Archive for the ‘Women’ Category
When I thought about writing this essay, blog, (whatever it turns out to be), I had several real attention grabbing, and very witty, opening lines. (more…)
In a rare triumph of human rights in Afghanistan, a young woman who was jailed for “zina” (adultery) has been pardoned by President Karzai. (more…)
A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knife point by dousing him in gasoline and setting him on fire. He died of his injuries eleven days later in hospital.
Come and Join us for our launch on the
23rd April 2011
launch starts at 2pm and finishes at 5pm, we are having a family funday for volunteers children from 2pm to 7pm Followed by a concert from 6pm to 10pm.
We are having this event to showcase the reason that we are being set up and to fundraise for future events. As we will be having further family fundays, concerts, fashion shows and auctions, so that we can show the public that we can show that we can encourage people that art & crafts, music, sports and outdoor activities are an excellent medium for recovery of trauma that has been inflicted by abuse.
These mediums are not only an excellent tool to heal the mental, psychological and pyscical recovery, but they heal the soul. So during our events we will always have speakers who can speak about many mediums about recovery and wellbeing. From surivors, researchers, artists and proffessionals who work within the health proffession who have used these forms of recovery for their service users.
We are also going to set up projects after the launch for people who have suffered trauma to be able to set up their own projects to enable them to take charge of their own recovery and enable them to become more socially and economically active. We will be doing this by assisting them to source micro finance to start up their projects.
We will also have a youth section of the foundation, where young people from the age 14-25 will be able to put forward projects that will enhance their communities socially. The membership will chose which projects that we assist bring into friutation. The young people whose projects are chosen will recieve a Community Champion Award from the Foundation and the trustees will oversee these projects.
What, I ask you, is the worth of a woman?
Can it be measured against the force of a clock,
stuck into a wall,
ticking against time and perceived accomplishment?
Is it to be given compliments
as to the shape of a body or a countenance that draws glances?
Or is it the longer view,
the sound of her voice
without regard to physicality?
Is it two half moons
she wakes with
each day beneath her chin; yet,
above the mid-point of life?
Is the worth of a woman
to disregard herself?
To take herself lightly
in half smiles?
Decorum. How charming.
Or is her weight
that can not measured
in present time?
of her soul nor diminishment of the purity of her heart
The unbidden, unguarded
Where her soul drops as golden tears upon the ones she loves
- Words Of A Belle: The Aspects Of A Woman (urbanbellemag.com)
Ms. Shelley Seale, a humanitarian and now guest blogger, shares with us a moving piece on the price and plight of innocence. It is a piece born from the heart. As you approach the end of Ms. Seale’s narrative, she also graciously shares with us general statistics on the day to day societal warfare waged knowingly against children. May peace be with you as you share your moments with Ms. Seale and pass on her moving piece, information and website to all that you know.
With no further introduction…
“The plane started its final descent, and my heart began to race. It was March of 2005, and I had been traveling halfway around the world for nearly two days to volunteer in an orphanage in northeast India, with the Austin-based nonprofit The Miracle Foundation. I had been sponsoring a child who lived there but had never visited the country before, and my stomach tightened as the plane touched down and I waited impatiently for the exit doors to open.
I had never expected to be in India. It wasn’t the exotic beauty that had drawn me. It wasn’t the storied, ancient history of the country or its rich and varied culture. It was not the colors or the spices or the sounds or the spirituality of the place. India is all of these things, to be sure; but they were not what pulled me close, made the place somehow a part of my soul before I had even arrived.
It was the children.
They are everywhere. They fill the streets, the railway stations, the shanty villages. Some scrounge through trash for newspapers, rags or anything they can sell at traffic intersections. Others, often as young as two or three years old, beg. Many of them are homeless, overflowing the orphanages and other institutional homes to live on the streets. Amidst the growing prosperity of India, there is an entire generation of parentless children growing up, often forced into child labor and prostitution – more than twenty-five million in all. They are invisible children, their plight virtually unnoticed by the world, their voices silenced.
And in the small town outside Cuttack, a hundred miles south of Calcutta, one man named Damodar Sahoo had dedicated his life to providing some sort of family for one hundred of these children, assisted by donations and volunteers from the United States. I had no way of knowing just how much they would change my life.
Eleven dazed Americans emerged into piercing sunlight and walked across the tarmac to the small terminal. As we entered Caroline Boudreaux, founder of The Miracle Foundation, was immediately spotted by Damodar – known to all simply as “Papa.” He pulled Caroline into a hug across the metal bars separating the passengers from those waiting for them. He lifted his large, thick 1980s style glasses from the bridge of his nose and dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief, overcome with joy at seeing his American “daughter” again and the group she had brought along to visit the children he cared for. Alongside him were his wife, two women who worked at the orphanage, and three of the children. As we showed our passports and entered the gate, one by one, the little girls handed us each a bouquet of flowers, kissing their fingers and bending down to touch our feet in a blessing.
The visitors and our luggage were crammed into vehicles and we zoomed down the main road, which was dirt peppered with potholes, narrowly missing bicycles, pedestrians, cows and rickshaws. India was everything I had imagined it would be – only more so. More colors, more noises, more smells, more people, more everything. It was an assault on all the senses at once: The throngs of people, the muddy dirt roads, the constant beep-beep of the horns. The deteriorating buildings, the ragged street vendors, the ramshackle homes for which hut was too grandiose a term. The wonderful and the abject co-existed side by side, for the most part peacefully. There was what everyone, myself included, expected – poverty, ugliness, despair, filth.
But there was also much beauty, in the midst of it all. The warmth and shyness of the people, the colorful saris, the upscale shops next to the vendors, the swaying trees surrounding it all. I was enchanted by a brief glimpse into an ornate Hindu temple, candles glowing and people bowing their heads to the ground in prayer. Beauty was not its own thing to be separated out, sanitized, and kept apart for its own sake. The true measure of beauty lay in its imperfections; to see it, one must embrace it all. India immediately wrapped itself around me and refused to let go.
And in the children beauty seemed to come alive, almost making me believe it was a living entity I could capture in my hands.
Without warning, we lurched around a village corner and turned into the orphanage entrance. In a second the cars had stopped and a hundred children lined around in a semi-circle, waving and chanting "welcome" over and over. I opened the car door and they were all around me, touching my feet in blessing. The children were shy at first, obviously excited but reticent. One little girl, about seven years old, summoned her courage and touched my arm, then grasped my hand. "Hello," she said softly, looking up at me and just as quickly dropping her eyes, giggling. As soon as she did this, the crowd of surrounding children shed their reserve and instantly moved in closer, putting their hands out for me to shake. There was a never-ending supply of hands raised in front of me and I shook them over and over.
I was overwhelmed and unsure what to do, blindly following behind Papa and Caroline as they moved into the ashram. It was almost surreal, and happening so quickly. I didn’t have time to look around or get any sense of where I was in the darkness. There were just the children, all around, and my feet moving forward until we arrived in a courtyard. The children, as one, left our sides and began climbing a staircase in an orderly fashion. We followed with the dozen staff members, removing our shoes at the top of the stairs and entering the prayer room.
The children were already lined up and sitting on rugs on the floor, boys on one side and girls on the other, ages progressively going up toward the back with older kids sitting behind younger. I was handed a small bouquet of red roses and marigolds, and led to a spot on the mats. At the front of the room was an altar holding flowers, small trinkets of devotion, a picture of the guru Sai Baba and a statue of Vishnu, an ancient Hindu god. Tacked to the walls on all sides were pictures of other Hindu gods – Ganesh and Krishna – as well as Jesus, Mary, Mother Theresa and Mohammed. Ceiling fans whirred overhead to stir up the warm air. A staff member lit incense at the altar while another blew a horn softly. The children sat up straighter and ceased any fidgeting or whispering.
Then the prayers began. It started with a simple chant: "Om….om..," the small voices resonating deeply. The chanting gave way to a song, a hundred sweet voices dancing in the air and filling the room. Beside me on the rug sat one of the smallest girls, with glossy black curls and deep dimples. She was sitting lotus-style with her middle fingers and thumbs pressed together on the knees of her yellow and green flowered dress, eyes squinted tightly shut in concentration. Her strong, clear singing distinctly carried to my ears apart from the others. The voice of this three year old rising so pure and true was one of the most powerful sounds I had ever heard.
Soon the singing faded into silence and Papa prayed. He said there were many religions represented and respected in the ashram. “Here, there are Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. We pray,” Papa said, “to God and Allah and Jesus and Mohammed. The meaning of life is to love all. The purpose of life is to serve all.”
It was a simple prayer, reminding me that life need not be complicated unless we made it so. A soothing peace palpable in the air filled me, and I breathed out deeply. The past forty hours of travel and little sleep fell away as if they were nothing. There seemed no other world outside this place. As Papa spoke my eyes traveled over the faces all around me. I wondered when each of them had stopped wanting to go home, or if they ever had. As much of a loving community as the ashram seemed, it was not the family that most of the children had once known, distant and ghostly memories for the most part.
Home is a fragile concept – far more delicate than those of us who have always had one can imagine. When a person no longer has a home, when his family is taken from him and he is deprived of everything that was home, then after a while wherever he is becomes home. Slowly, the pieces of memory fade, until this strange new place is not strange anymore; it becomes harder to recall the past life, a long ago family, until one day he realizes he is home.
Post Script: Excerpts provided by Ms. Seal
What to know:
More than 25 million Indian children currently live without homes or families – in orphanages or on the streets, where they are extremely vulnerable to abuse, disease, and being trafficked into labor or the sex trade.
Another 4 million children join their ranks each year.
India is home to the most AIDS orphans of any country in the world – approaching 2 million, and expected to double over the next five years.
By some estimates, as many as 100 million child laborers work in India.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian children go missing each year, kidnapped or trafficked – and three out of four of those are never found.
A poor child in India is three times as likely to die before his fifth birthday as a rich child.
More than two million children themselves die every year from preventable infections for which education and medicine are lacking.
One of every three of the world’s malnourished children lives in India.
Fifty percent of childhood deaths there are attributable to malnutrition or starvation.
How you can help:
The first step is awareness – thank you for reading this article and for caring. You can sponsor a child at Miracle Foundation.
You can make a donation at UNICEF, the leading champion for children worldwide. Be a conscious shopper. Is it really worth getting something a few dollars cheaper if it is made by slave labor or children? Check out The Better World Shopping Guide. You can take action by signing petitions and/or financially supporting organizations that are working worldwide to end child labor. Some of them are: globalmarch.org | endchildlabor.org | earthaction.org
The day will come, when we no longer write and read about the “first female” president.
The day will come when women treated equally will have such a long history, that there will be no viable frame of reference for remarking at women becoming the first, it will be as if there was never a time of distinction.
The day will come, when women treat each other equally.
In the meantime, BBC News reports:
Mrs Patil’s backers say her election will be a boost to women
“Election authorities in India say Pratibha Patil has been voted in as the country’s first woman president.
Officials said Mrs Patil won nearly two-thirds of votes, although a formal announcement has not yet been made.
Mrs Patil, 72, was the governor of the northern Indian state of Rajasthan before being nominated for president by India’s ruling coalition.
Mrs Patil’s supporters say her election to the largely ceremonial role will be a boost to millions of Indian women.
But correspondents say some of her critics have described her as a political lightweight.
Mrs Patil, whose main rival was current Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, will succeed A P J Abdul Kalam, a missile scientist.”
Congratulations “President Patil”.
Tonight, I read slowly, something that those who know me well, know happens too infrequently.
I read the voice of a young woman, and am struck by something she felt worthy to be placed among the pages. I have not referenced and cross-referenced, I simply put this here for a note of familiarity, The Girls of Riyadh, by Rajaa Alsanea, pp. 73-74):
Rid yourself of woe and tears
Instead of crying years and years
Oh You who’ve wept the traitor man
Weep on today, if you well can.
But watch that no one sees tears fall
For such will please the traitors all.
Thank you Mystery.
Reading Mystery’s post moments ago sent me on a trip through the cobwebbed sections of my memory, years and years ago, a hot day, marching in D.C.
The rally call, “I am woman, hear me roar”.
I never, ever signed a Declaration of Rights on behalf of myself testifying that I was 50% or 3/4 of a man.
I have lived and have grown with perceptions given to me, that I incorporated into SELF, to define myself. And somewhere along the way I forgot it was not ME, it was the ME given to me.
I had an incident today with a treasured loved one, who was upset I did not see things their way. Not only not see things, but I refused to give back the words they wanted to hear. I heard Romancing the Crone, her That’s Not Ok, but darn it, the words didn’t come out of my mouth. I couldn’t get out the three simple words.
Rather, I was forced to look at the trees and say, Amma, God, someone, give me the words, because I truly don’t want to hurt this person, but I can’t transgress myself, I can’t transgress the part of myself that is attuned to the whole, that to know that to indict another, the subject of the conversation by silence or words, would be to transgress myself.
In that moment, there was no difference.
If I gave in to the bad talk, the gossip, the judgment, just to make one who is insecure and vulnerable, feel allied, then I would hurt another, who also believes themselves to be one of my loved ones. (Alert! I know I am trashing the English language!).
So, was it a choice?
Hurt one over the other?
Or, find a way to balance the scales?
I wish I could say the perceived reality was full of that kind of equality of judgment.
It was not.
I had to storm, and stamp my feet, and advise the pleading person, I will not judge, I will not give you back the words you implore upon me to give you what you perceive as salvation, because then I participate in being less than the whole.
Oh, I struggled, because on some level, I worried, that the better thing to do would be to simply supply the words, after all, on some level, wasn’t I cutting off the person pleading from my so enlightened platform.
It is the plight of women!
Do Men do this?
I like to read. There is not much I will not read. I prefer books to conversation and even magazines. If you met me in person, you may find me oddly quiet.
I have little prejudice in what I read and admire Danielle Steele as I admire the Harry Potter series as I admire religious and spiritual writings as I admire certain books on the cultures and humanity of the world.
With that said, I read a piece in Marie Claire, June 2007 edition, entitled “Kill Yourself, or your family will kill you.”, by Jan Goodwin and photography by France Keyser, beginning at page 155 of the printed version.
Now, I don’t know what the author or photographer wanted to convey about the state of females in Turkey, but this is what I came away with………
1. Honor killings have decreased, from a reporting perspective, since Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union; and
2. Honor Suicides are on the rise; and
3. It takes little to be encouraged, or would that be threatened, to kill oneself to restore a family’s honor (Now, I am confused how any type of killing restores honor, however…..); and
4. It can be Western Dress, texting a “boyfriend”, marrying for love rather than within the family’s choice.
There is apparently a resurgence of women wearing headscarves at the same time the wearing of same is outlawed at universities and government offices.
Honor killings are now punishable by life in prison.
Virginity tests in school were recently outlawed.
It is easier to obtain access to an abortion than it is in America.
Turkey elected a female prime minister in 1993. Hello, America, land of the free?
At any rate, it is horrifying to see what families will do to themselves, their females because of ego, because of confusion, because of pre-determined beliefs which fashion themselves as conflicting morals.
I see within this article many advancements for “women” not afforded in America. And I see, cloaked within certain religious belief within our own country, reactions, treatments, consequences that cannot really differ as to women.
We sit and judge Turkey, and yes, I do too; but how different are we?
Which movie do I need to cite?
Which news article?
How many crying children does it take?
There are more of us than “them”.
There are multitudes of us that would not harm another like the harm we see on television, in the newspaper, on the internet, in the blogs—-there are more of us………..how can we figure it out?
POST, COMMENT, DO WHAT YOU WILL, BUT SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS….one of you might yet make the difference.
Coffeegrounds.wordpress.com has had many posts dealing with the state of war and our reaction as to the troops of the war.
NPR had a linguist on board yesterday describing that the word troops is dehumanizing and one of his least favorites.
I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a litigation attorney, I am not a captured woman, wife, mother in Iran.
“— Expressionless, smoking a cigarette and wearing a black head scarf that masks her blond hair, video of captured British sailor Faye Turney shows a soft-spoken mother — one of only 12 women in the British navy trained to drive inflatable patrol boats.
The 26-year-old mother was driving the Royal Navy’s boat Friday when armed Iranian troops seized her and 14 others, accusing them of crossing into their territorial waters and unleashing a diplomatic crisis. (Full story)
A week before her capture, she told the British Broadcasting Corp. she understood the risks of her work.
“You’ve got to have it in the back of your head that sometimes you may be called upon and, when you are, you have got to get on with it,” she said aboard the Navy Frigate HMS Cornwall in the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq.”
I hate war.
I have no desire for conflict.
Sitting at a deposition the other day, legal fees mounting into the hundreds of thousands, a party said something about the state of war.
I said, “This, here, is where war begins.”
Conflict begins in the smallest moments, the ones we feel are vindicated, “I believe you hurt me; therefore, ….”
I now hurt you?
I spoke to a dear friend the other day, upset with events in her life, seeking legal advice and retribution…I wanted to say, I needed to say……..stop……….meditate……..breath……..because negative energy and retribution leads to things beyond our control. And she is the dearest and best of ladies, believe me you. But sometimes when people are hurt and attacked, they have only one habit, retribution.
I’m not suggesting you all sit still and shut up, matter of fact, there is only one thing I am suggesting, take a look at this CNN article, take a look at this one person, divorced and shut off from the world she knows, beyond ability to help herself, at least as far as we know.
Ask yourself, how did we contribute to her getting there?
Yes, yes, I know, most of us are not the politicians or the moneymakers, the freemason power wheelers of the world, but to sit back and let them take all the blame, is for us to admit we have no voice, no say, in how this world evolves.
May God bless you all.
Or, if you are of the Einstein version of God, may you find your answer in the yet unknown expansion of the universe.
The riddle of arrival.
Who are we now, at anytime, and why?
There are those that would argue the why is unnecessary. We are here and from here we go on to the next moment, the next “here”.
Where did I read recently that it is acceptable to use the term “woman” in the news, in scholarly articles, in politics, but often, it is not accepatable to use “female”? Now I have no statistics to know the average of occurrence, haven’t thought about that a lot in detail, but found the observation thought provoking.
Who are today’s “girls”? Who were yesterday’s girls?
There is no division, today’s girls will become yesterday’s girls and tomorrow’s women. We can talk of being in the moment, but moments shift, and our role in those moments shifts also. It can be seismic movement, but happens to the unattendant observer, including the observer of self, in such a seemingly slow manner, that it is suprising to find yourself or a loved one or a neighbor as this different “person”.
There is much discussion on what girls must deal with and learn, the vulnerability to “strangers”. Yet, we place them approvingly in environments day after day that don’t always teach them to be strong, but teaches them to adapt, to deal, to quiet their passions. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen with boys, but for a variety of reasons, that would be a separate topic. (And for a variety of reasons, it can be easily argued that it should be within the same topic).
I posted earlier that I recently picked up a book, Reviving Ophelia, Saving the Selves of Adolsecent Girls, by Mary Pipher, Ph. D.
Earlier this evening I wrote:
I am on page 28, and the book has resonated at this point.
In reading this book, I hope to understand the next generations of decision-makers. The book suprises me though, it may yet teach me how I got to where I am, in the exploration of adolescence.
There is no them and us, parents v. children, save v. the unsaved, Christian v. Muslim, Israeli v. Pakistinian…….there are “us”, the collective of human beings, the “earthlings”, whatever divisions we have made from there, we have made, the tribulations it has led us through are of our own making.
With life and committments intervening, there has now been a few quiet moments and I am at page 49. How much I have learned and thought of in that space of 21 pages. I am a fast reader, there is nothing I love more than ripping through books. I must read this book slowly as it not only highlights what is going on with the girls of the 1990s, the girls of today, but the woman of today who were girls yesterday.
I want to write a disclaimer, hey wait, I’m only on page 49! I can’t guarantee this book is worth the read. But you know what? That’s ludicrous. The book was worth the read at the word go.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this subject as the pages go on; however, for the moment, there is one singular thought:
What are we doing?
Go to, run to, race to, click to:
“Eat, Pray, Love”……………………a lovely let it all hang out spiritual journey of one woman.
Within 2.5 pages, I was hooked. Ironic that I found the book while food shopping after working, more ironic that on my way to the store, I heard on NPR that Anne Lamott has a new book out and I almost made myself purposely take the wrong turn straight to Barnes & Noble to buy the book right away.
Alas, I knew something that good was worth waiting for and my family would probably prefer food over a book. (Hard to believe isn’t it? I try to tell them again and again, words are food, you must only just imagine…….by that point, they have walked out of the room and I’m not even left with a goldfish listening as alas, our last goldfish also grew tired of my soapbox and left for better waters………….).
So I did the right thing, the expected thing and headed to the foodstore…………of course I went to the foodstore that has quite a good book section, and there I found, high up on a shelf, almost daring me to see it, the book: “Eat, Pray. Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert……………….and an endorsement on the front by “Anne Lamott”. See, the Universe was working with me, it too knows that words are food.
This book is not for the faint of heart…
It is not for those that have their feet dug in to a particular religious stomping ground.
It’s a search for only one person’s truth, but I dare you to not find a bit of your own along the way.
Three Cheers for this find! Look below, I’ve pasted in some of the highlights…..