When Women Tell The Truth: #MeToo


Note:  My friends, in looking through some past posts I ran across this one from April 27,  2012 which seems especially appropriate today. Six years ago we were talking about the War on Women.  Since then, we’ve made progress, especially with the #MeToo movement, but much remains to be done. After thousands of years of conditioning by male-dominated societies, we carry the roots of misogyny in the depths of our psyches. Some people, even very well-meaning ones, still can’t see it in themselves, let alone imagine a society in which women accept their sovereignty and their voices are heard and heeded without reprisal. But once a new light has entered a soul, no force on Earth can quell the fire of evolving consciousness. 

Some of my posts come from the heart, some from the head. This one comes from the gut. It’s difficult to write because I’m swamped with strong emotions I don’t quite know how to express. So I’ll simply tell you the truth. I’ve recently come across three troubling blogs. One is written by a woman who describes the sad and dangerous life she lived as a prostitute in New York City for ten years.  A second expresses a woman’s disenchantment with her religion because of the oppression she’s experienced. A third is by a woman who is regularly abused by her husband and wishes she lived in America. None of these women make excuses or plead for sympathy. They simply tell the truth about their lives. And the truth is shocking, painful, and scary.

It’s shocking to know how many women suffer at the hands of men who fear and hate them. Shocking to know how often the authorities responsible for protecting women feel justified in not doing their jobs. Painful to know that so many women in today’s world are disrespected simply because they’re female. Painful to realize I’d rather turn away than face this truth. Scary because it reminds me how vulnerable I am…because I’m a female.

I started this post a few hours ago and was almost finished when I accidentally deleted it. So I had a little inner discussion that went like this:  “Oh, darn! It’ll take too long to try to rewrite it. I should just start over with another topic that’s easier to write about.”

My conscience responded with,  “Are you sure you didn’t unconsciously delete it accidentally on purpose so you’d have an excuse not to post it? Are you perhaps feeling a wee tad cowardly?”

Oops. We bandied this about until the doorbell rang. It was my daughter, granddaughters and granddog who’d dropped by for a brief visit. I told my daughter  how I didn’t know if I wanted to re-create the post and she said, “Why don’t you just write another one about how conflicted you’re feeling?  Wouldn’t that be appropriate for your blog?” Yes, indeedy it would! How’d she get so smart?

So I’ve decided to tell another truth I don’t want to think or write about. A website called Archetype in Action has been publishing posts of mine for several months in the hope of raising awareness about the unconscious forces in ourselves and society that perpetuate misogyny. Last week it published an older one about the feminine principle in men and women, only to be hacked. Someone deleted my article and replaced it with a formal-looking notice saying it was inappropriate! The site manager provided another link and the problem was solved. But the bigger problem is still there. If I keep writing my truths here will I and my blog be the next target for hackers who want to stifle my voice?

This morning’s e-mail contained the latest post from the blogger who’s experienced oppression by her religion and culture. In it she expressed her anger at the hypocrisy of a religion that makes scholarly pronouncements emphasizing women’s rights while dismissing the women who do not experience these rights. After I read it I clicked on the link to her site so I could make a comment.  Guess what. The post was gone and there was a notice that said: “Not Found, Error 404. The page you are looking for no longer exists.”

Here I am, a well-intentioned, well-loved, well-treated woman in 21st century America, afraid to express my anger about injustices against women for fear of becoming a target. Is a world where women are afraid to tell the truth the kind of world in which we want our daughters and granddaughters to grow up?

Strong Women:  May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

One final note, since this is a repost, it does not contain the many wonderful comments from strong women that arrived after the original post was published.  If you’re interested, I invite you to read them here.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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26 Responses

  1. Yes, Jean, this is an excellent post. The hypocrisy and oppression regarding women is sad, I am glad you are speaking out. I am angered that so many men try to rule women’s lives and don’t allow women to speak their mind. Thank you for starting the process.

    1. You’re welcome Gwyn. May all of us who feel this way—men and women alike— keep speaking out until our voices can no longer be ignored.

  2. A very important post Jeanie ~ I often see this hate of the feminine cropping up in my clinical practice. I see it extending out into the physical abuse of females as you mention but also to the more immediate abuse by men of their feeling natures … their ’emotional bodies’ … through strategies for numbing-out (often drugs) … to a hate of and a total disregard for the natural world and the planet as a whole. It dwells in many women as well. Maybe reference Paul Levy’s ideas regarding the ‘wetiko’ … https://www.awakeninthedream.com/articles-1/
    Thanks for sharing !

    1. Thank you for bringing up this important point, Richard. As you say, disrespect for women and their truths is a symptom of the disrespect females as well as males have for our physical bodies and feminine feeling natures: such things as feeling and acknowledging painful emotions, caring, gentleness, softness, listening, having compassion for others, being willing to make connections with them, reflecting on the subtle messages from our own bodies, spirits and souls, being able to forgive ourselves for being flawed, tending our relationships with kindness, appreciating the mystery and beauty of nature and treating it with respect, and so on. How different our world would be if more people understood that our fear of facing our fuller selves shuts down our capacity for living life fully and becoming the joyous creatures of light we were born to be. Many thanks for the link to Paul Levy. I’ll check out his work.

    2. I’m also familiar with the ‘wetiko’ concept. In modern, industrialized societies (like the US), women are also conditioned to hate, or at least disregard and devalue the feminine side of our natures ~ through our unquestioning support of endless war and unfettered capitalism, and the pleasure-oriented diversions of our authoritative, image and success-driven culture and media, always wanting ‘more’. In accepting the official narrative, many of us have lost touch with our sense of inner knowing. We’ve stopped questioning, no longer recognize the bigger truths that extend beyond our small worlds and tribes..

      1. Absolutely! Its as if our tribe lives in a very small bubble in a vast sea of bubbles, each of which contains a different ruling principle guided by a certain set of values which pervade the air in our bubble. And those of us who live in this bubble serve the values we’ve been taught, no matter how meaningless and harmful they may feel to us, because we’re utterly unaware of the far larger reality, which is ultimately benevolent and life-serving. And that same larger reality lives within us, and all we have to do is heed it and act on it to burst through our bubble and see the bigger picture. But we never notice or listen to our true selves because they differ from what we’ve been conditioned to notice and trust, and because everyone in our particular bubble might disapprove. Thanks for reminding us of the bigger picture, LB! I look forward to learning more from Paul Levy.

  3. Out of curiosity, I looked at my posts at Archetype in Action and found them all there, including the most political (Have They Forgotten They Are Mortal: Lessons from Hecate). They weren’t published recently, and that seems to be an essential part of this–that things are getting worse before, I hope, they get better. Of course, there are no guarantees about the better part. I haven’t had the experience of disappearing posts, but I know it’s happening like crazy. I read a little of what the “right” is saying about the courageous Parkland kids, especially powerful Emma, and I felt sick for her. Those kids are so young and carrying what the adults can’t seem to carry. Even on my desert vacation, the world reaches me. I was not at a March for Our Lives gathering because the nearest was a long distance from where I am. I’ll be back in the mix when I get home. For me, it feels essential t to be there with my body, not just my ideas. As always, I remember Marion Woodman dropping her voice a few octaves and rolling her eyes while she said, “You didn’t think the Patriarchy would give up without a fight, did you?” Many prayers needed for life.

    1. Mine are all there now too, Elaine. This particular incident happened 6 years ago when Archetype in Action—for those who aren’t familiar with this, the address is http://www.archetypeinaction.com/index.php/en/ — was regularly being hacked. Skip, (Skip Conover, the originator of this amazing site), was undaunted through it all and persisted in following his own star and protecting his site. It’s still there, but as far as I know, this may still be happening. There are many who simply refuse to see reality and don’t want anyone else to see it either. Maybe he’ll weigh in here and let us know? Hi Skip! 🙂
      Elaine, I know you join me in highly recommending his site to anyone who wants to see what a healthy and healing Warrior archetype looks like in a man: an intrepid, dauntless, unyielding force for truth, healing, and supporting women’s rights and healthy feminine power, a force which refuses to bow to fear and ignorance. And a Jungian scholar to be reckoned with.
      Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your desert holiday, and thanks so much for taking the time to write. Your Marion Woodman quote is priceless!!!

    1. Well said, Fran. I couldn’t agree more! This is exactly what has been happening to me. I am far less guided by outer authorities than ever before because I’ve found my inner authority who speaks to me in dreams. Nobody knows me better than this friend who consistently shows me the truths of my soul and empowers me to voice them. With blessings and appreciation to you and the work you do for good.

  4. After reading your post, I ran across an online article about how a group of women in war-ravaged Yemen are using art to give the millions of silent victims of the 3-year Saudi-led coalition and US-UK supported war a voice. Guns, bombs (drones), starvation, disease and cholera are just some of the ongoing challenges these women and their families face. To have the courage to create rather than destroy in the midst of war speaks to the human need to feel seen and heard, to give our suffering a voice:

    1. Oh my. Thank you, LB. This piece about Yemen is painfully shocking and deeply inspiring. It speaks to the assertions of many men and women that the future of our world is in the hands of women. (I read that again just yesterday; I think Carl Jung may have said it too?) Women simply must find a way to share our truths. What this woman is doing is brilliant and brave. It makes me very proud to be a woman.

      1. I’m glad you appreciated the piece, Jeanne. Unfortunately, women within our government and system have played, and continue to play, key roles in supporting US aggression, endless war, and the murder, torture, exploitation and commodification of fellow human beings.
        Adding to this, here in the US the sharing and discerning of ‘dark’ truths has become increasingly difficult since the blacklisting of major leftist websites (accused of being ‘fake news’) following the 2016 election. Google, Twitter, Facebook and many MSM sites have implemented algorithms specifically designed to censor access to sites like the one on which the article about the women of Yemen appeared. We can’t speak of something if we don’t know it exists.
        We don’t all have to become political activists. But we become complicit when we look the other way. As Martin Niemoller once said, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist . . . Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

      2. Sorry to have misspelled your name in my previous reply, Jeanie. I meant to correct it before I posted my comment, but the thought slipped away.

  5. Dear Jeanie, this is EPIC! Thank you so much for reposting your “women’s truth” article and for sharing your own conflicted feelings and the struggle it took to publish this. Yay! You have dared to write about, and speak the truth of many, many women’s painful lives at not only the hands of individual brutal, abusive men, but that of the collective, dominant patriarchy.
    The appropriation of women’s words, the theft of women’s authentic voices by the abusive, immoral, old boy’s networks has been unspeakable! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Elaine response, “I remember Marion Woodman dropping her voice a few octaves and rolling her eyes while she said, “You didn’t think the Patriarchy would give up without a fight, did you?” Classic Marion!
    The Goddess is coming and Her voice is deafening! Today, in towns and cities, women’s voices all over are being heard. Interestingly, since I first began writing my “The Animus Diet: Journey of Love” article two years ago, in total I’ve had over 34,000 attempts to have it taken down … why I wonder? Maybe by guiding women to “slim down” their “inner man” this generated fear and fury?
    Thankfully Athena’s once protective breastplate and shoulder pads are slowly being removed, as women learn to speak with a woman’s heart and a woman’s voice. See how they rise up strong, become up-standing and march for their children, families, communities and industries because they’ve had enough! In sisterhood and in soul, Deborah.

    1. Thank you, Deborah, Beautifully said. I absolutely love your metaphor of slowly removing Athena’s breastplate and shoulder pads. I hadn’t realized until reading this how filled with irony it is for me…how much I’ve grown and changed over the years.
      At one point in my spiritual journey—about 47-46 years ago—when I was still so deeply influenced by the authority of organized religion that I almost totally disowned my own spiritual authority, I used to put on the armor of God (from some Bible verses in one of St. Paul’s letters in the New Testament) in my daily prayers. It was meant to protect me from the forces of evil. And perhaps the confidence and hope this ritual gave me did help protect the most vulnerable parts of me somewhat. As a woman who was deeply afraid to assert her truths—which seemed so painfully different from everyone else’s—I most certainly did need a certain kind of protection, not only from other people but also from my deep insecurity and well-hidden but growing rage!
      Anyway, what a beautiful image you’ve given me to guide my ongoing choices about how and when and where I speak with my heart and voice in the most healing way possible. It’s a perfect image for me! Thank you so much.
      In sisterhood and in soul, Jeanie

  6. Dear Jeanie, this ties in very synchronistically with what I’ll be writing about in the upcoming A-Z Blog Challenge, ie Lilith. Her voice, the first female voice that was dismissed and discarded … What your post has brought home to me is how we as women have to keep on speaking our own truth which has the universal about it as well.
    I wonder sometimes how destructive this world on all levels has to get/be before the penny drops. I also wonder about the responsibility women have when they become mothers. Do we collude in perpetrating stereotypes? Do we not look deeply enough into our choice of potential fathers?
    I must look into Athena ..
    Many thanks indeed! I’m going to approach Lilith with more gusto and more voice. You’ve and the comments have given me encouragement …

    1. Hi Susan,
      You wonder about young mothers…..I think the major thing that keeps them from speaking in their own voices so as not to collude in perpetuating stereotypes is their own woundedness, their insecurity and sense of not being worthy. In the face of patriarchal resistance, these wounds often cause women to succumb to unconscious fears of reprisal, no matter how minor it might be.
      I guess this depends on how sensitive they are and how much they doubt their own authority. Some women cave at the least resistance, like a frown or scornful remark. For others it takes more to deter them, but ultimately, women raised in environments in which “father knows best” and mothers are not strong enough to support them can have an especially difficult time believing in their own voices. It’s not even a conscious thing; just an anxiety that rises and overwhelms them without their ever realizing it. Like a bad habit that’s become so automatic that it’s very hard to even see, let alone break.
      It can be extremely difficult for women who have sensed from the cradle that their mothers aren’t there for them to trust themselves. For some young girls, stifling their voices feels essential to their survival. I think that’s why so many women finally move into their own authority in their elder years. They’ve made it that far and know they can survive and have nothing to lose any more. It’s also why it’s so important that elder women, older mothers and grandmothers and aunts, model truth-speaking with kindness and care to the girls and women around them. We have much to learn from the crones.
      Thanks for writing. I look forward to your posts about Lilith or the A-Z Challenge.

      1. Thank you Jeanie for your lovely reply. The pattern is so hard to break. I like what you say that women can work it out in their older years and the younger ones can learn from the crones ..

    2. Susan ~ I share your interest in Lilith and look forward to reading your future thoughts. As an archetype, Lilith has much to teach us about our shadows and the unconscious forces that shape our psyches. In my study of astrology (and because Lilith is prominent in my own chart), I’ve been mostly disappointed in the too-narrow focus on Lilith’s sexuality and feminism, when she’s capable of so much more. It’s hard work, to be sure, but possible.
      When Lilith’s wound and sense of ‘otherness’ and alienation are consciously claimed and properly understood (rather than projected), I believe she holds the potential to become a channel for transpersonal forces concerned with larger, deeper and darker truths, often revealed through intuition and expressed creatively and politically. It’s then her search for truth and acceptance expands and becomes inclusive, moves beyond an over-identification with and concern for self based solely on gender, family, tribe, nation. When consciously integrated and joined with other feminine and masculine energies within our psyches, Lilith becomes concerned for the well-being of ALL and with life.
      Lilith can still serve as an impassioned and informed advocate and truth-teller on behalf of women, only now she recognizes women’s problems as being symptoms of the larger problem of being human and of the cruelties others face as well.
      One of the best articles I’ve ever come across on Lilith (and her association with another feminine archetype, Eris) compares her to the dragon, saying: “Behind every Shadow stands the light. In every method of therapy or esoteric work worthy of the name, the key to the spirit is through the monster guardian or Dragon within the soul . . . “:
      This dragon and the need to embrace both masculine and feminine, light and dark forces, also ties in with Anne Baring’s work in her book, “The Dream of the Cosmos: a Quest for the Soul” ~ a book I learned of through a comment left on Jeanie’s site.
      Good luck!

      1. Thanks so much LB for your comment here … I’m in agreement that Lilith’s wound is to be acknowledged and addressed. I like Lilith – hand maiden to us all …
        Thank you for the link – I looked over it briefly last night but plan to do so fully right now. I’m not familiar with Eris. Anne Baring’s book is wonderful. I have it.
        My posts will be brief – they have to be for the April A-Z blog challenge.
        Have a great weekend.

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