I just want to set the record straight. I’ve heard stories about me being an ungrateful slave girl who was disrespectful to my master and mistress. I hear folks saying I went in and slept with my mistress’ husband, as if I had a choice. I didn’t. My body was not my own.
Now, I am a free woman, but not without a price. I was an Egyptian hand maid to the Pharaoh. He gave me as a gift to a wealthy Hebrew couple, Sarai and Abram. Prior to this, I was respected amongst the other hand maids. I was still a virgin and that was worth something. As a servant, I already had no rights, nor control over my life. But at least I had my pride.
I thought my new mistress would keep me safe from losing my virginity until I found a husband. Instead, out of impatience, she sent me in to her husband to have a baby. You see, Abram and Sarai had been trying to have children for many years. God had already promised Abram that he would be a father of many nations. Sarai, being barren, was no proof of this.
They called me “slave-girl.” I was nameless – meant only to serve her and later to produce a child – something she couldn’t do. Why was it my fault that Sarai was barren? After I was forced to have sex with her husband, it was clear I was nothing but property.
My mistress accused me of acting high and mighty once I got pregnant. She didn’t understand. I was proud to be able to do as asked, although my virginity had been taken from me. Then the mistress began to abuse me.
When I could stand it no longer, I fled. But I ran into an angel, who I’m sure was God. I called the angel “El Roi.” I listened to the angel who told me to return to my mistress, since I wanted to be obedient and I was still alive in this wilderness.
Upon returning and having my son, Ishmael, I was cast to the wilderness because Sarai had her own son and no need for me. I was accepting of it to gain my freedom.
This was my self-initiated liberation, combined with “woman’s alienation and isolation, economic deprivation, pregnancy and a radical encounter with God, which empowered me, a female slave of African descent to hope and to act.”
I didn’t mind that my son might not inherit Abram’s fortune. I just wanted to be safe. But I was already a victim as an Egyptian, slave, female, poor and with no property. I had so many strikes against me that I just wanted to go somewhere and pray for deliverance from God.
It may sound like I’m whining. It is not my intention. I just want you and your readers to understand that all I wanted was an equal opportunity. To be expelled from the home not only meant I had no economic resources, but I had no protection. This was a nomadic culture. The men ruled the families, tribes and clans. This was no place for a woman and child to be alone. But I knew God was with us, as my son’s name means “God has heard.”
I know I won’t be the last to face this oppression. I pray for my sisters in the future. I just want my voice to be heard, for once.
In God’s Service,
Marilyn A. Batchelor is a 20+ year veteran of the entertainment and media industry. After 20 years working in major corporate environments, Ms. Batchelor joined the team of GPE Records as senior vice president of marketing and brand partnerships. A consummate academician and writer, she is a native of Detroit, MI. She is a resident of Los Angeles; a graduate of Syracuse University (Journalism, English Literature & African American Studies); Harvard Business School’s PMD program (Exec MBA equivalent); Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A.Theology & Ministry) and a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University (Religion & Gender Studies) class of 2019.