Who is your heroine?

This year is coming to its end and one can safely say it has been a remarkable year in a sense that women from all walks of life came to the foreground to claim their voice, share their stories, and forge a community in their fight for making the world a better place for women (and men). The upsurge of feminism (and women in leadership roles) brings me hope for a better future and also fills me with a bit of sadness when I think of the women who preceded us, who for generations, centuries and thousands of years were compelled to live a life in limitation.

Many of my heroines never had a chance to tell their stories or claim the recognition they deserved. Too busy to provide for their families, they had no time to complain, little sympathy for their concerns, and certainly very little hopes for radical change in the ways in which they were treated, their opportunities limited, their voices ignored.

Reckoning with the past, I wish to pay tribute to the unknown heroines – like my paternal grandmother – whose shoulders we all stand on. My grandmother spent her entire life working as a cleaning lady, raising her two children and an adopted child as a widow, then me, her grandchild, while forever trying to make ends meet despite working all the time. A brilliant woman well into her late 80s, she survived on 6 grades of education because, back in her days, women were expected to devote their lives and labor to their families, and for that role, her level of education was deemed sufficient.  All other endeavors, such as a dream of a professional life and personal accomplishments (her dream was to become a special education teacher) never materialized because of her circumstances. With all the hardship that I can only in hindsight guess, she carried herself with utmost grace and strength, which is why she, in my eyes, is a true heroine.

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Victim Blaming – Why It’s Wrong

Victim blaming concept word cloud background

The abuser is to blame.  Yet some people blame the victim too.  “She knew what type of man she was getting into a relationship with!”  “She must be so naive to believe that he is sorry!”  And other judgements.  “Probably she is as bad as him!”  “She must have done something to provoke him!”  “What sort of a woman would get involved with an abusive man?  She can’t be very intelligent!”

I’d like to address the above unfair judgements, and to dispute them.  They are not based on reality.

 A woman who enters into a relationship with an abusive man does not see the full extent of his nastiness in the early, honeymoon stage.  There may be signs of an abusive character, especially in hindsight, but basically a man will be wearing a mask in the beginning stages of the relationship.  He wants to “catch her” and “reel her in”.  He wouldn’t be able to do that if he were to show his true colors when originally courting her.

 When a good person hears another person apologize for something and promise to not do that thing again, why would she not believe him?  If she apologized and vowed to not do something again, she would mean it!

 Is it likely that she is as bad as him?  No.  It is not usual for an abusive person to abuse another abusive person.

 Even if she did provoke him, there is no excuse for abuse.  Ever.

 No woman is immune from being a victim of Domestic Violence.  She might be of any race or ethnicity, of any level of intelligence, from any socio-economic background, any age.  The bottom line is that it is never the fault of the victim.


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No, No… You don’t get to say those words….

Recently we heard jaw-dropping words from Governor Sarah Palin about her son abusing his girlfriend because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has taken domestic violence advocates years to achieve a modicum of abuser accountability. We still have more to do and Governor Palin’s words attempted to move us back a couple of decades. To a time where abusers can abscond their accountability by blaming victims or provide reasons to justify why they inflicted pain on another person.

As an organization made-up of survivors domestic violence and child witnesses to domestic violence, we cannot allow anyone to take us back to a time where blame is placed on everyone but the abuser. We have worked too hard for abuser accountability and will not let it go.  The lack thereof is why victims domestic violence die.

We support our veterans and believe that they deserve the utmost care and respect for their service. We remain the voice of survivors and speak-out to those who denigrate victims with comments that allow abusers to continue to abuse.

We call on Governor Palin to rethink her comments and recognize the millions of survivors she re-victimized through her comments.


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