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Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Woman's Worth

I'm in a more serious frame of mind today, friends. 

I'd like to start with a little story. A woman lived in Chicago, IL with her husband, son, and three daughters in the early 1960's. She didn't seem happy, and her daughters felt like she only cared about her son. Shortly after her youngest child turned seven, her husband committed a violent act against her and left her, broken and bleeding, for her children to discover. He turned himself in to the police, and after she died, he ended up in prison. He was released in less than five years. His wife's life was over, and his children were changed forever. He died alone, and none of his children knew until a few years later.

That woman was my mother, and I was the seven-year-old girl. Looking back with the knowledge and experience of my years, I don't feel the same about her as I did then. I think that in her eyes, and her experience, a woman's life was full of unhappiness and pain. Why become attached to someone when seeing their sorrows would only make yours worse? I may be wrong about this, but it makes sense to me. It soothes my soul.

It seems that children who experienced domestic abuse in a parental relationship often seek out partners that treat them like their mothers were treated. It is what they are used to. It may be painful or degrading, but it is home. I am proud to say that I do NOT fit into that mold. I spent many years single, and when my husband, Trent, asked me to marry him, I said I had two conditions. I wouldn't iron his shirts, and if he ever raised a hand to me he would never see me again. He said he'd rather never see me again than ever raise a hand to me, and has remained true to his word. And yes, he's still here!

But I see things going on in the world every day that break my heart. I think about how my mother's life was worth less than five years to the justice system in the state of Illinois. The state of Wisconsin repealing protections of equal pay for women who provide equal work. Women who get murdered by their husbands, fathers, and brothers because being raped had dishonored their family since they are no longer virgins. The number-one cause of death of women world-wide being childbirth-related. 

The saddest thing of all, though, is that none of these men or women understand a woman's worth. We all, male and female, are more than our bodies and our jobs. We all have our unique personalities, talents, emotions. We all have the potential to make our world a better place. IF we all know what we are worth.