They keep telling us we can’t, because they’re afraid we will.
This International Women’s Day, I feel it is important for me to express the suffering of women the world over as a way to honour those women amongst us, including myself and most of the women I know, who have experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence. That violence is about the retention of power by wielding fear. Fear is the greatest form of control. When we speak out about that fear we reduce its hold on all of us.
I have been told many times that anger is a dangerous emotion to display, that it is destructive. Anger does not mean hate. We have been told over and over again that anger in women is ugly. I believe we can be simultaneously angry, compassionate and loving. Anger can propel us towards action. Anger can lead us to pursue love as a form of resistance. Anger does not immediately translate into a hatred for men. Men – do not take these words as an attack, hear it as a rally cry against the injustices perpetuated against us every day. Be allies by standing by our sides and hearing the ways in which we want to be supported.
A war has been waged against women for too long now – we will not stand for it any longer, the patriarchy should be quaking in its tiny little boots.
We can and must pursue the right for women to exist in a world that respects us as equals. I will tell you this: They keep telling us we can’t, because they’re afraid we will.
?We are still being raped, beaten, oppressed and murdered in our thousands, we are still being denied our basic rights, our basic humanity. We are still being silenced because we are powerful, self determining beings without whom the capitalist system will collapse. We are the free labour as child bearers and home makers even though they have devalued our contribution for centuries. We are the free labour and we carry on our backs a system which ensures our ongoing slavery. We fill the casual work force and are denied stability. We are overwhelmingly the teachers and nurses and carers and cleaners. We are the ones paid the lowest for the most important work.
If we want freedom from subjugation then we must remain angry and speak out against inequality in all the places we see it. We must find the courage to know our self worth and speak out against objectification. We must ensure we remain resiliently vulnerable enough to share our stories and find strength in each other and our experiences. We must be brave enough to demand more than just equal pay – we must demand infrastructure and funding for womens services, childcare, shelters, legal representation and more. We must rally against victim blaming and demand perpetrators of violence be held accountable – we must not buy into the “good guy” rhetoric. We must stand in solidarity with our Aboriginal sisters, our refugee sisters, all those sisters who suffer even greater injustices than our own – we must in fact acknowledge that the world over, there are women suffering in ways unimaginable. We are not free until every single sister is free.
We must refuse to be silenced, we must speak.
WE MUST SPEAK.
We must stand strong in our truths and mine is this:
I refuse to be silenced by a system that has told me from birth I am worthless unless I pander to the male gaze, produce babies for the economy or become a slave myself. I will always speak out and speak up. I will remain angry until equality is achieved globally and I will always act from a place of absolute love and not hate.
Love is the greatest form of resistance, sisters, WE CAN DO THIS.