I am pissed! I wrote this blogpost the day after Beltane when the leaked draft of the Supreme Court majority opinion regarding Roe v. Wade was leaked to the public. I was up anyway feeling the effects of PTSD. Lessons that Carol P. Christ wrote about and brought to my own consciousness were rattling around my head. The first is her definition of patriarchy: “patriarchy is a system of male domination in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality with the intent of passing property to male heirs.” This definition was part of a 3-part series she wrote (and we recently re-posed in her legacy posts) beginning here.
They are all well worth reading.
I was raped in 1977 when I was 22 years old. This after being abused by my father. I never got pregnant, but I was suicidal after the rape. Had I been pregnant without recourse to ending it, I would without a doubt have stabbed myself in the stomach or reached for that metal coat hanger. (I was too young to face pregnancy when my father abused me.) Had the result been my own death, that would have been warmly welcomed on my part. To this day, I still self-mutilate at times when stress becomes too much.
If I lived in the country with Roe v. Wade overturned, had I survived my imaginary suicide attempt, my body would have been criminalized and my choice weaponized against me. I would have been arrested and jailed. It is a horror just to imagine more power of the patriarchal system over my body sends shivers down my spine. For me, this scenario is imaginary related to my past experiences, but the emotions are not, and something our nation’s women will be about to face in droves. Think about this for a moment. The choice-denying anti-abortion law would allow no exception for rape, meaning that a woman who is violated in a way that completely takes her power away would then become a criminal herself for just seeking a solution. A solution that until recently was completely legal and is still safe. (I can say this because even though the Supreme Court decision is in draft form, in Texas, abortion has already functionally illegal for 8 months.) Let’s be clear, rape is a violent act, and so will overturning Roe v. Wade.
RAINN writes that there are on average 463,634 rapes in this country alone, one every 68 seconds. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
About 30 years ago my friend and I were both pregnant at the same time. About three months in, she began to bleed profusely and was rushed to the hospital. She was miscarrying. She was sent to a Catholic hospital and due to its religious “beliefs” they would not do a necessary health-related abortion. They watched as she suffered for five days without meaningful help until her miscarriage happened “naturally.” I remember the anger in her voice that she was forced to endure unnecessary suffering and possible death for someone else’s belief. She was left infertile. This happened in my “liberal” state of NY and this is what women’s healthcare is about to look like in many parts of this country. Patriarchy taken to its full and ugly manifestation. Women’s bodies controlled and criminalized. Miscarriage as a crime. A blossoming dystopia!
Carol P. Christ also wrote about Matilda Joslyn Gage who fought alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for voting rights. Gage’s two compatriots pushed her aside when she fought for rights that were not based on race, class or religion. A biography of her by Angelica Shirley Carpenter is titled Born Criminal because as she maintained, her only crime was being born female. Stanton and Anthony were so successful that before Carol wrote about her, I (and many others) had not heard of her. Gage’s biography is also worth reading. Here are Carol’s two posts about her. #1 and #2.
What does Ukraine and the Supreme Court have in common? In response to the war in Ukraine, the U.S. and other countries are creating new weapons specifically designed for this battle. There is serious renewed interest in updated and increasing our nuclear arsenal. In other words, weapons of mass destruction are multiplying. These are the choices that patriarchy forces on people. Patriarchy has no concern for real world suffering. For mass destruction. With a straight face, they claim a “love of life” at the same time they are creating and deploying fearsome destructive power.
There is also the matter of rape. Look at how many stories are coming out of the war on Ukraine about rape as a weapon of war. Rape is a weapon of patriarchy and women’s bodies ARE the battlefield.
And on a final note: I am enraged that two men who have been credibly accused of abuse are weighing in decisively on the decision about what women can do with their bodies. They should recuse themselves, but that they do not is also a function of patriarchy. Power. It is the idea that men with a distinct religious belief will use whatever violent means at their disposal (weapons, indiscriminate bombing, words with the force of law behind them) to impose those beliefs on everyone else.
Oh never mind, that they are in such a position of power in the first place is disgusting proof of patriarchy’s reach. Did I mention how pissed I am?
Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a Shaman, When Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One Gods