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  •  We're all in this together, each and everyone (4.00)
    Wow, Stuart, just wow.  Not very eloquent I know but so many of the things you said are spot on.

    Thank you for your words about the rape.  I've had years to heal from it, I started therapy when I was in my early twenties, I realized I wanted and deserved to have a good life, a full life, a healthy sex life and was very fortunate to find good therapists to work with.   I wish the same was true for all girls and women who go through this kind of trauma.   In a nation of 390 million people, half of them female, and a country where one in every three women will have been the victims of rape, it is staggering just how many women that is.  It is also an outrage that nothing has been done to stop or greatly reduce this heinous statistic.  It is a disgrace, every person in this country should live with the shame of such brutality.

    People are shocked and horrified by the visions of NO and how closely our country resembled a third world country, and rightfully so.   What is also shocking and horrifying is how close we are to some third world countries in the numbers of rapes and violence that happen every single day in this country.  Every 9 seconds a woman or girl is the victim of domestic violence.  That doesn't count how many women are violated and victims of violence by strangers.  

    In the time it takes us to write responses to each other's comments think about how many women have been beaten, murdered or raped.  It is so far from any kind of justice we say every American is entitled to it's beyond the pale of what should be allowed or condoned but condone it we do with each passing 9 seconds of the clock.  Write a sentence, another woman dies.  Write one more, another woman is in an ambulance on her way to the hospital.  Write one more, another child hears their mother beaten black and blue.  In what world is that acceptable?  

    That brings us to another point of yours.  You ask why women don't stand up for each other.  There are millions of women who speak out, women who fight every single day for women, in shelters, in churches, in Mosques, in our homes.  Women don't have a voice in this country so alot of it is done away from the spotlight but we are out there.  Another reason is because there are so many women who suffer everyday from this kind of violence.  It covers every ethnic group, every age, every economic level.  It's in the poorest parts of the country and the richest parts.  It's in our grammar schools, junior high, high schools and colleges.  It's in the workplace, in the doctor's offices, in the parks, in our homes.  It's our babies up to our elders.  

    There is fear to keep us from talking.  There is shame, there is the vow of silence, there is embarassment, there is retribution.  There are the prayers and the wishes for it to stop.  There is denial.  There is not wanting to rock the boat or the belief, real or imagined, that we can't make it on our own.  There are economics, poverty, our children, our skill level or lack thereof, there is the fact that many women are told they will be killed if they leave.  

    I have been so blessed with the women who surround me.  I don't know of much of what you speak, I don't know women who hate each other.  I haven't worked around women who are jealous or cruel to each other.  I haven't been harshly judged or made to feel less than.  I live in a world where women learn how to protect themselves.  I live around women who speak freely of the plight of women, we support each other, we house each other, we feed each other, we look out for each other.  I'm blessed to be in that circle of girlfriends who honestly don't know what we would do without each other.  Even on Kos there is a group of women who are each others touchstones.   Women who inspire each other to be better, to do better, to congratulate one another or to reach out a hand for a friend in need.  

    I started fighting for the ERA forty years ago.  It is still a deeply held belief that women deserve and must have equality in the Constitution.  I honestly don't know why it has never passed Congress to make it to the states for ratification since 1972.  It's another disgrace in my eyes.  It goes beyond reason why women would vote against it but I have a hope that if it's true that extremism and the pendulum having swung so far to the right, is the perfect time to wage another war for it, then I'm ready.  I am a stalwart believer that many issues would fall into place if it were unconstitutional for them not to.

    My hope is also that there are more women who stand up for themselves than don't but for those that don't or don't see the value in other women, all I can say is we will fight for them also because it's what women who do do.  I have to believe also that if we are vocal, if we refuse to shut up, if we offer safety and security, if we continue to reach out those women who live behind their fear will know they have a place to go, those women who live a lie behind a gated community will know we are waiting for them, women who live in quiet desperation will know we will continue to speak out for them until they are ready to speak for themselves.  It's all about not giving up, for ourselves and for each other.  That's all we have afterall, is each other.  Welcome to our club Stuart, we've been waiting for you also.

    Katrina changed everything, you bet your sweet ass it did. "Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy." Reuel Gerecht

    by caliberal on Sun Sep 11, 2005 at 08:47:54 PM PDT

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    •  And a heartfelt wow for you, too (none)
      I was sitting here mulling over how to respond to Stuart's post, when you said what I wanted to, and far more eloquently than I would have. Great to read some good old-fashioned righteous feminism, and from such an effective writer.

      Thanks, also, for trusting us with that searing personal testimony. I'm deeply grateful and moved to have read your story.

      Don't ever stop speaking out.

      •  Damn, we're good (none)
        Thank you for such kind words.  I found such hope in Stuarts posts tonight.  He questions so much, is so willing to ask, and he's hungry for answers.  I find it heartening when men want to understand so badly they dare to speak up.  

        Another old fashioned feminist, Dorothy Allison, wrote, "Stories are the one sure way to touch the heart and change the world." It's the best of what I have to give, my truth, my story.  It's really as simple as that.  

        I have a feeling we've got another great and righteous feminist onboard.  It's wonderful to have you.  I especially enjoyed this from you in another post.

        Deck the halls with Boston Charlie
        Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo.
        Nora's riding on a trolley,
        Swaller holler cauliflower alley garoo!

        Don't we know archaic barrel
        Lullaby, lily boy, Louisville Lou,
        Trolley Molly don't love Harold
        Pensacola boolah boolah Hullabaloo!

        What's a night without some good ole' girl time pee pee laughter?  Damn, we're good.  

        Katrina changed everything, you bet your sweet ass it did. "Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy." Reuel Gerecht

        by caliberal on Sun Sep 11, 2005 at 11:38:35 PM PDT

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    •  Thanks for the Welcome (none)
      It's good to find someone to fight along side of.

      Thanks for your thoughts and words; I'll take them, think about them, and talk about them with others.

      I also need to research exactly why whatever policies and statutes we have here in NYC don't work with respect to protecting women (and whether or not those policies fail because they fail to address womens' cultural issues).  

      This can only help, I hope.

      Thanks again, see you around here.

      •  StruartZ (none)
        Are you reachable by email? Not sure this is proper Kos etiquette, I'm still just a proby around here, but I can't stop thinking about your posts here, and I would love to talk to you directly about the questions you raise. I think I've got too much to say to fit comfortably into this thread, so let me know if you feel like continuing the conversation.

        And let me echo Caliberal, and say it's great to see men taking these questions seriously.

        •  BC (none)
          I'm not sure about proper Kos etiquette either, but:

          stuartzmailbox-dailykos@yahoo.com.

          re: "...it's great to see men taking these questions seriously"

          I'm just concerned; it seems natural to me.

          What's on your mind?

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