My daughter’s birthday is next Friday, and I’ve been wondering what to do to honor her. As I was praying this morning, God gave me an answer – stand up against what caused her premature birth and brain damage in the first place – misogyny.
While praying, God told me something very enlightening. It is actually not wrong for me to get angry about wrong things that have been done to me and to others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I don’t still see evil. I let go of bitterness, but, I do hold on to righteous anger that says, “No. No more.”
And, so, to the first sergeant who told me that he didn’t like women in the Army and refused to listen to anyone who said that I shouldn’t go on guard duty in full gear that was for 9 days straight, I say, “You were wrong, and your hatred of women caused untold pain, not just to me and my family, but to at least one other woman I know who was put on that duty and lost her baby while she was there on duty. That was wrong, and your misogyny has no place in this world. God will not bless this attitude. You will answer for it.”
He was not the first, or the last to display blatant misogyny in my life, and/or in the life of women I love. So, this is me, in honor of Amber, saying that I will not stay silent while bitter, angry, spiteful men misuse and abuse women and girls.
I was taught not to say no as a child. I was taught that not only did I have no right to say no to a man, I was less of a human being because I was a girl. So, though I love my dad and forgive him, I say this to him. “You were wrong. You were wrong to despise your three daughters because they weren’t sons. You were wrong to vent your rage and passions on my mom, my sisters and me. You were wrong to look down on us. You were wrong to think the Bible gave you the right to treat us any way you felt like. You were wrong to not seek help for your mental health issues and wounds from your past so that you instead vented all of your pain at feeling like you weren’t good enough, on us. You were wrong to blame Satan and make me think that Satan was stronger than God. You were wrong to refuse to take responsibility for your actions. But, you were right in later years to acknowledge and apologize. For that, I thank you. And, I forgive you. But, the wrongs you did won’t be repeated against me again if I can help it, nor on my mom or sisters — nor on my friends. God cares for us as much as he cares for any man.”
To all of the men who have beaten, raped, hospitalized, killed, belittled, mansplained, lorded over and abused me and almost every woman I know, I say this – get bent.
To the man who said that it’s too bad he needs sex because that means he has to put up with women, I say, “That’s a scum-bucket thing to say. You are wrong.”
To the supervisor who decided that because I didn’t respond to your romantic overtures I didn’t deserve the job you said I’d be perfect for, I say, “I didn’t need you. God had my back. But, you suck.”
To the co-worker who killed his wife in front of his daughter and to the people who were still on his side even after, who blamed his wife for her own death, I say, “What world do you live in where this is all right? I may forgive, but you still have God to face.”
To the men who’ve put my friends in the hospital because you thought you had a right to hurt them, I say, “I wish you nothing good. I have to work on forgiveness here because all I see when I think of you is red, bright red. Your actions are evil. I hate them, and if I didn’t believe that hating you was wrong, I’d hate you too. But, I have to let go of the anger and let God handle it. I can’t do it. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.”
I could go on. Sadly, the list is long of the personal experiences that I, and people I know and love, have had of being the targets of misogyny. Most of them have been able to not only recover, but rise above anything you could imagine of them. Others, sadly, were taken from this life, but I am confident that God has them tucked away safely in his arms where nobody can hurt them anymore.
That’s it. To honor my daughter I stand up and say no. No more.