Whenever I write up a " controversial " post - or one of my " rants " there's always a moment when I hesitate.
Will I offend anyone?
Is my blog the place to write about certain subjects?
Is it a DIY blog?
Is it a furniture makeover over blog?
Is it a humorous blog?
Is it a lifestyle blog?
I don't know - I suppose it's all of the above in general - and none of the above in particular.
But what I do know is that I have a small platform in which to express my thoughts - and this is one time where I don't have any doubts that I need to hit publish.
So here I go..............once again
I'm a child of the 60's and 70's.
And though I go on sometimes about what a wonderful era that was to grow up in - there were parts of that era that were shameful and horrific.
For women in particular
( well more than that, far more than that - but this post is about women and a mindset that was the " norm " )
We have a case going on right now which has taken social media by storm - if you aren't aware of it you can google Jian Ghomeshi.
It " broke " about a month ago.
It's a case about a man with power.
It's a case about abusing that power.
And it's a case that brings to light how far us women have come while not really moving forward at all.
And now we have Dr. Huxtable in the news.
I grew up watching Bill Cosby.
I can remember snippets of I SPY ( I was quite young then ) and I most definitely remember Fat Albert but the show that stands out in my memory the strongest is the The Bill Cosby show.
Talk about family values. Talk about females being as important as males !
I also grew up in a time when far too many women I knew had been molested.
We were our Mother's daughters, to some degree, so a lot of them just accepted that this had been done to them - but we were not our Mother's daughter's in that we spoke about it. We were a generation that had discovered we had a voice and though it may not have been heard by the masses - it was a voice none the less.
( our Mothers kept these horrible secrets to themselves - swept them under the rug - pretended they didn't happen )
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
The 70's were a little different in that we were actually talking about female injustices - albeit only amongst friends for the most part but there was, at the very least, healing powers in the ability to speak about atrocities that had occurred. I remember - as clearly as if it were yesterday - having a party once - and looking around the room and knowing that almost half the women there had been violated against in some manner.
Them's high numbers and sad proof that nothing had really changed.
I also remember arguing with one of my friends that she had " rights "
That she had to DO something............that this couldn't be silenced.
She looked at me with sad eyes and said " My own Mother never believed it Suzan "
Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever going to keep me there again
Ahhh the wonderful beautiful 70's.
When woman were trying desperately to shatter glass ceilings without bras on.
When woman were entering the work force and demanding equal rights.
When woman were finally realizing that we had more worth than a perfectly baked loaf of bread.
When woman were saying - in large numbers - NO - and meaning it.
You can bend but never break me
Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
Oh the horrible ugly 70's.
When woman were still picking up their boss's clothes from the cleaners or running out to pick up a sandwich for them because they were too busy doing " real " work
Or making the perfect cup of coffee.
When woman were still told they had to wear dresses or skirts and high heels to work
( you have such lovely legs dear - show them - please )
When woman had their asses grabbed or worse, much worse, by bosses they couldn't stand
When indecent proposals were to be considered a compliment by a man who could have you
fired for talking " back "
When the only way we could get into a board room was with a pen and pad and excellent stenography skills.
We were a generation that were constantly knocked down - much like our Mothers
We kept getting back up and every time we did - we got just a little louder.
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul
It's hard, very hard, to look back on those years with 2014 eyes and understand a woman's thought process from an era when a woman's thought process was considered completely irrelevant.
When judge and juries deemed us " little women "
When we " asked " to be raped because of what we wore or how we looked - or how we spoke
When we were constantly put in our " place " by men who truly believed they were superior beings.
But the one thing I want to - need to - have to - convey here - is that there was a movement on it's way -
A sisterhood if you will - a bond that was growing world wide.
A grass roots movement in fact - tiny at first - but ever growing
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my loving arms across the land
And that movement was screaming - at the top of it's lungs - from mountains and valley's - from roof tops and kitchens - from typing pools to stay at home Mom's
We held each other's hands
We encouraged cleansing of the souls
We validated our gender and stood up for each other
We were a soft and gentle landing pad for our sisters -
We needed to know we counted - that we had worth in the eyes of a male dominated world but mostly we needed to be believed.
But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand
I'm not passing judgement on Mr. Cosby.
He has not been proven guilty in a court of law - and it's not my place ( nor is this the place ) to sentence him.
BUT - you will never - ever - hear me bashing those women.
Because, as a child of the 70's, I never want to think of a woman being shamed into silence again in my life.
I KNOW far too many women that were.
Yes I am wise
But it's wisdom borne of pain
Yes I've paid the price
But look how much I've gained
I saw too many tears fall down silent cheeks -
I saw too many fall victim to substance abuse because of a lack of self worth incurred by the hand of their abuser.
I saw pain............as raw as it gets - written on faces with indelible ink - that will never in their life times be removed.
I saw lives shattered - irreversibly so - because of doubt.
If I have to, I can face anything
Chances are today - if you sit in a room filled with women - a good percentage of them still have these stories silently festering inside of them
Chances are they will never speak about them for fear of ridicule or worse - judgement.
Chances are - the ones that will criticise the most will be other women.
And I think, at the end of the day, to be doubted by another woman is possibly the nail in the coffin.
We were not a generation of teachers encouraging truths to be spoken about.
We were not a generation of numbers to call for help
We were not a generation of being offered a safe place to go to.
What we were was a generation of women trying desperately to stop it - collectively.
And in order to do that we had to believe each other.
Are all these women telling the truth?
Who knows.................there are women who invent stories - but as the numbers grow - as the story gains momentum - who are we to say it never happened?
Who are we to call them all liars and gold diggers?
This story has happened to women since time began.
And so my final word on the subject is this.
Please - all you girls and women who are now acting as judge and jury against these women who are speaking out - keep this in mind.
It's a lonely lonely road that they are walking upon - be gentle - help them speak their truths if the truth is what they are trying to speak.
If we can't hold their hands...................if we can't stand beside them................or support them
Please please please let us not be throwing stones.
That road they have stepped out on to is not the Yellow Brick Road................it's a Black and Grey one and it's very dark.
There's no dancing on this road in ruby red slippers - just small steps - so small that they sometimes take 30 years to reach their destination.
That light shining at the end of it?
It's so tiny it's almost invisible.
And every single time a " sister " says they don't believe it diminishes even more.
I am strong
and it's made all the darker when we fail to listen - at the very least - to just listen
I am invincible
I will never be the weakest link in a chain my generation helped to build.
If anyone needs to talk, I am here, please know that I am here.
I can't heal you - I can't make it go away - but I have experience with listening.
Far more than I wish I did.
I am woman
And I am on your side.
I AM WOMAN
Helen Reddy & Ray Burton