Playing the blame game

In response to the @everydaysexism campaign my mind went back to an incident a few years ago. I was well into my 40’s and at a wedding with my boyfriend when at the end of the night a ‘friend’ of his saw fit to shove his hand up my dress and grab my crotch.

My first feelings were paralysis, I slapped his hand and ran, unable to shout and immediately wanting to pretend it hadn’t happened. The same old questions – had I ‘asked’ for it, was it my fault? I was a 40 something year old woman but as unequipped to deal with the incident as I had been in my twenties.

I did share the experience with my boyfriend and he behaved as I should have, outraged, angry and dealt with the man in question. I received an apology but was too embarrassed to voice my feelings and just grateful that it was over.

Fast forward to today, I watched the Everyday sexism film and saw fit to send it to the man in question and tell him how I felt then and now about his assault.

His response was to deny it had ever happened; accuse me of being deluded and indeed for having behaved provocatively. In that split second once more I questioned myself. Had I flirted with him? Had I suggested I was open to his advances?

NO. Obviously the blame lies 100% with him but although educated, mature and a supporter of all other women and their rights I wavered, maybe it was my fault.

As a therapist and spiritual seeker we are taught to take responsibility for our own actions, not too blame, to surround the problem in ‘love and light’. ‘How do we invite events into our lives and what can we ‘learn’ from all our interventions both good and bad’

Well, IT WAS HIS FAULT!!!

Along side that, to the client that came to me feeling guilty that she had terminated pregnancies at 15 and 16, I’d like to say, it was the fault of the much older man that impregnated a minor and then did nothing to support her.

The stories are endless I do not need to list them here, the Everyday sexism campaign is doing a wonderful job of that but what I do want to say is sometimes the blame game is more than necessary.

If we as women are to heal from the harassment both major and minor that every one of us has suffered throughout our lives we need to know where to place the blame. The blame ALWAYS lies with the man who assaults us. We never ask for it or deserve it we do however, have chance for recourse. We can confront sexism wherever and whenever we see it.

We can stand up for ourselves and we can stand up for women around us when we see it. We can teach our sons, our men and our fathers that it is not harmless fun and it is not our fault.

To my boyfriend at the time who did the right thing and to all the wonderful men in my life who are far removed from blame, I am grateful.

But its time to play the blame game and point our fingers at the ones who need to be told, at the men who have no shame and the ones who should know better. It is their fault not ours and now is the time to come right out and say it. Maybe then we could get down to forgiveness and back into that love and light.

Follow @everydaysexism on twitter and if you haven’t seen it take a look at the short film

http://vimeo.com/67582923         http://ow.ly/lGyCP ,

The Art of Aging. Certain? Then you are indeed a woman of age.

Ladies what we are talking about here is the ‘M’ word, the time when M no longer stands for Mother – for all of us the letter M will eventually become one thing, MENOPAUSE.

Not all women will have had the chance or made the choice to become a mother but if luck is on our side, we will all get to enjoy our menopause. Yes, you heard right I said ‘you will enjoy your menopause’, if we were in the same room I would be waving my arms and shouting this sentence, one thing that happens to us all as we get older is we do indeed become more certain.

Over time women become less grey in opinions and that little bit bolder, no longer likely to ‘shut up’ or ‘put up’ we are far more likely to shout out and yes, ‘put out’ too.

We don’t have to look far back and women were old in their 60’s, go not much further back than that and women just didn’t get to reach that age at all. For the first time in history we are a fast growing generation of peri/menopausal woman. The baby boomers have reached that ‘certain ‘ age and with a force of numbers women are redefining the menopause.

In puberty our wombs grow and double with each cycle. As we menopause, our womb shrinks back to a pre pubescent size, she hardens, becomes a nugget of wisdom; compressed by the force of nature she eventually becomes our own sparkling diamond. Our shining wombs are the light that can carry us into that third age, the age of the wise woman or as others might say the crone.

It’s a journey and the way can be complicated, but for those of us who approach peri menopause we have some fine sisters to follow and we in turn will light the way for those behind.

As we increasingly celebrate a girl’s coming of age once she reaches puberty, now is the time to celebrate woman’s coming of wisdom as she reaches menopause.To feel that shining strength, whether we still have our wombs or not, the energy is there and its time to listen.

Through the busy years of earning money, making babies, handling relationships our focus is outward bound, a time of looking inward will ease the transition of this third age, a time to say what you mean and mean what you say. A time to put one hand on your heart, one hand on your womb and listen.

Listen, because your womb holds your story and she needs to be heard. She demands to be heard. Hot flashes, heavy bleeding, sleepless nights, these are some of the ways she is shouting out. If we stop to hear she may teach us a lesson and you know, we are never too old to learn. Of that, I am certain.

More information coming soon on an exciting collaboration between Artist @marybranson and womb worker @hilarylewin . Follow for details on how you can participate in workshops and art installation for hundreds of women of a ‘certain age’.