A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


Quote of the Day

I think that women as a group are so powerful. I still don't think we are able to embrace our power well enough yet. We think we live in a man's world and we have to follow their rules, and yet, we're so different, and our rules are so different. I wish that we could come together more as a political force. If women ran the world, I don't believe that there would be war. I really don't.... We understand the bigger picture. We understand our impact on the environment, on the world. We understand the generations that will go after us because we gave birth to them.

Kyra Sedgwick Newsweek, Oct. 15, 2007


Don't Be a Victim

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network — RAINN -- someone somewhere in the United States is being assaulted every two and a half minutes. That is some pretty scary statistics, but some simple precautions could lessen your chances of being a victim 

Knowing that a crime could happen is the first step toward protecting yourself. Trust your feelings. Remember, your intuition is a powerful thing and if that little voice tells you that something is wrong, trust that it is. Some of the following may seem a little drastic, but your safety is the most important thing. 

Park near lights at night. Have keys in hand when leaving building for car, or leaving car for building. Keep away from isolated areas, and be sure to check the backseat of your car before you get in, and lock the doors when you drive. Be aware or your surroundings, and  keep your car in good running condition to avoid breakdowns. Should your car break down, attach a white cloth to the antenna and lock yourself in. 

When taking public transportation, avoid dark subway stations. Stay near the conductor at all times. Although he may not be able to help you personally, he can send out a radio alert which will bring help. 
In bars or restaurants, never leave your drinks unattended, and don't let someone else get drinks for you. Date with friends until you feel comfortable with a new date. Never leave a bar or party with someone you have just met, and do not let yourself become isolated from others.

Walking in a hesitant and unsure way signals fear and timidity. That's a lesson I learned the first night I moved to New York City.  Three hours in, and I was mugged.  I was ready to turn around and head back home when the hotel manager gave me some advice that sticks with me today. "Always look like your belong. When you show a lack of confidence in yourself, you become an attractive target for criminals".   Don't inhibit your movement with platform shoes or carry too many packages. Stay away from bushes and parked cars; walk in the center of the sidewalk or road. Don't get too close to doorways, bushes, or alleys where an attacker could hide.Vary your routines; alternate routes home.

Do not work late alone; keep company with others. 

Never carry your mail in plain view; it gives anybody who looks the gift of your name and address.  Never let someone know that you are a woman alone. Always pretend there is a man at home if someone calls. Use deadbolts on your doors and window locks.  Keep your radio, on. Never open door to strangers, and above all, always require ID of service or repair people. If something looks wrong or different  when you come home, do not enter; instead go to a safe place and call police.
The most significant thing you can do to protect yourself from rape is to take a women's self-defense course. 

Use deadbolts; window locks; peep holes; timers for lights, radio, TV, and outside security lights.


Women's Suffrage

Fellow men! why should the lords try to despise
And prohibit women from having the benefit of the parliamentary Franchise?
When they pay the same taxes as you and me,
I consider they ought to have the same liberty.

And I consider if they are not allowed the same liberty,
From taxation every one of them should be set free;
And if they are not, it is really very unfair,
And an act of injustice I most solemnly declare.

Women, farmers, have no protection as the law now stands;
And many of them have lost their property and lands,
And have been turned out of their beautiful farms
By the unjust laws of the land and the sheriffs' alarms.

And in my opinion, such treatment is very cruel;
And fair play, 'tis said, is a precious jewel;
But such treatment causes women to fret and to dote,
Because they are deprived of the parliamentary Franchise vote.

In my opinion, what a man pays for he certainly should get;
And if he does not, he will certainly fret;
And why wouldn't women do the very same?
Therefore, to demand the parliamentary Franchise they are not to blame.

Therefore let them gather, and demand the parliamentary Franchise;
And I'm sure no reasonable man will their actions despise,
For trying to obtain the privileges most unjustly withheld from them;
Which Mr. Gladstone will certainly encourage and never condemn.

And as for the working women, many are driven to the point of starvation,
All through the tendency of the legislation;
Besides, upon members of parliament they have no claim
As a deputation, which is a very great shame.

Yes, the Home Secretary of the present day,
Against working women's deputations, has always said- nay;
Because they haven't got the parliamentary Franchise-,
That is the reason why he does them despise.

And that, in my opinion, is really very unjust;
But the time is not far distant, I most earnestly trust,
When women will have a parliamentary vote,
And many of them, I hope, will wear a better petticoat.

And I hope that God will aid them in this enterprise,
And enable them to obtain the parliamentary Franchise;
And rally together, and make a bold stand,
And demand the parliamentary Franchise throughout Scotland.

And do not rest day nor night-
Because your demands are only right
In the eyes of reasonable men, and God's eyesight;
And Heaven, I'm sure, will defend the right.

Therefore go on brave women! and never fear,
Although your case may seem dark and drear,
And put your trust in God, for He is strong;
And ye will gain the parliamentary Franchise before very long.

William Topaz McGonagall


Quote of the Day

"She cries out to me
The child within myself.
She clutches at me
Tugging at my thoughts
And asking to be remembered.
Her small fingers reach through time
And her sad, dark eyes
Burn the symbol of her pain
Onto my soul."

- Broken Feather, Suzanne Stutman.


Comfort The Women

Whence comes the rain that ceaselessly doth fall,
And seems to hold the bitter taste of tears?
Is it the lonely sorrow of the night
Where patient women shed their hopes and fears?
Where mothers' hearts, that are too brave to break,
Cry in the silence what they hid by day;
As from the tear-drenched pillow they arise,
Proud with the dawn, and shut their grief away?
Whence comes the rain? Is it from Angel eyes
That from the neutral plains of Heaven gaze
Upon this tortured earth? They hear us pray,
And see our strife, in pity and amaze;
Calling on Him, again so crucified,
In divers tongues each righteous cause to care;
Rage unto rage, hate unto hate, doth shake
The doors of Heaven with its impòtent prayer.

And shall my cry be heard, that calls so faint,
Through scream of shell and mighty cannon's roar,
Through thunder of the voices that appeal
For His protection at God's closèd door?
'Comfort the women, Lord, my neutral prayer
May reach Thy pity where those others fail;
Comfort the women in these warring lands
Who through the battles go, helpless and frail.'
Dim are their eyes that watch the marching past
Of all the splendid manhood and strong youth,
Breaking their hearts, who are so proudly still
Lest their beloved should suffer at the truth.
'Twas not for this barbarity of war
The mother breathless hung by the small cot
That held her man-child, fearing lest a wind
Would blow too chill, or sun would shine too hot.
Or stayed her swifter feet so he might run
Not lost behind, and with all gentle hand
Holding him hers, who now has left her lone.
Comfort the mothers, Lord, through each sad land.

Protect the women—they so helpless slain
By each sharp sword that strikes a dear one down,
Who on the battlefield in spirit go
Without the war's red splendour or renown.
Lord, 'mid this discord of Thy Christian world,
'Mid the loud praying of men's hopes and fears,
Comfort the women, let this cry be heard,
For Thou hast known a human mother's tears.

Dora Sigerson Shorter


Abby's Story

'You're lucky to have me. You're so fat and ugly, no other man is going to want you?'

"When we go to the party tonight, keep your mouth shut.  I don't want people knowing what an idiot I married."

'I'm ashamed to be seen with you.'

Not too long ago I posted about verbal abuse and how badly it hurts. Well, the following story is a prime example of exactly how destructive it can really be. Abby, (name changed)  is a lovely young woman with many serious issues, including her involvement for five years with a verbally abusive man. Abby was raised in a dysfunctional household.  Her mom was an alcoholic who brought men into the home, and Abby was sexually abused by one of them when she was in her teens. At 15, she dropped out of school and ran away. No one bothered to look for her.  For a few years, she had a little peace in her life.  She'd moved in with her boyfriend's family, went back to school, and had plans to go back to college...that is, until she and her boyfriend broke up and she was put out of the home.

To support herself, she became a topless dancer.  She made pretty good money at it, but found that drugs and alcohol were eating most of it up.  By now she was an alcoholic and a heroin addict.  At some point, she became involved with a man who was also abusing drugs and alcohol, and since Abby was the one who brought the money into the home, he was determined to keep her dancing.  But, he was constantly belittling her as well by calling her such names as slut and whore.  Then, he started nagging her about her weight, telling her that she was getting fat and was going to be nothing more than a useless has-been.  Abby, fearful that she would lose him, became overly obsessed with her weight and was eventually diagnosed with anorexia.   

This went on for five years before Abby came into treatment, and by the time she did, she was a mess.  Two weeks prior she'd entered detox, but was so sickly that she was moved to a medical floor instead.  Her boyfriend entered treatment at the same time.  In those five years, she had become a skeleton. She is so thin that her bones are visible through her blouse.  Two years prior, she'd been high and had walked in front of a car.  She still suffers from pain from the accident.  She's also lost almost all of her hearing.  Abby is only tenuous in her recovery at this time, and I fear she is about to relapse.  Boyfriend is not making it any easier on her.  He continues to assault her with his words, and she often appears at the program in tears. She stays with him because she 'loves him' and knows he 'doesn't mean what he says' because he 'loves her', too.

Emotionally abusive relationships  destroy our self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make us feel helpless and alone. It can cause extreme emotional damage and leave lasting scars. So, why is it that we women allow ourselves to remain in relationships where we are verbally assaulted?   First, women stay in abusive situations because they are emotionally attached to the relationship and economic dependency on the abuser.  In addition, the woman may choose to  stay in the relationship because she wants her children to be with their father. Additionally, women who select and choose to remain in abusive relationships were also often abused as children. These women often have low self-esteem and believe the words attributed to them to be true. And lastly, we stay in an abusive situation because we see no other way to survive. I stayed in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship because I didn't see any way out.

The first step in breaking free is to 'recognize' that you are being abused.  Abby remains in the denial stage.  She'll cry and talk about the abusive words he throws at her, once I approach the subject of verbal abuse, she becomes very protective of him.  Sadly, until she is able to acknowledge and understand her reasons for being in this relationship, not much can be done. I can be there to listen, to offer suggestions, to encourage her in her recovery from drugs and alcohol, to help her work on her self-esteem and deal with childhood issues, and hope that one day she gets it before it is too late.

Any woman who suspects that she is being verbally abused should consult with a professional counselor.


The Gift and the Giver, the Rebel, the Thief, and the Stranger and his Glue

The Giver was alone, and the Gift unused: the Giver felt lonely, and sought to find someone worthy of the Gift.

The Rebel came along and saw the Gift the Giver possessed, and
desired the Gift for himself. Rather than ask the Giver for the Gift, or ask what the Giver wanted for the Gift, the Rebel decided that social rules did not apply to him, and simply said "Give me the gift."

The Giver knew that the Gift was fragile and would be destroyed if mistreated, and did not trust the Rebel; for how many of those who are impolite are also delicate? But the Giver did not wish to offend, and so said to the Rebel "I am sorry, but this Gift is for someone else."

The Rebel grew angry and blustered "But I deserve the Gift. I am
special and I deserve that things be given to me."

The Giver, glad to have trusted her first instinct, merely repeated: "I am
sorry, but this Gift is for someone else."

And the Rebel, still complaining, went his way.

The Giver sat under a willow tree, contemplating the Gift and wondering about the qualities needed to really appreciate the Gift; as she was sitting there the sun and the breeze and the sound of the creek below lulled her into a doze.

The Thief, who had overheard the Rebel and the Giver, was waiting for just this moment. Dashing out from behind a nearby bush, he made a grab for the Gift; grasping it he started to run away.

However, the Giver was awakened by this and reached out to stop the
Thief. "Give that back!" cried the Giver. "It is not yours! You have no right!" So saying, she reached out, trying to retrieve the Gift.

The Thief said "I do not care if it was not mine, I have possession of it so it is now my property." And so saying, he pulled again at the Gift, hoping to wrench it from the Giver.

In the ensuing struggle, the Gift was fouled, battered, and broken. The
Thief, deciding he did not want a damaged Gift, finally let go and
said "You keep it; it is now worthless."

The Giver cried at the state of the Gift, which she had hoped to find
someone worthy of; it was dirty, pieces were missing and scattered in the grass around her, and the intact parts were bent and dented. She began to believe the Thief's assessment of the Gift: perhaps it no longer mattered who it belonged to, worthless as it was.

But then she noticed that her tears made clean streaks on the Gift as
they fell, and she thought that perhaps if some of it could be cleaned, all of it could; perhaps she could make her Gift have worth once again. She took the Gift and its broken pieces to the creek, where she began to wash them.

The Gift was easy to clean, but in trying to wash the pieces that had
been broken from it, the Giver lost one. She began to lose hope again. Yet she was still determined to try to repair the Gift.

Hours passed as she fit pieces back together where they would stay. Some pieces she could not make stay, however. From behind her,  voice: "Perhaps this Glue could help you mend your Gift". She turned to see a Stranger, holding a small tube of Glue. She took the Glue and thanked the  Stranger, then finished repairing her Gift with the Stranger's Glue.

When she turned to give the Glue back to the Stranger, he was gone. She thought to herself that this Stranger had thought her Gift worthy enough to donate his Glue, and not even demand payment, nor even ask for the Glue to be returned. Perhaps her Gift had worth after all.

And as she sat and contemplated her Gift, she realized that the Stranger was the type of person who would neither ask nor demand a Gift, nor would he take, but rather he would give. And she thought to herself that the Stranger was a Giver too. And who better to appreciate a Gift but a Giver?

So she sought out the Stranger, and when she found him, she tried to return the Glue to him. He thanked her, but said that she should keep the Glue, in case the Gift should break again.

And the Giver said "In that case, you should accept the Glue, for I wish to give the Gift to you." And so saying, she placed the Gift in the Stranger's hands.

The Stranger looked at the Gift, and said "This is too precious; I do not
know if I can take care of this Gift." The Giver said "I believe that you can, and I will stay with you and help you care for the Gift when you falter."

So the Stranger and the Giver took the Gift together, sharing in it  and sharing it, holding it as an example for all to see.

--Author Unknown--

How many of us have  been broken apart, torn apart by violence or tragedy? And what was it that put us back together but knowledge, strength, and wisdom? 


If You Are a Victim

Rape is the unlawful compelling of a person, through physical force or duress, to have sexual intercourse.  This can include vaginal, anal or oral penetration by the offender(s). This category also includes incidents where the penetration is in the form of a foreign object. This definition includes attempted rapes, male and female victims, and heterosexual and homosexual rape. Rape is a crime even if you already know the person who attacked you. It is not about love; it is not even about sex.  It is about control. 

Sexual assault includes a wide range of victimizations which can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention.   Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and includes such things as fondling, unwanted kissing, voyeurism, exhibitionism, incest, and sexual harassment.  Sexual assault can also include  verbal threats. This type of crime can  include either completed or attempted attacks.  

If You Are Victim:

Don't stay in the area of the rape. Go to a safe place, and contact someone you trust who can be with you and give you support. At the very least you will need someone to give you emotional support. If there is no one close by for you to go to, then call someone you can talk to, no matter how late it is.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible to be examined and treated for possible venereal disease. As much as you may want to 'scrub yourself off', do not shower or change your clothes first. If you do decide to press charges, the physical specimens collected soon after the rape will be valuable evidence. If you suspect that you may have been given a 'rape drug', ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. 

Be sure to report the attack whether or not you plan to file charges. Bring a friend or family member with you.  

Get help and support, such as counseling. Call a rape or crisis hotline.  Counseling is important to healing. If you try to pretend the rape didn’t happen, it will eventually affect every aspect of your life.
Most of All:

Above all, do not blame yourself.  YOU are the victim and are not responsible. Your behavior, your manner of dress, the fact that you may have had a couple of drinks, did not cause the rape; the rapist caused the rape.


Quote of the Day

"... I've promised my inner child 
that never again will I ever abandon myself 
for anything or anyone else again."

--Wynonna Judd--


Hatshepsut: The Princess Who Became King

Hatshepsut was the young woman who became the first female pharaoh of Egypt, and many consider her the greatest woman in Egypt's history. Before her time, no woman had ever ruled Egypt. She was born in 1504 BCE and lived during the years known as the New Kingdom.  She was the elder daughter of the 18th-dynasty king Thutmose I and his consort Ahmose. With the support of the major nobles and the priests, Thutmose I had his daughter crowned queen.

Hatshepsut was a strong woman who married her half-brother, Thutmose II. When Thutmose I died after a thirty -year rule, his  son, Thutmose II, took over as pharoah, but it was actually Hatshepsut, who was of a far stronger character than her co-ruler, who ruled over the land.   When Thutmose II died before the age of 35, and on his death proclaimed herself Pharaoh, denying the old king's son, her nephew, his inheritance. Hatshepsut never actually deposed the young Tuthmosis III. She simply portrayed herself as the senior of the two rulers.  And, because by custom the pharaoh was male, Hatshepsut would dress in men's clothes and attach a ceremonial beard. 

She remained in power for twenty years and during this time, she accomplished many things. Although many queens had ruled before her, never had a female ruler taken on the title of pharaoh. During her rule, the Egyptian economy flourished, and it was a time of peace, prosperity, and innovation, as is especially evident in her building activity. She expanded trading relations and initiated a number of impressive building projects including her three-tiered funeral temple in the Valley of the Kings across the Nile from Thebes.  Hatshepsut sent trading expeditions and sponsored artists and architects, ushering in a period of artistic creativity.

Eventually, Tuthmosis III grew into a man and took his rightful place as pharaoh. Hatshepsut's reign came to an end, and nothing is known of her fate, as to whether she died in that year or retired into a private life. Some have speculated that Tuthmosis III had her assassinated when he became old enough to rule on his own. All that is known for sure is that this powerful and admirable woman mysteriously disappeared, and her name and images were forever lost when obliterated by Thutmose III.


Happy Mother's Day

Wishing you all a day of love, peace and joy.


Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

©Maya Angelou


Today's Quote

Woman must not accept; she must challenge.
She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;
she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.

-- Margaret Sanger--


Quote of the Day

“Domestic violence does not only happen to adults. Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend, and approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.”

Dianne Feinstein


The Date Rape Drug

The other day in my women's group, a couple of the younger ladies spoke of experiences they had while they were involved with the club scene. Both had been raped, and neither had any memory of it.  They remembered the night up to a certain point, and then it all went blank. Both do admit, though, that they left their drinks sitting on the counter while they went outdoors to smoke.

In my early days here in New York City, disco was all the rage.  Although I did hit the disco on occasion, my personal choice would be to spend and evening at a  'coffee house' such as the Cafe Wah or an 'underground cafe', those places where stars such as Bob Dylan and the Mama's and the Papa's were  found before their names were household words. It was so much different being a young woman hitting the scene back in those days, and we thought nothing of leaving our drinks on the counter while we danced or headed to the powder room. We knew they would be just as we left them when we returned. Back then there was no such thing as 'date rape drugs', and if one did lose control, it was because they had too much to drink.

According to the law, if a victim has passed out, or isn't in control of herself/himself, having sex with that person is rape.  It was  In the early 1990s the topic of date rape became even more complicated because of date rape drugs. They call them 'date rape drugs' because that is the primary motivation for their use--to facilitate sexual assault against an unwitting victim, and while it is true that victims may be sexually assaulted after knowingly ingesting illegal drugs such as  heroin, and cocaine, they may also be unknowingly drugged by so called 'date rape drugs'. Date rape drugs are drugs used specifically to  incapacitate  a victim, allowing the perpetrator to commit acts of sexual assault or rape.   
The three most common 'date rape drugs'  are....

A well-known sedative, Rohypnol, is considered a 'date rape' drug because of its sedative and amnesiac qualities. Also known as 'roofies', it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is a prescription drug marketed legally in many countries around the world. It comes in tablet form and can be dropped into the drink of unsuspecting individuals where it quickly dissolves, it significantly interferes with cognitive functioning, balance, and blocks the short-term memory. Although a victim may realize that they been raped, the drug, denies them the ability to identify the attackers.

Ketamine, street name 'Special K',  available as a liquid,  white powder, or tablet  that easily dissolves in a drink. Ketamine does have the potential for incapacitating unknowing and even voluntary users. It has become common at dance parties or at all-night 'raves'. Ketamine was developed in the 1960s as an animal anesthetic and has been widely used by veterinarians for animal surgery. Depending on the dose, ketamine can have many effects, including  feelings of numbness, hallucinations, slurred speech,  memory loss,  or near-death experiences. Large doses can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, is a 'date rape drug' that, like Rohypnol, is a clear, odorless and slightly salty tasting liquid that acts as a central nervous system depressent. It is used especially in bars, clubs, and on college campuses. It has a sedative effect, making the user feel sleepy and, depending on the dosage,  causes unconsciousness and convulsions, numbness, suppressed breathing, slurred speech, blurred vision and coma. GHB is  an effective date rape drug because all traces of it leave the body in just a few hours, so, byy the time a victim realizes what has happened, there is no evidence that he/she has been given the drug. GHB mixed with alcohol 'can be fatal'.

Protect yourself from date rape drugs by never taking a beverage that you have not seen prepared. This means that you must never accept open beverages from others who you do not know or do not trust, and whenever in bars or clubs, always get your drink directly from the bartender...and be sure not to not take your eyes off the bartender or your drink while it is being made. Never leave your drink unattended and then come back to it. If you need to leave your drink for any reason, finish it before you leave and when you return, order a new one. 

Please, please be careful. I cannot say this enough. Remember, if a 'date rape' drug is slipped into your drink, you won 't know what is happening, and you won 't be able to protect yourself or say 'no' to unwanted sexual advances.  The people who use these drugs to control you are criminals.


Changes in Life

In every change that you experience in life,
there will be times when you'll wonder if you can endure.
But you'll learn that facing each difficulty one by one isn't so hard.
It's when you don't deal with a situation
that it sometimes comes back to confront you again.
Changes are sometimes very painful,
but they teach us that we can endure
and that we can become stronger.
Everything that comes into your life has a purpose,
but the outcome is in your hands by the action you take.
Be wise with your life,
be willing to endure,
and always be willing to face life's challenges.

-- Author Unknown --


My Name Is I AM

I was regretting the past,
and fearing the future.

Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
"My name is I Am".

He paused.
I waited.
He continued,

"When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.

When you live in this moment
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM."

--Helen Mallicoat --

I am woman and I am strong.


Dame Julian of Norwich

She was born in 1342 during a rather unpleasant time to be living in England.  It was the time of the Black Death, exorbitantly high  taxes, and poor harvests. We know very little about her life until, at the age of 30, following a serious illness which brought her close to death, she experienced a series of what she called 'showings' or revelations of divine love. It was then that she made the decision to withdraw from the world and become an anchoress, a woman who, by choice, leads a solitary life of prayer and self-discipline, living within the confines of a small cell, only one window looking out into the church and another looking out to the street. Usually, the cell was attached to a parish church; thus, she was not totally not cut off from the world.

Dame Julian of Norwich was an  English mystic during the fourteenth century and the author or recipient of the vision contained in the book known as the "Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love". She has the distinction of being the earliest woman writer in English .  At a time when a woman could be punished for addressing theological topics, she wrote:  

'Because I am a woman, ought I therefore to believe that I ought not tell you about the goodness of God, when I saw that it is his will that it be known?'  

Furthermore, although her writings refer to both God and Jesus as 'Mother', her writings were not challenged by the authorities, and, for some reason, they have been kept until the beginning of the third millennium. Her visions include one where all of creation appears as a hazelnut in God's hands. She was troubled by the idea of sin and damnation and claimed that sin is necessary in life for it brings one to self-knowledge.

"A kind loving mother, who knows and understands the needs of her child, looks after it tenderly as is her way and nature.  And as it grows bigger she changes her ways but not her love." 

Little is known of her later years, not even the date of her death. Her shrine was destroyed by a bombing in 1942, but the have been uncovered and rebuilt.


Quote of the Day

"The Violence Against Women Act protects the lives of tens of thousands of domestic violence victims. But the U.S. must also support gender equality around the world, and that means acknowledging that some nations we consider to be our friends are no friends to women. For example, domestic violence is not regarded as a crime in Saudi Arabia. The United States should not have 'normal' relations with nations that treat women as second-class citizens."

--Sen. Barbara Boxer --