December 20, 2012
Jennifer Wilkov and Michele Mattia the co-creators of “Get Your Voice On” – A carefully orchestrated event to celebrate women which will be held in NYC on March 1 and 2, 2013 asked me to talk about what “Getting Your Voice On” means to me.
The more I thought about what I would write the angrier I became…Read why.
When I was asked to pen a post about “Getting Your Voice On” I honestly did not know what I would write or how I would write it. The country was in the throes of a bitter election cycle and I was caught up in the daily political acrimony. There were (and still are) issues I feel very strongly about which were marginalized by many politicians and pundits.
For those of you who know me, I have always been considered “the nice one” “the reliable one” “the diplomat” “the easy going one”. Part of the reason I became this “easy going” person is I truly loathe confrontation. You see for many years I lived two lives – one a successful Wall Street Executive and the other a behind closed doors abused wife. The abuse I suffered made me adverse to confrontation.
Having lived in an abusive relationship is one reason I became this “easy going” person – I learned not to speak up for fear of being beaten up by my ex- husband. Living in fear, I became the consummate diplomat. The consummate diplomat was a great thing to be especially in a corporation that wanted their employees not “rock the boat” and get things done the way they wanted them done – I was perfect – and I excelled.
Fast forward many years of therapy later– I am no longer a diplomatic - in fact I am furious. I am furious at the politicians and pundits who belittle, insult, minimize and scorn issues of importance to women. I truly believe these folks consider women as “less than”.
For many years now I have devoted myself to helping survivors of domestic violence create self-sufficient lives – so when I see our politicians treating VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) like a political football I get furious. I am furious because lives are at stake and politicians do not seem to care – by the way it’s been 679 days since VAWA expired, 183 days since Congress last acted on it and 30 days until the end of the current congressional session. Anyone think Congress will do anything about before they end the session? I certainly don’t think so.
In the past I would have not said anything and kept my anger and frustration to myself – but now I don’t. I speak up. I speak up because so many women and their children are suffering at the hands of brutal abusers. And I am furious at politicians, whose number one priority is their own political survival so much so that they are willing to let the most vulnerable among us live in dangerous situations. I will continue to speak up for those who are not yet ready to speak for themselves.
I am nearing the end of this post and I feel exhausted but exhilarated. Exhausted because I had to let go of the “diplomat” that I was – you see she did not want to leave – it was safe being a diplomat. Yet I am committed to speaking out on issues that affect violence against women. I have found my voice and many will hear it loud and clear – whether they like it or not!