Although there wan’t any dinner because he’d arrived late, he felt no ill will.
Freshly brewed coffee and donuts were set out for the night. This would be enough for him.
The street lights were a warm welcome for the oncoming damp chilly night.
The lamppost, near his favorite bench, the ideal place to secure the fine bicycle he’d found at the Salvation Army today. The boots fit him perfectly, too. He was happy the saleswoman had given him this woolen blanket as he left.
Soon sleep. And, another day would have been lived.
Today, March 8th, has been designated as International Women’s Day. Violence against women and girls is continuing to happen everyday all over the world. We must continue to fight for all women to be treated with respect and equality. International Women’s Day focuses on ending violence against women and empowering them.
Over time and distance, the equal rights of women have progressed. We celebrate the achievements of women while remaining vigilant and tenacious for further sustainable change. The following article is from an interview given by Eve Ensler for the New Yorker magazine.
WARNING – Adult Language Follows
Eve Ensler – author
The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler believes in speaking up. She says when we name the things that make us uncomfortable or afraid, then demons are faced, silences are broken, and freedom is won.
I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior, and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible.
Think about the word vagina. I believe that by saying it 128 times each show, night after night, naming my shame, exorcising my secrets, revealing my longing was how I came back, into myself, into my body. By saying it often enough and loud enough in places where it was not supposed to be said, the saying of it became both political and mystical and gave birth to a worldwide movement to end violence against women. The public utterance of a banished word, which represented a buried, neglected, dishonored part of the body was a door opening, an energy exploding, a story unraveling.
When I was finally able as an adult to sit with my mother and name the specific sexual and physical violence my father had perpetrated on me as a child, it was an impossible moment. It was the naming, the saying of what had actually happened in her presence that lifted my twenty-year depression. By remaining silent, I had muted my experience, denied it, and pushed it down. This had flattened my entire life. I believe it was this moment of naming that allowed both my mother and I to eventually face our deepest demons and deceptions and become free.
I think of women naming the atrocities committed against them by the Taliban in Afghanistan or women telling of the systematic rapes during the Bosnian war or just recently in Sri Lanka after the tsunami women lining up in refugee camps to name their nightmares and losses and needs. I have traveled through this world and listened as woman after woman tells of being date raped, or acid burned, female genitally mutilated, beaten by her boyfriend, or molested by her stepfather.
Of course the stories are incredibly painful. But I believe as each woman tells her story for the first time, she breaks the silence, and by doing so breaks her isolation, begins to melt her shame and guilt, making her experience real, lifting her pain.
I believe one person’s declaration sparks another and then another. Helen Caldicott naming the consequences of an escalating nuclear arms race gave rise to an anti-nuclear movement. The brave soldier who came forward and named the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison was responsible for a sweeping investigation.
Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying, and crucial work. This has to happen in spite of political climates or coercions, in spite of careers being won or lost, in spite of the fear of being criticized, outcast, or disliked. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it.
Eve Ensler is a writer and activist living in New York. Her play, “The Vagina Monologues,” has been translated into 35 languages and was performed more than 2,500 times in 2005 alone. Ensler is founder of V-Day, an organization supporting efforts to end violence against women and girls worldwide.***** One Woman – A Song for UN Women: https://ganxy.com/checkout
One day, the parish priest came to visit the 4th grade class.
He asked the pupils, “How can you tell when night has ended and day has begun”.
”Could it be,” asked one of one enthusiastic student, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?”
“No,” answered the priest.
Another student asked, “Is it when you look at a tree in the distance and can tell whether it’s a fig tree or an apple tree?”
“No,” answered the priest.”
“Then when is it?”
The pupils were anxious to know.
“It is when you can look upon the face of any man or woman and see that they are your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.”
Everyday, we encounter people from all walks of life. Some who feel like kindred spirits and some who feel like strangers. It’s easy to accept those we view as being ‘one of us’.
However, we feel a separation and fear of those whose lifestyle are at odds with our own. We can identify with our family, our gender, our country of origin, our religion and assume that every person who fits into those categories will agree with our point of view. It isn’t necessarily so.
I stumbled across this homeless man while I was on vacation. Many tourists passed without a glance his way. He was selling shells. He had an unsanitary odor, was drinking alcohol at 11:00 a.m. and smoking something that had a distinct fragrance.
I stopped because, as a child, I was taught by my Dad that we should help those who have less than us. Often, he would take us to an area in New York called the Bowery. There were homeless people there. He’d park the car and take us kids for a walk among them. They were scary for a child. He would ask them if they’d eaten. He would purchase some hot dogs or sandwiches. He would give us the food to give to them. Then, he’d give them money. Always saying, “ Don’t give up hope. Tomorrow will be a better day.” They’d say, “Izzy, thank you for not forgetting us. You’re a good man.” I felt a sense of pride for my Dad.
On the drive home my Dad would say, “These people don’t want to live this way. Life can bring hardship on you without any notice. You should always help those less fortunate than you. God is watching you and will know if you’re a good and caring person to those in need.”
That day while on vacation:
I stopped because this homeless man was in need.
I stopped because I knew I could give him hope if I helped him.
I stopped because in spite the way he looked, he was a human being.
Of course, he was shocked that I had stopped and was talking to him. Afterwards, he wanted me to take one of his shells with me. I paid him for it but told him he could sell mine to another tourist. Smiling I said, “I’m happy I was just able to talk to you today.”
His eyes filled with tears. He said, “ Pretty lady, I know you’re an angel. No one sees me sitting here. You did. When you go back to heaven, I hope you’ll see my beautiful wife and tell her I miss her.”