“Wiccans are being oppressed. There’s a reason why many of us stay in the broom closet,” my friend Aaron said. “What about the people who denied Wiccans the right to place a pentacle on their tombstone?”
What can we do about oppression? Speak up!
As I write this, women have come forward to speak the truth about sexual harassment and to identify those who have abused them.
I celebrate women standing up and speaking out.
I also realize that many women and girls have been pushed by society to shut up and take abuse. Over the years, I have even found that I tended to shut up because I didn’t want to “be a bitch.” (It’s hard to admit that I had fallen for society’s lie about “who is a bitch.”)
There Is a Horrible Myth about “Being a Bitch” When One Is Really Being Assertive
From the time I was a child through my teen years, I saw how assertive female individuals were harassed for standing up for themselves.
But it is worse. I’ve read about how people tend to internalize the authority figures’ voices—in their own minds. If I spoke up, I would be called a bitch. I even said to friends, “I don’t want to be a bitch.”
My own husband says, “You’re not doing that. Instead, you’re being assertive. Assertive is NOT the same thing as aggressive.”
Let’s pay attention to this point: Using the “bitch” label is how many people try to keep women “in line.” Enough of that!
Currently, I’m in the middle of a dispute with an online retailer. I just wanted my money back, and the online retailer denied my request. So, I went to the payment vendor and asked them to resolve it.
The payment vendor sided with the online retailer.
I was furious. And, I even felt like giving up.
Have you ever felt like a company was too big and you were too small to get any form of justice? If so, you can probably relate to this situation.
On the edge of giving up, I talked the situation over with a family member. That’s when I resolved to speak up. I looked at the payment vendor’s website and found the “Appeal” button. I clicked it and typed up my comment.
Will I prevail in this dispute with the online retailer? I don’t know.
What counts is that I’m proud of myself for not giving up and for speaking up.
I realize that this may be a smaller issue—just about some money.
But in the recent two days, I realized the important point: We had better get used to speaking up.
As I write this, the current man in the White House has been caught admitting to being a sexual abuser.
Still, at this time, at least six men have been identified as sexual abusers. Some of them have lost their lucrative money-making deals and careers.
People are standing up and saying: We will NOT tolerate such abuse and oppression.
Wiccans Honor the Goddess
One of the reasons I like Wicca is: It gives women the power to run and lead their own lives—to be assertive and strong without any fear of ridicule or shaming.
In our community, we are strong Priestesses, and we have compassion and love for all. We are equally valued with the Priests of our spiritual path.
Wiccans Living In Society
I realize that many of us will not wear our faith out for all to see. (If you met me on the street, you would likely see my pentacle necklace.)
However, we, Wiccans, can support women who speak up.
When the powerful take advantage of the vulnerable, sometimes it is hard to fight and stand up to them. The solution is to stand together.
We Need to Stand Up with the Women Who Call Out the Abuse
Have you noticed the systematic oppression of women? Think about it. If a woman reports abuse she is likely to lose her job and future opportunities. Some individuals say, “What are you talking about?” Consider this: How many employers want to hire a whistleblower?
If a man gets punched in the mouth, and he stands up, he is applauded.
If a woman gets sexually harassed, a number of individuals do what they can to shame her. They say, “You should have known better. You brought it on yourself.”
We have been hearing in the news lately about the men who took advantage of women working for them. This really angers me. I was sexually assaulted when I was young. I was afraid of being shamed. I was also afraid of being called a slut—and other forms of bullying perpetrated by my peers and society.
If you are a woman, you know what systematic oppression means—and how it feels to be harmed by it.
Progress Can Be Achieved
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. — Eleanor Roosevelt
Women created their own movement and worked for 72 years until women were granted their right to vote in the USA. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states on August 18, 1920.
In April 2007, Wiccan U.S. soldiers gained the right to have a pentacle on their tombstones. This required a lawsuit. A plaintiff was Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin.
During April 2007, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs settled with Wiccans so the pentacle was added to the list of 38 “emblems of belief” allowed on VA grave markers.
Progress Begins with You Today
Remember: Standing together we are more powerful than alone.
What small step can you do today to stand up against oppression?
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