Women need to know that we have the right to be who and what we want to be without threats, repercussions or regrets.

By Deb Avery

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

These words have been repeated throughout history in one form or another for thousands of years. To the present day, women are still told to shut up and sit down. Still, we continue to speak up for our rights and the rights of others.

It begins early in childhood and continues throughout our lives. It happens in our work place, our churches and even our own homes. Each and every day there are millions of women the world over who live with verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

It seems it’s a never ending battle.

Yet, as never before, women from all over the world are standing up and refusing to be silent any longer. Women are awakening to the fact that our voices are not only important, but they are needed now more than ever.

Wise women, like many other species on earth, are endangered.

If we can’t be dominated and trained to fit in to the world that men have held power over for years on end, and the agendas they have set forth, then we will continue to fight this authoritative and dominate culture, and we will continue to be threatened to remain silent. As some members of the Senate found out when they tried to silence the brave and wise voice of Elizabeth Warren, we are not as docile as we once were.

We will stand up and we will speak the truth. Wise men from all walks of life are joining in with us.

We honor and appreciate these men who have added their voices to the ours. Men like Senator Tom Udall, former presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many, many others from around the world. Some are our partners, fathers or religious leaders. Some are total strangers, still they are our brothers.

We all have one thing in common: We refuse to remain silent any longer.

We women have once more plucked the apple from the tree of knowledge and this time, this time we will not be shamed into silence. We have broken through the concrete of patriarchal rule to bloom into our being. We will not go back to being the wallflowers and props that we have been used for in the past. We will no longer stand for the threats, however veiled they may be with the pat on the arm and soft whispers of “it’s for your own good,” nor the shouts of protestations from men who must subjugate women to feel the power of dominance.

We persist; more and more of us every day. We have learned much over the years, and we are uniting our voices, our wisdom and our actions like never before.

However, there are some women who are more comfortable, for whatever reasons, to stand on the sidelines throwing stones. Maybe they are frightened or maybe they feel smug and safe letting the patriarchy make decisions for them and for their children. I hold no animosity toward them. That is their choice, but there are some things they must consider.

For instance, I hope they never have to worry about being emotionally berated or beaten for dinner being cold, or for not being as docile or as supportive as is expected. I hope their daughters will not grow up feeling that her weight is more important than her intellect, or that her thoughts, feelings and actions—her worth— is somehow less than a man’s. I hope their sons will not grow up feeling that he is somehow superior to women, or that he can use his physical strength or ego to manipulate or control women.

As for me, and countless others, I will stand for myself and all women who are still living in the controlling and manipulative shadows of man’s laws, man’s opinions and man’s religions. The time is more than ready for a huge shift to total equality.

Women need to know that we have the right to be who and what we want to be without threats, repercussions or regrets.

If you want to stay home and raise and/or educate your children, that is wonderful. I commend your willingness to do so. I once did the same and I’m glad I did. If your husband chooses to stay home to raise and/or educate your children, that, too, is wonderful and commendable.

I will equally defend your right to choose to study, travel, begin a life of service, be leader, or whatever your choice may be, because that, too, is wonderful and commendable.

The main point is there is a choice without recriminations and with respect of all our different choices. I once stood on the sidelines feeling unworthy to raise my voice. During my childhood and a lot of my adulthood, I had been taught that a woman’s roles were as a supporter and nurturer. These are admirable attributes for anyone, but as we have seen in the past 20 years, they are far from the only attributes available to women.

We have come a long, long way. There is still farther to go.

So today, when I am warned, when the consequences of my actions have been mansplained to me, even from well-meaning relatives or friends, I will raise my voice in unison with my sisters and I will persist in the right to equality and justice for all.


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Article Photo: Courtney Privett

Editor: Alicia Wozniak



Deb Avery
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