Today, I found myself almost in tears on my rooftop. Tears over all the parts of the world that continue to break my heart. The parts that I can’t fathom. The parts where it is okay for children to starve, humans to suffer, and women to walk behind.
Over the past couple of weeks it has become increasingly apparent to me how the treatment of women as less than equal isn’t something we can merely blame on culture or religion, but rather on our acceptance as humans that this is tolerable. Because the truth is, it doesn’t just happen on the other side of the world. It doesn’t just happen in foreign belief systems, it happens everywhere. And it isn’t just supported by men, but also women themselves.
For the past week I have been listening to stories of women who have had their freedom to make choices about their life, stripped from their grasp. It has never been because of something they did, but rather the fact that the were created to carry babies. Something that should have caused them to be revered as a blessing, has instead brought silence to their lips, mutilation to their bodies, and bruises to their skin. As I saw the pain in these women’s eyes I couldn’t help but feel enraged by the disgusting parts of my world that continually tell women that they are not equal; that they don’t deserve the freedom to choose a life for themselves.
I would love to blame this on someone else’s culture, on the beliefs in a foreign land but the truth is the story is the same in Canada, it just looks a little different. I have seen a life be taken by a narcissistic boyfriend. I have seen a man steal a woman’s self-worth with lies about her dog’s level intelligence and her ugly heart. I have seen a woman cut into her arms the word that he used to degrade her, just so maybe the pain inside could be visible out. I have seen a man decide how a woman dressed, what she listened to, what she watched, who she talked to, where she worked, where she went, and virtually every aspect that constitutes a life. I have seen a man isolate a woman from her family, from her friends, from her own soul. And I have seen a man treat a woman as merely another possession, to be handled, to be used, to be discarded.
I have seen so many women allow a man to decide who they should be. Sometimes this is because they don’t know any different. Sometimes it is because they were raised that way. Sometimes it is because they are broken inside from trauma as a child. Sometimes it is because they are broken from the hands or words of another man. And sometimes it is because other women and our society tell them this is okay.
So this is not a condemnation but a plea from the bottom of my broken heart. We as females are never going to be the same as men, but it doesn’t mean we are not equal. I don’t condemn men. We have created systems where men dominate. Systems of religion, culture, business, and governance where men are told they have power over women and women are to be submissive. So it isn’t on the shoulders of men but on the shoulders of humans to ask ourselves what our positions of power and dominance are rooted in. It is on us as humans to seek value in every human being not based on anything physical but how we interact with one another and contribute to society. And finally it is on us as humans to demand and respect the rights of every soul to choose for themselves who they want to be.
And lastly this is a plea to the women, girls, reading this blog. You deserve to be loved as much as you love. You do not need anyone else to tell you how much you are worth. You are beautiful, you are able, and you are always going to be okay. True love, for God, for another person, for your family, will never make your life worse than before. It will never make you feel less adequate or wrong. It will never tell you that this is the best you can do, but will propel you to achieve more. True love breathes life into your existence. It inspires you, it enables you, it strengthens you. It is not isolating, it is freeing. It isn’t perfect but it is trying. Wait for true love, because I promise you, you don’t know how lucky you are to have the ability to do so.