Me and women’s events

Maybe it was being exposed to too many church women’s camps/groups/meetings growing up; maybe it’s because I never got along with the girls as easily as the boys during school or at youth group; or maybe I just have some issues that should be sorted out lying on a couch in a doctors office.

You see, I’m not that fond of women as a gender whole. There are plenty of individual women I love and would crawl over hot coals for but collectively, I can take or leave them.

I have always studiously avoided anything with the word ‘women’ in the title. If it’s expressly for women, I either don’t go, or grit my teeth and bite my tongue the entire time. And I’m equally aggravated by ‘men’s’ events (why do men always have ‘men’s breakfasts’????)

While I am not fond of gender specific events, I am passionate about justice.

Last night I watched a documentary about the Delhi rape case,  and just prior to that another documentary called I am a girl. And then went to bed sickened and heavy hearted at how women all around the world are being treated.

According to Indian government statistics, a woman is raped every 22 minutes on average. Just think about that.

And don’t forget that other alarming statistic – every 26 seconds a child is trafficked into slavery.

These statistics make me angry. Really angry.

I’m angry that girl babies are aborted, abandoned and killed simply because they are not in possession of a penis. I’m angry girls are denied an education; are treated as worse than dogs; are seen as nothing more than property; are forced, as young as five, to be the sex slave for upwards of 40 men a night. I’m angry that girls are the recipients of acid attacks, simply for choosing not to talk to a boy. I’m angry that no matter whether a female is wearing a bikini or a burqa, it’s still her fault if she is raped.

And I’m angry that not everyone is angry.

But I’m angry that this is happening to humans. I’m equally angry that atrocities are happening to boys too. It just seems that the weight of these issues is on the female side of the scales and that the perpetrators are predominantly male.

So, I’ve realised why I’m not into events/groups/camps that focus on ‘women’. Generally, and I do mean generally – there are always exceptions, these events are all about finding ourselves, telling us we are wonderful, beautiful and unique. And while those things might be worthwhile, even necessary for some, I find it hard to take it seriously when our sisters across the world are  struggling to stay alive; when the shape of your genitalia quite literally dictates your survival and future.

I know that in the western world there are still inequalities galore. But I also know that, again, generally speaking, we don’t know the half of what it’s like to be maligned, persecuted and discriminated against due to our gender.

So, instead of having fluffy meetings that stroke my ego, nurture my misplaced sense of entitlement and seek mainly to make me ‘feel good about myself’, why can’t we have more events for women and men about what we can do to bring about justice for our fellow humans?

If men’s and women’s events empower and educate about the world and the pressing issues and what we can do about it, then I’m all for them. I still don’t know why they have to be either for men or for women, but I’ll take what I can get.

There is no way, in our technological age, to avoid knowing about the injustices and cruelties that are occurring. What then remains is what you will do about it.

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.~ Mary Wollstonecraft.

16 thoughts on “Me and women’s events

  1. What a gutsy post! Thank you!

    I loathe men’s event’s and the concept of ‘guy time’. Segregating the sexes so ‘men can be men’ facilitates what, exactly? The opportunity to complain about the women in their lives, and so harden their hearts?

    That’s how it seems to me.

    The way in which girls – and boys – are treated outside our rather fake social bubble is something that should have us urgently questioning whether God will not pitch the whole mess into the fire, and start over.

    We tolerate sex trafficking. We, in the West, turn a blind eye to what’s happening in our part of the world, and to what’s happening in the rest of the world.

    Can it be stopped? Sure. It can be stopped cold. If engaging in this ‘business’ brings down the threat of kinetic solutions and summary justice, it will become a LOT less attractive.

    What do we owe the victims? Do we owe them liberation, at any cost, or do we owe them the knowledge that we are salving our own consciences by dealing with their perpetrators proportionally, and within the custom and rules of our society. SUCH a good example we set. I’m sure the victims are teary-eyed, in awe of our example.

    This may be an unpopular thing to say, but contrary to what your mother told you, violence does solve problems.

    I think Sam Childers – the Machine Gun Preacher – said it best. “If your daughter were taken by sex traffickers, and I said I could get her back, would you really care how I did it?”

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    • Thanks for your support Andrew. I’m glad you’re angry!

      I’m not sure I subscribe to violence being the answer but I do think there needs to be more action, and aggressive action at that.

      Having been involved with Destiny Rescue for a year now, I have had plenty of times of wondering just how far I would go to protect my own children, and then transferring that to these girls who are trapped, yet I think we must be careful lest we become similar to the perpetrators. It’s a slippery slope but in the end, God says justice is His, not ours. It’s hard to think of these people as human at all, yet His word tells us they are just as much His children as we are. Yes, laws need to be changed, mindsets need to be changed and a more rigorous adherence to existing laws and what is right needs to be exercised but let us not reduce ourselves in the process.

      The team at Destiny Rescue vigorously support and assist police with catching, detaining and sentencing perpetrators of the sex industry, putting their own lives at very real risk to get girls out from brothels and slavery. I have found nothing but grace and righteous anger burning at the centre of this organisation. And grace and righteous anger, when put to good use, can, quite simply, change the world.

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  2. Very well said! I am reading “Oranges and Sunshine” right now. The atrocities of exporting children out of Britain was bad enough, but the horrors of abuse similar to what you describe in this post resulted from it also. Disgusting.
    I’ve never heard of Destiny Rescue before, thank you for getting the word out. It’s helpful to know about some solid organizations.

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    • I haven’t read ‘Oranges and Sunshine’ – I’ll have to check it out. Yes, as sickening as it feels once we educate ourselves, we NEED to do it! Glad to share the amazing work of Destiny Rescue with you Denise 🙂 They are awesome.

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  3. There are so many awful things happening in the world – yes, much of it heaped on women. This post really makes me angry and upset. I wish I could do more, in person, something.

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    • Yes, it is upsetting, isn’t it? There are plenty of things you can do – sponsoring a child is a huge help, as are one-off donations. A significant way to make a difference is simply knowing about the issues and spreading awareness. You just never know who you’re talking too – they might be able to help financially or be able to volunteer etc. Every little bit goes a long way!

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      • Can I sponsor a child in my community? I understand there are children all over the world who need help, but I’d like to start at home, if you know what I mean. And I believe I have said before, if every person got involved in just ONE cause, we’d all be better off. I am already involved in about a half dozen causes, military, special needs adults and their families, the Deaf community…

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        • I know that here in Australia there are organisations where you can sponsor and directly help local children in need…not sure about USA.

          And I agree, if everyone were involved in one cause it would be great. Sadly, it more likely that the people who want to help will be involved in many. It’s just the way it seems to be. I speak at many service clubs in my area and see a good number of the same faces at each different meeting. Those with a heart to give and help find it’s hard to limit themselves to just one cause – as you yourself are an example of 🙂

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        • Karen, YES, there are things we can do in our own communities! I worked in social services and mental health services for just a few years but it was long enough to realize there are many children who have no idea how we live our lives. They are often the playground bullies, the troublemakers in class, the kids that don’t get invited to our kids’ birthday parties, the “bad kids” we tell our kids not to associate with. We seldom ask why. How does a five-year-old learn to bully??? I’ll guarantee you he wasn’t born that way. Somebody has systematically treated him poorly and this is all he knows. And then we take away any chance for him/her to see firsthand that most children are not bullied by their parents.
          What can we do? We can teach our children to reach out in friendship to those children. Welcome them into our homes, our churches, our youth groups. These are children who do not have the money or the transportation or the parental support to join Scouting programs or 4-H or FFA or whatever most of the kids join. We can sponsor one of those kids. We can convince our churches/social organizations to provide scholarships or uniforms or whatever is needed so that these “bad kids” get a chance participate in these programs and to meet adults who care about kids and will follow through.
          There is a Big Brother/Big Sister organization but I think we could also be volunteer grandparents. We need to be particularly sensitive to the needs of children who are being raised by grandparents. In effect, they no longer have grandparents and the adults probably do not have the energy they had when they were young parents. If we have friends or associates who are raising grandchildren, we can volunteer to take one or more of their children along when we take our kids/grandkids to the zoo or the amusement park or whatever.
          Children who are neglected or abused or in a horribly dysfunctional home assume that his/her life is normal. Only when we show them and help them function in “our world” will they know how to escape their world and make their way in ours.

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  4. Powerful post. Like others who responded here, I’m involved in some other organizations, but I added Destiny Rescue site and their shop to my FB and Pinterest boards. Thank you for getting angry and writing about it.

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  5. I found this article an interesting read as I am organizing one of those ‘women’s’ events in a few weeks. I agree that action needs to be taken by both men and women collectively. I passionately believe, however, that women and men communicate and think differently and that having separate events helps deliver the same message (eg justice) in ways that are unique to a specific gender. I also appreciate the anger and discontent you show toward injustice. This year at our ‘women’s event’ we are intentionally moving away from fluffy, ego stroking and asking women to come along who are ready to get their hands dirty. I have had quite a few women when I have asked if coming to the event who have said to me they are completely over going to women’s events such as you have described! Our guest speaker is one passionate woman who wants to see justice restored whether it is in the western world in our own cities or abroad. Thanks for your post and I equally share your opinion on fluffy women’s events needing to be put in the past!

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    • Catherine, I rather hoped you’d chime in on this! 🙂

      Where I am coming from with this is that Jesus didn’t separate genders when teaching – there were some cultural, gender based divides but other than specifically about marriage, he spoke to humanity, not male or female. He didn’t seem to take into account that men and women think and communicate differently, so why do we? Is this more pop-psychology that has taken up residence in the church? Although I know that there is some basis in science for the different ways the male and female brain work, my personally experience is contrary to this. Graham and I typically don’t think or communicate as they say our genders should, so I’m wary of generalising. If men and women are hearing the same thing at the same time but have different takes on it, isn’t that a great opportunity for sharing and gaining understanding of one another? Discussion and having the other gender’s opinion stretches our mindsets and causes us to grow more, I think.

      And, just by the way, I’m looking forward to your event more now I know the fluffiness will be absent! It’s also nice to hear that I’m not the only one who’s had enough of that type of event 🙂 xo

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