Elevating the Sheath

Trisha.VDayThere’s so little time to write anything personal these days.  While work tends to get in the way, so, too, does the running of a new nonprofit.  Some weeks it becomes overwhelming … so many hours invested, so little time for play.  Occasionally I find myself rebelling – procrastinating on tasks in order to have a few moments of “nothingness.”  These moments don’t last long as the responsible side always kicks in to remind me of the work still to be done.

Why?  Why do I put myself through this?  For one thing, the 40+ hour per week job does not fill my soul, though it does pay the bills.  On the volunteer side, overseeing a nonprofit that educates for the awareness and prevention of domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault is the shiny side of the coin.  The regular challenges that come with founding and running a nonprofit, stimulate my brain; the knowledge we are making a positive difference in someone’s life is rewarding, gratifying.

One of the annual awareness campaigns we organize, V-Day Petaluma, has impacted many in and around our community.  Simply participating in the staged productions has empowered many an individual to no longer hide atrocities that have impacted them, but to speak out against them.  The productions have had a therapeutic effect on  volunteers who have been physically and/or sexually assaulted or who know of someone who has been through this pain.  It has inspired the topic of relationship violence to be a more common discussion within the community.  And it is the organizing of V-Day Petaluma, since 2008, that inspired me, along with others, to found Guided To Safety.

Sadly, V-Day continues to frighten individuals, as well.  The “V” in V-Day stands for “Valentines”, “Victory Over Violence”, Flower Abstract.G eorgia OKeefeand … “Vagina!”  Yes, VaginaVagina: from Latin, literally a sheath or scabbard.  A scary, vulgar, terrifying word to many, including females.  Have you noticed that society doesn’t hesitate to speak the words genocide, war, bombing, mass murders and annihilation without stuttering or stumbling.  Yet do any of these bring us pleasure or life?  No, they are more inclined to end life.  Then why do we stumble, stutter and gag when saying “vagina” – the one thing that brings both pleasure and life?

Vagina.  It’s a medical term for part of the female anatomy.  It’s where human LIFE begins.  It should be respected, cherished, valued.  So, why then is it used as a weapon of war?  Even in parts of the world where the vagina is worshipped, in practice it is devalued.

It is every woman’s right to live in a celebratory world – one that celebrates her sexuality, her beauty, her wisdom, her body, her right to be orgasmic and free. To not recognize that is to remain in the clutches of the austere and patriarchal ethos. ~ Gillian Schutte

As females we are either raised not knowing we can pleasure ourselves or we are told it is wrong to do so; as defined by society, masturbation is for males only.   In fact, in some cultures the clitoris is removed so that women may not know pleasure; their vaginas belong to their church, their husbands, their communities.  We are raised to believe sex is “bad” and “painful”, and for some that remains true throughout their lifetime as their first experiences are that of rape, incest or sexual assault.

The value we place on the vagina, or lack thereof, impacts not only women, but society as a whole.  How we treat the vagina, how we perceive the vagina, determines our future.   The irreverence of women, the perception of women as a lesser being, is a flaw in us to cherish life.  The outcome ranges from rape, physical and sexual violence, to war.

When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet,”  ~ Eve Ensler

photo credit: smithsonianmag.comReligion and politics.  Some claim “never the two shall meet”, yet religion is nothing more than a grand political structure and p0litics is regularly influenced by religion.  Both have been perpetrators of war, including war on women.  Remember the Salem Witch Trials?  The women who were “different”, who were “outcasts” were punished based on the values of the church.  Even today, religion continues to influence our perception, value, and treatment of women.  Only days ago a priest claimed women were “partly to blame for encouraging domestic violence by failing to clean their houses and cook properly and for wearing tight and provocative clothing.”  And let’s not forget the approximate 20,000 honor killings of women per year that are influenced by religion and culture.

Vagina.CantSayIt.2As for politics, how can we forget the topic of women’s health care during the build-up to the 2012 elections?  Why would we trust a male-dominated political structure to redefine End Rape Not Redefinerape?  Why would we trust this same political structure to determine the best health care for women if they not only devalue women, but also do not understand how the female body functions?  Why was a female Representative of the Michigan House gaveled “out-of-order” and banned from speaking for saying the word “vagina”, the proper medical term for a part of a woman’s anatomy the lawmakers were attempting to regulate?

Globally, one in three females will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime – a UN statistic.  This equates to ONE BILLION FEMALES on the planet!  How do we shift this paradigm?  How do we raise the value of women to that which existed before patriarchy?  We begin by saying “No More“!  We begin by standing together, women and those who value women, and raising the consciousness of society.  We RISE!  We RISE  and DANCE in protest, demanding an end to the current status quo.  We rise for a compassionate world in which all humanity is equal.  We dance, for as quoted from Gabriela Roth, “Dance is the fastest, most direct root to the truth.”

Join over ONE BILLION humans, including the Dalai Lama, in a global day to STRIKE-DANCE-RISE against the violence on Thursday, February 14, 2013.  Join us for the day; join us for 20 minutes.  Join us.

Dance is used in protest in many parts of the world.  Dance and song have always been intrinsic to protesting for human rights and is often led by women.  Dance denotes a freedom of body, mind and soul. It is both a celebratory and rebellious act in that it speaks of a freedom of movement, a non-restricted relationship to body and is the antithesis of an oppressed, restrained and violated body. It is essentially non-patriarchal and it rebels against patriarchal control over the female body. ~ Gillian Schutte

Our time is here.

OBR Header 2

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed by the owner of this blog are their own and should not be construed as the views or opinions of Guided To Safety or V-Day Petaluma.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. V-Day Petaluma
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 18:13:35

    Reblogged this on V-Day Petaluma 2013.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: