I grew up in a country where ‘women’s day’ was marked by presents, chocolate, flowers and dining out. Women would get together and make restaurant reservations or attend female-only house parties. I couldn’t wait to become a woman, too so I could take part in this exciting fun day which mostly involved alcohol. Looking back now I really wonder how many, if any, women then even knew what the day was really about.
Nowadays, people have many different ideas about what women’s day is all about. Reading posts, articles, tweets and Facebook updates this morning really opened my eyes to the perceptual diversity of this day. Out of touch celebrities are trying hard to persuade the world that stripping is somehow artistic, that feeling empowered as a woman means posting naked selfies on social media. Apparently, naked pregnancy shoots are the norm.
But going back to the International Women’s Day, I also read some posts on helping women abroad to have access to education, medicine, equality in work and more choices and opportunities. I fully support that and I think that all of us should try to stay up-to-date and informed on those issues and contribute financially or in any other way when they can.
However, today, more than any other day I felt really sad reading all these updates and seeing the chocolate-themed pictures. What we should do today and every day is to acknowledge issues faced by women closer to home. We all know of a woman who is a victim of abuse.
RELATED ARTICLE: “Speak Up!”
Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or even psychological. This woman, along with thousands of others mostly suffers in silence. She might not have the right skills or knowledge in order to change the situation she is in. She is probably not financially independent and has nowhere to go. She might be frightened of her abusive partner or even family member. She is most likely scared of the stigma around abuse. She feels ashamed and staying silent is a much safer option than the alternative.
You could be this woman. Maybe you are still haunted by parental abuse or you are a victim of workplace bullying. Perhaps you are an unhappy wife, fed up, beaten up, worn down, exhausted. Maybe you feel unappreciated and you have settled.
I have met many unhappy and abused women. Also men but that’s for another article. These women don’t speak out. The support around them is very limited if any. The majority of these women are also caring moms who unfortunately raise daughters who are learning that being a silent victim of any kind of mistreatment is something that has to stay secret – it’s something that they should be ashamed of.
WORTH READING: “Reader’s story: Break the chains of abuse”
I think that today should also be about the happiness that all women deserve and should pursue. It should be about the emotional liberation of women. It should be about making domestic violence and abuse education a compulsory subject in all schools. As parents, we should acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to teach our daughters to learn to love themselves – which will lead them to better choices in life.
Teach them that body image is not about weight but health. Teach them to feel confident, strong and empowered and not always victimized. Teach them to speak up when others mistreat them or they witness abuse of any kind. Teach them to not hate men or other women but fight for equal rights and opportunities in life for everyone.
WORTH READING: “Reader’s story: In bed with abuse”
We should teach our sons that it’s ok to clean, cook, and equally contribute to the household. Teach them how they should also fight for women’s rights to a better quality of life. Teach them to become good fathers, who will raise emotionally healthy children and will respect and love their mother.
Till next time x