Updated: Mar 16, 2021
Women all over the country took part in the #MarchforJustice yesterday in an effort to express a collective longing for equality and respect in a culture that has struggled slowly and painfully to transition to mutual respect between men and women for more than a century.
As a woman I understand why so many of the signs at the march were painted with anger, blame, aggression and impatience...expressions of the pain of past and present injustices both personal and systemic. As a women with lived experience of those personal and systemic injustices I understand the pain...and I understand the exasperation and longing for change...and yet, this morning I want to self-advocate as a woman without the blaming and shaming and aggression because I think standing together and speaking for what we do want will effect change more swiftly. I really value the opportunity I have as a woman now to self-advocate for what matters to me...on social media or on the lawn of parliament house, without being burned at the stake or shot or intimidated in my own home. It’s hard to believe that’s where we’ve come from..but if we look back with appreciation we can see how far women’s efforts for physical, social and psychological liberation have come.
I lived for many years in relationships where I was afraid to advocate for myself, especially if I was “emotionally unmanaged”, it would only escalate the violence, so I know for so many women there still isn’t safety to speak for what really matters to them at home or at work.
Being afraid to speak is a consequence of past violence for too many still...and it’s understandable that angry words and blaming and shaming might pour out when a great mass of women stand together and feel unafraid to speak...it’s a massive group process of safe expression of the pain. Imagine if those thousands of women yesterday had expressed deep profound sadness together, what that might have looked like and felt like and how much that might have also moved hearts for change.
I realise so much work has been done to ask “respectfully” for women’s needs to matter equally...and so I understand that there is fire in the belly for many women who feel that “asking nicely” hasn’t affected the change they’ve wanted.
I value the opportunity we have right now to process more of the pain and create an effective self advocacy movement for women - to speak what we want without fear and also without blame… to stand with the men who are our allies in this transformation and find ways to articulate with courage the strategies that would make sense to protect the physical and emotional safety of women in homes and workplaces..as well as the education that’s necessary for both men and women to relate peacefully and powerfully with respect for our mutual wellbeing.
I choose to speak for that efficacy of relating in my own life and to work to help others to learn and apply the tools of effective self-advocacy for themselves, for the world I am wanting to wake up in today and for my son and daughter and our collective tomorrows.