well and will pass them on their sons.

  10. Team Oyeniyi says:

    Brilliant Helen. Thank you.

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