Divided We Fall
Samantha Inesta – Founder/Executive Director
Sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, #MeToo, gender gap are some of the things that are dividing women in this current age. Patriarchy and race are at odds with one another because if you’re a white woman of privilege, patriarchy is your friend. All sides have their artillery ready for the gender, race and class war that seems to be rearing it’s ugly head demanding attention. In the middle of all this, real victims are suffering. Women who have been trying for years to get their voices heard are now caught up in the fray that is women’s rights.
America has awoken from their slumber of sexism and misogyny and realized this is a stain on their democracy making women not as free as they appear. #MeToo has emboldened women to speak out and not worry about backlash because your sisters are behind you. But as we saw with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, not everyone was feeling the sisterly love. Older white women are re-victimizing their younger counterparts while putting themselves on a higher pedestal of purity. The tide is changing and those of us who are trying to make a difference are not always able to make it to shore and grab a lifesaver. Depending on how you were raised and from what cultural background you came from will determine your place in society. As women we struggle with the gender roles that we were assigned. Don’t talk so loud, push your feelings deep down, don’t over react, don’t bring attention to yourself etc. But perhaps the one that’s getting the most attention these days is women showing their rage and anger when they are assaulted, attacked and demeaned. Women have a right to feel the way they do because not only do we feel the oppression from men but also from the systems put in place to keep us controlled. The last thing we need is to have other women who we would think would be on our side, against us.
Most women have experienced some sort of violent attack whether it was sexual or otherwise by a male and our culture dictates we shouldn’t say anything to anyone because it’s too embarrassing. Keep it to yourself. This type of thinking will not serve women well, it will manifest itself in ways that are destructive. Depression, anxiety, mental health and suicide are all things that most women will suffer. Compartmentalization comes into play when blocking out parts of a life that isn’t popular in your inner circle. Instead of dealing with the pain and moving onto a healing process, it’s easier to use that pain against others who have suffered similar situations. This is were the divide begins. The racial component manifests itself as women from a lower socioeconomic status where marginalization is imminent and justification is always present, but this adjusts itself when the status is higher than expected but the outcome is the same.
When women march the idea is to create change for all women no matter who they are, but the reality is change comes to some, not all. Old stereotypes are alive and well and used frequently. In the United States women’s human rights are segregated. We have rights for African American women, Latino women, Indigenous women, Asian women etc. This suggests we are more divided than ever. This hurts rights for women so much in the sense that when really important decisions need to made concerning the lives of all women, there is a bias. This bias can hurt or destroy the futures of many women and girls based on cultural stereotypes that are overly exaggerated. The state that were are living in right now is a breeding ground for this type of division to grow and fester until women will no longer care about anyone but themselves-some already do. Within this divide there is a commonality that all women share. They suffer the same in violent relationships and marriages, they may experience sexual assault and rape and feel the same shame and victimization. When it comes to violence against women there is no divide because women all suffer the same but choose to be divided in their pain.
Support and solidarity is something new for most women in this country because they’ve never been truly united and these growing pains hurt. Maybe we will be able to move forward one day and say that “I don’t care who she is or what she’s done, I will support and believe her.” This is all easier said than done, a lot of chains must fall before women can recognize that even though we come in different shapes sizes and colors, when we hurt, we all hurt the same.
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