Tag Archives: women’s rights


CSM Michelle Jones, first female command sergeant major of US Army Reserve (PD as work product of federal govt.)

An exceptional woman who once worked for me as a paralegal, had been in the Army before that.  There is an Army saying that goes:  It rains in the Army, but not on the Army.  That means soldiers power through, whatever the obstacle.  They move so fast, the raindrops don’t even touch them.

That fit my friend to a tee.  Any organization would have been lucky to have her.

My friend shared with me that she had been the only black woman (often the first and only woman) in all the classes or programs she ever attended.  She refused to declare her race on any form determining eligibility for affirmative action.  Yet the assumption was always made that she could not have qualified on merit alone.

I worked for years in inner city Philadelphia, and still love the children I came to know there.  Most of those children are black.  All are still living in poverty.  But children are not born with the knowledge they are supposed to be inferior.  They have to be taught that. Continue reading


Filed under Poverty, racism

Madame Mayor

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4: 4).

In Turkey, a Muslim woman with a 5th grade education, married at 15 y.o. to an abusive husband, and largely confined to home all her married life, has been elected co-mayor of her district [1].

Technically, men and women have equal rights in Turkey. The reality is far different. Four in ten Turkish women polled in 2009 said they were victims of domestic violence.

Long isolated from the outside world by her husband, Berivan Kilic somehow found the courage to divorce him after fourteen years of marriage. Turkish women do have the legal right to divorce. Since employment is not widely available to women, however, they must either remarry or “fall into the streets”.

Aisan, Berivan’s mother, brokered a third alternative. Aisan convinced Berivan’s father to let Berivan move back home.

With her two young sons, Berivan returned to the house where she grew up. To support herself, she began cutting hair. And she resumed her education by studying at home. This shocked, but intrigued the small town of Kocakoy.

Along the way, Berivan joined the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The party, whose core values include gender equality, urged Berivan to run for office. Astonishingly, she won.

Local women now have a representative who understands their needs. One of Berivan’s priorities is, in fact, creating employment opportunities for women. She believes that this approach will for cultural reasons accomplish more good than a women’s shelter would. Berivan is, also, planning a crafts market for women’s handmade goods.

An act of courage saved a life, and is today changing other lives for the better.

[1] NBC News, “Turkish Teen Bride Divorces and Blazes Trail to Politics” by Emily Feldman, 6/5/14, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkish-teen-bride-divorces-blazes-trail-politics-n123611.



Filed under Christianity, Justice, Politics, Prostitution, Religion, Violence Against Women

Abuse-Related Advocacy

Those of us committed to raising awareness of child abuse and violence against women often invest emotionally in the task. Since many of us are abuse survivors, we have a personal stake in bringing public pressure to bear on issues like the funding and oversight of foster care programs.

This is all to the good.

But the problem of abuse has long and pernicious roots. Neither child abuse nor violence against women is a new phenomenon. Both have been present throughout history, can be found worldwide, and are actually tolerated in certain cultures, if not encouraged. That makes the fight to abolish them or at least seek justice for victims extremely difficult.

Our goal is to do nothing less than change the world.

There are pitfalls associated with this fight. To begin with, depending on the cultural setting, advocacy can be dangerous. Readers will remember Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban in 2012 for a blog post in support of women’s education.

Continual exposure to the ugly details of abuse can be disheartening. In March 2014, federal investigators shut down a global child pornography ring with over 27,000 predators [1]. Victims (mostly male) ranged in age from 3 y.o. and younger to 17 y.o.

Contact with such horrors may cause early burnout, a well recognized risk among social workers.  At a minimum, it can rob us of desire and our capacity to trust the opposite sex. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Terrorism, Violence Against Women