Women’s March in CA 1/22/23 by Marie Cartier

WOMENS MARCH, Long Beach, California on the 50th anniversary of the passing of Roe v Wade,
January 22, 2023

Continue reading “Women’s March in CA 1/22/23 by Marie Cartier”

Why Feminism Needs the Fierce Goddesses by Susan Foster

Kali Ma – She who carries transformation upon Her breath.

The recent backlash against women and feminism, highlighted by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, has left many people asking: Is feminism dead? Or if it isn’t dead, is it lost? The decision dealt a blow to one of the most basic freedoms of women—control over their own bodies. In the rush to protect the life of embryos and fetuses, the lives of millions of women will be compromised if not lost altogether, especially poor and BIPOC women.

The Court is inflicting its right-wing views on a country that does not share its values; a majority of Americans support a woman’s right to abortion. “The “triumphal right,” says Susan Faludi in an interview with Michelle Goldberg, “has taken the gloves off and is pursuing a scorched-earth campaign against women’s most fundamental rights.” [i] And although the feminist movement cannot be reduced to the fight for reproductive justice (with issues such as maternity leave, equal pay, childcare, healthcare, etc., still on the table), banning abortion has become the tip of the patriarchal iceberg.

Continue reading “Why Feminism Needs the Fierce Goddesses by Susan Foster”

Women, Life, Freedom زن زندگی آزادی : Let’s talk about the protests in Iran by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

Trigger Warning: This post deals with violence towards women, violence towards humans, and egregious abuses of power.

Women, Life, Freedom; Zan, Zendegī, Āzādī;  زن زندگی آزادی has become one of the main slogans for an incredibly important and crucial global protest that is taking place right now. For over 2 months, life and death protests are taking place in Iran. The protests are focusing on the perpetual degradation of human rights with women bearing a large brunt. Many have declared the current state affairs as gender apartheid. We need to be talking more about what is happening with the people of Iran and how best to support them. The protests were started after the brutal murder of a woman due to a portion of her hair being visible outside of her hijab.

Continue reading “Women, Life, Freedom زن زندگی آزادی : Let’s talk about the protests in Iran by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

For Mahsa by Lori Stewart

On Friday, September 16, 2022 Mahsa Amini died in a Tehran hospital having been arrested by Iranian morality police on September 13 for wearing “inappropriate attire”. She was 22. Mahsa’s family claims she had bruises to her head and limbs from being beaten. The Iranian police dispute that claim saying Mahsa died from a pre-existing health condition.

Mahsa’s death sparked major protests against the Islamic Republic in Iran and protests of support are occurring around the world. Women are burning their hijabs, which they are mandated by Iranian law to wear, chanting, “Women, life, freedom”. They are cutting their hair which is a longstanding symbol of protest and loss in Iran’s history. This action harkens back to the epic Persian poem “Shahnameh” by Ferdowsi in which hair is a theme and the cutting of hair a symbol of mourning. Around the world, people have followed suit by cutting their hair in solidarity with the protesters in Iran. A recent chant by the protesters is “it’s the beginning of the end” as they challenge their theocratic government.

Continue reading “For Mahsa by Lori Stewart”

Death By Drowning: A Poem Written the Day After The Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade by Marcia W. Mount Shoop

Today at 10:06am
I found him
belly up
only a little bloated
water his deep
dark grave.

Turn the bucket
Talk gently
“How long have you been
in here, friend?”

Turn him over
his final rest
decomposing leaves,
Poison Ivy canopy
Sets off the blue

Continue reading “Death By Drowning: A Poem Written the Day After The Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade by Marcia W. Mount Shoop”

The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: “We Say the Silence Has Been Broken”

We treat the physical assault and the silencing after as two separate things, but they are the same, both bent on annihilation. Rebecca Solnit

When I was in my twenties and in therapy I had a recurrent dream in which a strange man was chasing me and caught up with me and started to strangle me and I could not scream. I was asked to act this dream out by my therapist, who told me that this time I would scream. I could not. She got up and came over and put her hands around my neck and started to squeeze. I still could not scream.

Two decades later I had a dream in which I was a baby and suffocating in my crib. I asked my current therapist if she thought someone had tried to suffocate me when I was an infant. Her answer was simple: “There is no need to think about this happening when you were an infant. You have been silenced all your life.”

When I was a child, my father used to punish us by taking off his belt, sitting down, asking us to pull down our pants and lie across his lap, and then lashing our bare bottoms with his belt. This was typical child-rearing practice in the 1950s and 1960s. Rita Nakashima Brock was the first to name it for me as child abuse. Nonetheless, when we got older, my brother and I preferred to be spanked, rather than to have our 25 cents a week allowance taken away from us. At least, we thought, being spanked was over in a minute, while losing your allowance was something you would suffer for a long time.

Continue reading “The Legacy of Carol P. Christ: “We Say the Silence Has Been Broken””

From Footbinding to Abortion and Beyond – This Has to Stop! by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

My husband, Marty, is a retired podiatrist.  He worked in pockets of New York City that were poor and largely immigrant. When he first started his practice, he treated women from China whose feet had been bound. Despite being officially outlawed 1912, footbinding was still being practiced well into modern times. He saw these patients in the 1970s and 80s.

For those who don’t know what it is, young girls, as young as 3-5 would have the bones in their feet broken and then the feet bound with cloth strips. Every few years, the feet would be broken again until the desired result was created. To create that affect, the toes would be flattened against the bottom of the foot and arch would be so broken and damaged that the heel would curl back to the front of the foot. At each of the breakings the girl would need to learn to walk again.  One can only imagine that pain of walking on foot bones that had been repeatedly broken. And here is an especially chilling part. The mothers would do it to their own daughters. I won’t go into further gruesome details because they can be easily looked up on the internet.  It left the girls crippled for life.

Continue reading “From Footbinding to Abortion and Beyond – This Has to Stop! by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Patriarchy and the Supreme Court by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

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.    

Continue reading “Patriarchy and the Supreme Court by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Walking With Aletheia by Jean Hargadon Wehner – Book Review by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Trigger Alert: There is discussion of sexual violence.

“I transformed from terrified victim to a courageous survivor . . .Different than an ‘out of body’ experience, this felt more like an ‘in-body’ experience. I stood my ground and did what I had to do to get the hell out of there.” Jean Hargadon Wehner (pg 89).

In 2017, a Netflix documentary came out called The Keepers. It is the story of abuse and torture that was not only allowed but protected by the Catholic Church. Jean was featured in the series as the linchpin who helped to uncover and bring to light the atrocities. Our own Carol Christ watched the seven-episode series when it came out and wrote a blogpost about it. FAR reposted that blog at the end of February to honor Jean who has now written her own book, Walking with Aletheia. In it she describes her own healing journey or as she calls it her “health walk” out of the wreckage of that horror. For more on The Keepers, you can read Carol’s post here (which also includes Jean answering some questions about her story). This book is Jean’s story which, while intricately intertwined with the Church, is ultimately about her own pathway to spirituality and healing.

It’s hard to imagine the emotional weight of the authority figures that bore down on Jean when she was a student at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School in the late 1960s. Not only did two priests torture and abuse her but they drew in other Church officiants as well as the police. The legal system actively turned its collective back to her. It is a great gift that she has survived and a testament to her strength, inner creativity, and the love in her heart that she was able to navigate such an apocalyptic terrain. The instruments of the torture were horrendous including rape, sex trafficking, drugs, and mind control techniques.

Continue reading “Walking With Aletheia by Jean Hargadon Wehner – Book Review by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

From the Archives: Rape is Not a Political Platform – Rape is a Violent Crime! By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade. They tend to get lost in the archives. We are beginning this column so that we can revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted August 23, 2012. You can visit it here to see the original comments.

Just when you think you have heard it all, here we go again – another politician with “open mouth-insert foot” syndrome.  Discussing his zero-tolerance policy for abortion, Missouri Representative Todd Akin made the following statement last Sunday about pregnancies that result from rape:

“from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.  But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something.  I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Continue reading “From the Archives: Rape is Not a Political Platform – Rape is a Violent Crime! By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

From the Archives:“Vaginas are Everywhere!”: The Power of the Female Reproductive System by John Erickson

Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We are beginning this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted June 19, 2012. You can visit it to see the original comments here.

I have a beautiful picture of vagina hanging on my wall.  However, for the longest time it was in the back of my closet, with a plastic bag covering it.  I wasn’t ashamed of it but my ex-boyfriend, like most gay men, refused to have it on the wall where he could see it.  He is now long gone; the vagina is now out and proud.

I bid on the picture one fall during a showing of the Vagina Monologues at Claremont School of Theology.  One of my best friends was in the show and I had always loved its powerful message.  I walked out of the theatre, waiting for my friend, and there it was: the picture of the vagina.  I found myself caught up in its beauty.  Its gaze had mesmerized me.  The outlying layers of red, the contours of its shape, they all began to mold into a figure before my eyes.  While I have never thought of myself as a religious person, I realized that at that moment I was no longer looking the old photo but rather I was staring at the outline of the Virgin Mary.  At that moment, I realized that I had to have the picture.

Continue reading “From the Archives:“Vaginas are Everywhere!”: The Power of the Female Reproductive System by John Erickson”

Peng Shuai and Tennis’ #Metoo Moment by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

I am a fervent tennis follower in all its forms. I both play and watch tennis. That is, perhaps, why this story caught my eye. As I’ve written before, I am also a survivor of sexual assault, so these #metoo stories are personal.  

On Nov. 2, Peng Shuai, a member of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), charged a high-ranking Chinese official with sexual assault via social media. Her post was taken down in under 30 minutes and for 2 weeks she was not heard from at all by any independent person. An uproar ensued with major tennis stars speaking out including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic. Peng, a 3-time Olympian herself, has been ranked as high as #1 in doubles and #14 in singles.

Could this be the case where there might actually be consequences for silencing a woman who has credibly charged abuse? It appears, at least for now, that the WTA is doing the right thing. After some initial dithering, the WTA is, as of this writing, standing strong saying they will withdraw tournaments from China until there is a satisfactory resolution to this situation. This is a billion-dollar industry with 11 tournaments scheduled to take place in China yearly. In other words, its a big deal.

Continue reading “Peng Shuai and Tennis’ #Metoo Moment by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

Women’s Bodies and Texas

I have been so angry about the Texas law that functionally bans abortion, I have not even been able to find the words to write about it. But alas . . . being angry without taking action is too often what we women do. So, I am forcing myself to focus and write this blogpost. I think the worst part of this law (although there are so many it is truly hard to choose), is how it isolates a vulnerable, pregnant woman. Can you imagine having an unwanted pregnancy and not being able to talk to anyone about it? This law puts a whole women’s support system into legal and financial jeopardy; a mother, sister, friend, doctor, staff at the doctor’s office, therapist, random neighbor and on and on. A woman’s only “legal” option is to talk to a crisis pregnancy center which comes with a hefty dose of political agenda. This is manipulation at this most virulent, cruel, and controlling.  

Continue reading “Women’s Bodies and Texas”

How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Imagine this scenario: You agree to meet with some beloved friends or family who are not in your Covid pod. You’re nervous about safety, but you have a detailed discussion beforehand of exactly what Plan you will all follow in order to protect everyone. You decide to meet outside, wearing good quality masks, staying six feet apart. If people want to eat or drink, or remove their masks for any reason, they will go farther from the group, more like 20 feet away. If anyone needs to use the inside space, such as the bathroom, they will be sure no one else is inside and will keep their mask on the entire time.

“We can do this,” you tell yourselves, “We are smart, educated, considerate, careful people who love each other and want to keep us all safe.”

You arrive at the gathering. You greet everyone, masked from the proper distance. You find your seats, six feet from the seats of other pods. Within a minute or two, a beloved friend or relative approaches to give you something, h/er mask hanging down on h/er chin.

Continue reading “How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Governor Cuomo and How Far We Have Not Come by Janet MaiKa’i Rudolph

Once again, I find myself writing about a man in power getting caught abusing women. It turns my stomach. The ink is barely dry on my blogpost about Bill Cosby. This time it’s Andrew Cuomo, the governor of my state, New York.

The title for this blogpost came from a comment made by news anchor, Nicolle Wallace as she was hosting a discussion of men behaving badly. The history of holding powerful men to account is a slim one at best. When I think about the Bill Cosby case, I realize that the laws are working as they were designed to – to protect men. We still have an ex-President who hasn’t been called to account for anything. We have two Supreme Court justices who are credibly accused of abuse. And they have achieved the pinnacles of power, for life. There are just too many instances of abusers rising to power for it be accidental.

And if by some happenstance, a powerful man is called to account, the work and the time involved are staggering. As I write this, New Yorkers are discussing how to remove Andrew Cuomo from the governorship. Whether he is impeached or resigns, that is just baseline accountability. There is also talk about criminal prosecution. Go Letitia James (the NY Attorney General)! Still, I will believe that when I see it. Cuomo has been our governor for over 10 years. Those of us living in New York, have long been aware that Cuomo isn’t just a bully but a long-time abuser. But then so were Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. In fact, their crimes went on so long that statues of limitations ran out in many cases. 

Continue reading “Governor Cuomo and How Far We Have Not Come by Janet MaiKa’i Rudolph”

Feminist Parenting About Sexuality Part 2 – pornography by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

As I said in Part 1 – this topic will be difficult to discuss. As I said, I promise I AM NOT SAYING ALL MEN ARE BAD. Please re-read Part 1 if this post causes you to feel defensive or protective toward males.

Unfortunately, we live in a deeply, horrifically misogynist culture. Our culture is so dystopian that it has normalized a mass butchery of violence against females. I can say these words, and most people either nod or look skeptical, but they don’t actually understand what I am talking about. People do not understand because they have so normalized horrific misogynist violence – they have been so brainwashed – that they cannot recognize brutal attacks against women, even when those attacks are right before their eyes… or happen to their own bodies.

Continue reading “Feminist Parenting About Sexuality Part 2 – pornography by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Feminist Parenting About Sexuality – Hold on, because this is going to hurt by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I have been asked numerous times by numerous people over the years to write about feminist issues, especially regarding teaching kids about consent, pornography, and healthy sexuality. The reason I have not tackled this project yet is that I know full well most people—even people who think they want to know what I have to say, who think they probably agree with me to a large degree—will find what I have to say too overwhelming, depressing, and painful to handle.

People have interesting perceptions of me, which shape their expectations of what I will say. I am generally cheerful and affirming to be around. I frequently advocate for justice issues by speaking with passion and blunt honesty in ways people find uncomfortable or comforting, depending on where they stand on that particular issue. People want to feel safe and affirmed by me personally, but they also want me to keep speaking out about justice—so long as I do not make them too uncomfortable.

Continue reading “Feminist Parenting About Sexuality – Hold on, because this is going to hurt by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

What’s Done Is Really Done by Barbara Ardinger

This is an encore performance of a satire I wrote in November 2019, when I thought Trump’s sociopathic behavior was at its height. Little did I know. Little did we know. Only a year later, following the 2020 election, we watched him lie and deny, spread conspiracy theories, and finally encourage his true believers to invade the Capital and “stop the steal.” It’s good to see that President Biden is a normal person who knows what presidential behavior and work really are. A small example: right after the inauguration, we watched him signing executive orders. Did he use a Sharpie? No. Biden used (and still uses) a normal pen to sign his name. And he doesn’t wave an illegible signature at the TV cameras.

Two brief notes: In his novel Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka does not say the protagonist is turned into a cockroach. He’s an ungeheures Ungeziefer, i.e., a “monstrous vermin.” But if you want to see Trump as a roach, that’s fine. Note also that Trump’s answers are spoken by Dogberry in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Dogberry, Messina’s police constable, is probably the stupidest character Shakespeare created. And so, here’s the encore. Enjoy! (And let’s squash that bug!) Continue reading “What’s Done Is Really Done by Barbara Ardinger”

Poem: “Safer at Home in these United States” by Marie Cartier

Content Warning: Child abuse, domestic violence. 


Safer at home is what we are told to do in these United States right now,

and the idea is you will not be able

to spread the virus, or catch the virus, if you are home.


I was never safer at home growing up

and sure, people talk about that—safer at home—

but it’s not safe for everyone, especially if you don’t have a home,

and certainly not one you are safe in.


I think of the girl I pass sometimes, walking my dog at night.

She puts herself in a green bag and curls around the meter block to be invisible and sleeps.

She pulls the bag over her head and draws the cord. I was afraid it was a large animal dropped off

until I got closer and saw it was a woman, the top of her head visible beneath the closed bag.

I must understand that she has no home, and she came from one at some time– that was not safe.

Do you remember the little boy? So cute—with a little man’s hat and

a twinkle in his eye, eight years old. His parents beat him repeatedly because he didn’t put his toys away correctly, and because they thought he was gay. He was eight. Continue reading “Poem: “Safer at Home in these United States” by Marie Cartier”

The Messy, Wild Mystery that’s Stronger than Wrong by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I am an annoying feminist. I annoy pretty much everyone about it, because I’m never NOT applying a feminist lens to every aspect of life: science (looking at you, Larry Summers), politics (Joe Biden is a rapist), art (objectification is NOT empowerment), culture (make-up is a prison), and, of course religion. I’m perhaps most annoying of all when it comes to religion. I annoy Christians by raving about Christ The Cosmic Vagina, and I annoy secularists by raving about feminist Jesus. I especially annoy my church friends and colleagues by refusing to use the (male) word “God” to talk about the Infinite Divine Mystery, much less male pronouns or oppressive symbols such as Lord, King, or Kingdom.

Yep, I’ve been cheerfully annoying the hell out of everyone for decades, drawing vagina art during male-centric worship services, changing lyrics on the fly, slipping female words and symbols into prayers and startling whomever sits near me… I am a feminist. Not the fun kind. Continue reading “The Messy, Wild Mystery that’s Stronger than Wrong by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Charity Is Not Enough by Susan de Gaia

Gift giving is an important focus this time of year, along with reflection, reconciliation, and renewal. This spirit of charity is needed now more than ever. And yet, charity is not enough.

Thousands of women, maybe even millions, re-experienced the trauma of sexual assault when the American public heard and ignored Donald Trump’s admission of grabbing women “by the pussy” and the accusations of forced kissing by numerous women, electing him to office in 2016. This was followed by additional revelations of his immorality and corruption and, in a show of conscience by one political party, his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Many have wondered how such a man could get elected and remain in office despite the many revelations of illegal activities, and complete lack of honesty, repentance, and conscience. The recent response by Trump and his allies to an editorial in Christianity Today favoring impeachment yields a clue: criticize Trump, and risk losing politically, financially, or worse. Today, one can’t even speak out. How many of Trump’s accusers received death threats? How many of his extramarital liaisons received a bribe to keep quiet?

The waters are muddy in the Trump era: politics divide us into winners and losers, and “our” administration sides with those who praise one man and against those who dare to disagree, aided by conservative religious leaders and institutions. This is a situation that our founders meant to prevent. But it is happening.

Also happening are racial and gender inequality on the rise. To many feminists this seems nightmarish and unexpected. Some of us saw it coming, but the extent of its public acceptance and open justification was something few could foresee.

At the same time, women and men are coming together; I have seen my networks and others expand more than ever. The increasing support and understanding for women’s issues by people of conscience, and the promotion of compassion and activism for all those who suffer, is a form of charity, one that is greatly needed now.

But such charity is not enough.  And charity from those who remain quiet about the corruption, immorality, and bullying in and outside of our government is not even welcome.

What we need is acknowledgement. This would be an important first step. And it is that which Trump and his allies push against the hardest, perhaps because they realize it can lead to the next steps, repentance and then change.

Trump’s perfect flawless existence is a thin veneer that most of us can see through. And yet, here we remain, at a standstill that is supported by willful ignoring of his true face by those with something to gain.

Acknowledgement, not charity, is needed now. No one is perfect, least of all one who claims that he is.



Susan de Gaia teaches Religion and Philosophy online for Central Michigan University and is General Editor of Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions: Faith and Culture across History (ABC-CLIO, 2018/2019). Susan lives in California and is active in social and environmental justice, peace, and women’s spirituality movements. She works locally to promote environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and political action. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion-Social Ethics with a Graduate Certificate in the Study of Women and Men in Society (USC), and B.A. in Women’s Studies (UCSB).

A Predator by Sheree La Puma

Feminism and Religion Project Art work designed by Jaysen Waller – http://www.jaysenwaller.com/

“Have I had two roads, I would have chosen their third.”
― Mahmoud DarwishIn the Presence of Absence

Now I tell myself that I’m street smart. I did the Jack Kerouac “On the Road” trip when I was 18, driving cross country in the fall, even sleeping in my car. I’ve volunteered in the projects, been a motivational speaker in correctional camps. I’ve shooed away drug dealers south of Marrakech, been lost in the woods in Michigan, and lived in L.A., N.Y. and London. Despite the occasional bump and an oft damaged psyche, to this day I trust when I shouldn’t. There is some small part of me that longs to see good in everyone…believes there is something redeemable in the worst of men.

The problem is I need to remember that I am not the one with the power to heal the broken. That job belongs to God. My magical thinking has brought me to the edge of a precipice and as my partner of 13 years tells me “I worry about you because there is EVIL out there and you don’t see it.”  I used to scoff at that idea. After all, what does evil look like?  I’d surely recognize it.  But as I look back at past behaviors…picking up hitchhikers on the side of the road at 16, driving homeless drug addicts to recovery, meeting strangers posing as “men of God,” and “writers,” to help them get their careers going, I realize I’m exposing myself to harm on a daily basis.

Continue reading “A Predator by Sheree La Puma”

In the Beginning…by Lori Stewart

In the beginning
the very beginning, not the
patriarchal, colonial beginning

In the beginning
was the Word
which may have been
a grunt, a vibration, a thought, a feeling
a woman or man or a non-binary being

In the beginning was the Word
And the Word was with God
beside, above, below, inside
and God was perhaps a woman, a man or non-binary
a thought, a vibration, a feeling
or…pure unadulterated love Continue reading “In the Beginning…by Lori Stewart”

Prose Poem – Rape is Robbery and We Want All of Our Stuff Back by Marie Cartier

We protect ourselves by saying it wasn’t that bad.

It only happened once, twice, when I was little, when I was older, when I was drunk, when I was the only one not drinking, when I was alone, when I was out with friends, when I was in the break room at work, when I was in the military, when I was unemployed, when I asked for a raise, when I was silent, when I…

When you can’t change it, you change yourself. Because it’s better than thinking you can’t change anything. It’s epidemic, people say. So it’s better than thinking it’s epidemic—the abuse of women.

So, you think, if I blame myself, maybe there’s hope.

That things will get better. Because I can change—me. Continue reading “Prose Poem – Rape is Robbery and We Want All of Our Stuff Back by Marie Cartier”

Poem:  “How to Survive a Four Letter Word” by Marie Cartier

What is taken from a woman?

When someone breaks her open and fills her with nothing of herself,

and then leaves?

She has to find all the pieces of herself.

That’s why they call it—recovery.



You have to recover.

It doesn’t always happen. You’re not put back together

exactly the same. The pieces were broken.

Still are, just glued back together.

It’s a four letter word:  rape.

Continue reading “Poem:  “How to Survive a Four Letter Word” by Marie Cartier”

Moments by Katie M. Deaver

The phone rings loud on the bedside table near my head, and I wake with that tiny heart attack that only truly jarring things, like middle of the night phone calls, seem to trigger. It takes me a moment to gather myself, to remember who I am, where I am, and what that sound is… and then I grab the phone, hop out of bed and cross the hall into the office where I can finally answer.

It’s a familiar voice, Eli, my colleague and friend from the domestic violence and sexual assault shelter where I volunteer. They’ve just received a call from the emergency room about a sexual assault survivor asking for an advocate and I’m the volunteer on-call this week.

Eli handles himself so very well, knowing that while he is awake working the night shift I am still trying to grasp his words, trying to shake the sleep from my body and my mind. As his words sink in I write down the survivor’s name and start pulling on clothes to head to the hospital.

Though I’ve taken a fair amount of these calls during daylight hours, this middle of the night call is a new experience for me. I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan and while I love it here, this particular night also happens to be yet another night with significant snowfall, and it takes me quite a while to dig my car out enough to get it out of the tiny alley next to our house and up the hill toward the emergency room.

Continue reading “Moments by Katie M. Deaver”

Vaginas Matter by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Eve Ensler say those famed opening words, “I’m worried about vaginas.” As she went on to speak about the way our culture talks about and treats vaginas with terrible violence and shame, that phrase vibrated through me like the chime of a deep, deep bell… she said it. She really said it. She said it ALL.

I was working hard in intensive trauma therapy at the time, working on all the trauma stored in my body from the times various men had molested, raped, and abused me, and let me tell you – it was only through years of mind-body therapy focused on the trauma stored in my vagina that I was eventually, finally able to have a happy and fulfilling sexual life. Years of EMDR therapy, countless occasions in which I missed work, huddled under my bedcovers trembling and weeping due to the depth of agony uncovered by the therapy, screaming so hard I vomited, repeating to myself every single night for hours, “I, Trelawney, am safe. I Trelawney can relax and go to sleep. You, Trelawney, are safe. You, Trelawney, can relax and go to sleep. She, Trelawney, is safe. She, Trelawney, can relax and go to sleep.”

All because I was born… with a vagina. Continue reading “Vaginas Matter by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Befriending our Dragons by Sara Wright

“We are an overflowing river.
We are a hurricane.
We are an earthquake.
We are a volcano, a tsunami, a forest fire…”

These words written by Judith Shaw speak to the underlying merging of woman’s anger with Earth’s natural disasters, suggesting to me that women use “natural” violence in order to create change.

Violence, not the values of compassion and cooperation.

Violence and power over are the primary tools that Patriarchy uses to control women and the Earth.

Engaging in more violence will not solve the problems we face.

So many women including me are struggling like never before to survive on the edge of a culture that continues to sanction the vicious ongoing rape of both women and the Earth.

I use the death of trees as a primary example of the latter. By logging trees by the billions or killing them in “controlled burns” we are literally destroying human and non – human species. Without trees/plants we lose the oxygen we need to breathe.


We need women who are willing support other women – Women who refuse to remain neutral – Women who don’t wait until their mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters are assaulted to take a stand with other women – Women who refuse to stand behind their men when those men continue to support individuals (males or male identified women  – the latter are often “Father’s Daughters” in Jungian parlance) – Women who refuse to support a Patriarchal system that is destroying us all.

Continue reading “Befriending our Dragons by Sara Wright”

Liam Neeson and White Toxic Masculinity by Janet Maika’i Rudolph

Several weeks ago, Liam Neeson was doing a press tour for his latest movie. He caused quite a stir by bringing up an event from his life from 40 years ago. Actually, it was an event that happened not to him but to a female friend. She had been raped and characterized the rapist as “a black man.” In typical male bravado, he took offense and set off to act out a what has been called “a racist revenge fantasy” by taking a weapon and looking for a black man to beat up and/or kill.

Here is a link to an article of his interview.

I am in a fairly unique position to respond as I myself was raped at knifepoint also about 40 years ago. On second thought, and truly sadly, it is unlikely that I am in a unique position. Rape is the coin of violence. It is used in war, arguments, power plays, where our bodies become the battlefield on which such violence is played out. There is truly nothing sexual about it.

Here is what rape does to the psyche. It tells us that our bodies are for someone else’s ephemeral pleasure, not our own. It tells us that we are not safe in the face of someone, usually a male’s violent whims. It tells us that we are objects without full personhood. It slashes a hole in our core selves that fills with rage and pain instead of love and wholeness.

Continue reading “Liam Neeson and White Toxic Masculinity by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”

The Modern Problematic Nature of the Sabarimala Temple, Part 2 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteThe Sabarimala Temple has received an influx of global attention since last October. In my last FAR post, I researched the origin story of the Sabarimala Temple and its dedicated deity, Ayyappan. Ayyappan’s unusual parentage and chosen attributes and patronage made him adverse to all forms of sexual activity and more importantly, not very keen in having female devotees.

Ayyappan, also known as Dharmasastha, is devoted to protecting the dharma, living a yogic life, and more importantly, a celibate life. Ayyappan demands that all his followers when undertaking his pilgrimage, take a vow of celibacy for the duration. No form of sexual impurity must enter Ayyappan’s Sabarimala temple. This is where the problematic elements really start to come to head. Due to the restriction of sexual impurities, females from the age of 10-50 are denied access, as their very biological state of being female, makes them sexually impure. Their ability to menstruate makes them vessels of this apparent sexual impurity that the god Ayyappan does not want. Continue reading “The Modern Problematic Nature of the Sabarimala Temple, Part 2 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

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