Since I spoke about Female Genital Cutting at Bond University on the Gold Coast in February, I have found myself devouring books on the subject. I can only have the deepest admiration for the women who have had the courage to flee their families and countries, to stand up and be counted as educators of a new world where forced marriage, honour killings, female circumcision and the perpetuation of violence and abuse against girls and women is brought to the attention of the world.
Making a Difference
Books such as Monique and the Mango Rains written by Kris Holloway, Do They Hear You when You Cry written by Fauziya Kassindja and Layli Miller Bashir, Mighty Be Our Powers written by Leymah Gbowee with Carol Mithers and INFIDEL written by Aayan Hirsi Ali, really help us westerners picture the archaic, outdated beliefs and behaviours these amazing women have experienced
Another, I know Why the Caged Bird Sings written by Angelou Maya, is an incredible memoir of a childhood so very different from an Australian upbringing. This beautiful woman is full of grace and wisdom, writes incredible poetry and prose and has many essays to her credit.
Not only that, I am a supporter of Avaaz which is an organisation that mobilizes instant campaigns to address crises happening anywhere on earth. They do a great job and DO make a difference in this world, by putting pressure on governments where they seek change. Thousands of signatures mean someone, in some country somewhere, bows to pressure and discontinues what the rest of the world finds upsetting. This may be forcing rape victims to marry their rapists as in Morocco, or supporting the women who used to perform genital circumcision on women and girls to now become educators on changing the custom, or making inroads into sex trafficking in Cambodia and Thailand.
The Age of Technological Change
We can all of us bring about change in this age of technology and we have a more powerful voice than ever before through the mechanisms available.
How lucky are we in this country to be able to express our desires, our feelings, to dress as sexy or as sensual as we want, to be able have sexual encounters without the fear of being beaten by the male members of our family and stoned in public for doing so. How lucky are we to be able to travel as a female alone, without being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. How wonderful is it that we can touch our bodies, purchase products that provide sexual stimulation and be with partners that are willing to explore different avenues of giving and receiving pleasure.
I mean it. How wonderful – really!
Education for everybody
In recent weeks there is the story of Malala that hit world headlines. This extraordinary young girl has had her face planted in the minds of many around the world, given the awful shooting by the Taliban in order to enforce young women in Afghanistan and Pakistan to marry young and remain uneducated. This fifteen year old has stood up and been counted! Bullets did not take her life, rather it opened up her struggle for education for young girls in her country to the world! Who will ever forget her face?
She has an incredible father who has totally supported her efforts to speak up about her desire to remain in school, and her encouragement to other young girls and their parents. he has completely supported her wants in achieving an education and becoming a doctor. Then the hatred and angst of a few men ( from a place of of holding onto outdated custom and tradition), gave unknown men the right (they believed) to take the life of this young girl into their own hands, as they mowed her down with bullets in an effort to silence her.
As always there is the light…and there is the shadow…. of life upon this spectacular planet. We as individuals can only give it our best shot in becoming a significant human being who accepts and loves unconditionally.