Courageous Sr Anne Marie Walsh: Women “Take Heart”
An open and candid letter to women calling on women to unleash their feminine genius . . .
PBS recently aired a documentary on women in 6 different countries called, “Half the Sky,” based on the book of the same name, by Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Countries featured in the documentary were Sierra Leon, where rape as a weapon of choice during the civil war there has now become mainstream; Cambodia, where sex-trafficking brothels are filled with younger and younger girls who are locked up and even caged, made to take “clients” non-stop; Viet Nam where girls, especially from the countryside, are discriminated out of educations and left with little hope for much of a future; Somaliland where genital mutilation still goes on, causing chronic pain and complications, and where a huge percentage of women die in child birth because of these complications and the lack of medical care; India, where the caste system and dire poverty still creates a conducive environment for parents to sell their young girls into brothels, traumatizing them for life and where generational prostitution is an entrenched way of life for many women; Kenya where violence against women is so prevalent that women have begun initiatives of education and microfinance to begin to bring change to their situations. And then there’s China, which wasn’t mentioned, with its one-child policy that has resulted in forced abortions, sterilizations, infanticide (of girls) and a huge gender imbalance which creates fertile ground for human trafficking.
There’s another country where women have been victimized by a powerful propaganda that has brought them to be ashamed of their bodies and the meaning of their bodies. Because of this propaganda, they have sterilized themselves in great numbers and had 50 million of their babies killed in the last 40 years. All this has been done under a euphemism called “women’s reproductive health.” How it is exactly that women’s healthcare becomes synonymous with ending newly conceived life and mutilating reproductive capacity, is the unasked question. But the underlying falsehood is that women can’t be equal to men unless they are able to kill their offspring and sterilize themselves.
This country of course is the United States of America; and many countries in the West now promote this propaganda. The hidden lie is that women cannot have control of their destiny unless they can get rid of actually what makes them women. So they must have free access.
People say this is a non-issue in this election, that there is no real war against women in this country. Yet, if we don’t get this fundamental question right, everything else is skewed. The question of how we understand woman is a question of primary importance because it affects one half of our population and how that population participates in bringing this country to true greatness.
Make no mistake about this.
The current propaganda has been just as lethal to women and children in the US as anything that goes on in any country in Asia or Africa or Latin America. Any man (or woman) who encourages a woman to think that access to sterilization and abortion will make her equal to men, has rejected her womanhood, and therefore has rejected her as a real person. Are there injustices against women? Of course. Are there things that need to change? Of course. Do women need support in times of crisis and difficulty? Without question. But is this the best answer we are able to come up with?
We have the responsibility to . . .
vote for the men (and women) who truly support us as women and who do not encourage us to sterilize ourselves and deny who we are as women, expecting us to believe that only this will allow us to participate on an equal footing with men. Let’s vote for those who respect the feminine genius as it was given to us by God and who gladly and gratefully receive our gifts first in family, and then in every other area of human activity. We cannot vote for any man, woman or party that rejects us in the very gift of our womanhood.
In the countries mentioned above, incredible, selfless people, many of them victims themselves, are doing tremendous outreach and helping to change things. They are women (and men) of real courage. They are fighting to bring about real change, raising the standard of women’s lives to what they should be. Some of the answers will need to be rethought. But the positive movement is there. As the documentary says: “women and girls are part of the solution, not the problem.”
Let us say, “No more”
In this country, let us shake off the propaganda daze and stand up. Let us say, “No more” to the lies that drive so much of the political machine! We are a gift precisely as women. Let’s take back control over our own destinies and rid ourselves of these deceptions so we can stand in the light of the Truth about our dignity and the greatness of our calling, precisely as women, to the whole of humanity. And let’s embrace the men who understand this and respect it and move with us, not against us, in the great crisis of this hour!
For women who have been used and deceived by this present culture, take heart! We all have participated in this lie in one way or another. But the good thing is that repentance and change is a movement of the heart, and women are creatures of the heart. And once we realize the deception that has been foisted upon us, the lies that have been used for our own destruction can be stripped of their power, and the feminine genius can then be unleashed for the building up of a true civilization of life and love.
Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT
General Sister Servant