Tag: women

The Woman inside Me

I woke up more than once last night to consider who was speaking inside me. Three men had been walking out along a point of land, toward a drop-off. It is rainy and cold. The men wear jackets. Two of them hold a woman between them. She is dressed in a long T-shirt—nothing more. Her hair falls across her face. She stumbles, barefoot, over things that hurt.

It is a garbage dump, at night, perhaps an hour before dawn . Depending on your understanding of the world, at some point you realize they are going to execute her. She is slender and young and at a time in her life when she could, if she wanted to, start a family. She has already suffered. I am wondering how long it will be before a she realizes what they are going to do. Her two escorts release her arms and drop back away from her. She picks her way forward, unsteady, docile. She reaches the edge of the place where trucks, by daylight, puffing diesel, stop backing up and dump the city’s waste.

I want her to jump, dive over the edge, take her chances, roll, fall, plunge this way and that, down, down, head over heels, too far down, behind too much debris, maybe buried by a wall of rot, old beer and diaper shit, and out of sight.

And she lies still, and the three men—with skin brown like hers and speaking the same language—decide, “Fuck it, we’re not going to ruin our clothes going down there.” And so they fire a few bursts with their AK 47s at the spot they figure she is, then walk back to their pickup, vowing to do it differently next time.

“Arrodíllate,” says the one man coming along behind her—almost gently. Kneel. But she turns around instead and faces him. The T-shirt clings to her body, to her private breasts and a her private belly. She pushes the hair out of her face. She is already half destroyed. “Okay,” says the man, “it’s alright”—and stands sideways, as if it’s Saturday morning and he’s at the shooting range. Except that he’s standing six feet away from her and lifts a .45, .38, .32, .22 or 9mm, pointing over her head, then brings it down, starting to pull the trigger just as the Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt, Glock, Springfield, Remington, Mauser, Browning, Walter, Ruger, or Luger is almost level with the top of her head.

Nothing happens. Perhaps he is reconsidering, reading her blood- and snot-smeared, non-reacting face. She reaches up to wipe her mouth. Her hand trembles too much. She brings it down. Maybe he tells her to jump backward over the edge of the garbage drop-off. Save yourself, girl.

The gun jumps instead, there is a black hole in her forehead like blackberry crushed flat, without juice. She leans backward, a gymnast starting a backward flip. The man lowers the .45, .38, .32, .22, or 9mm. She arches—a summer girl letting herself fall backward off a warm rock into a clear river pool.

She lies on her back, floating on garbage. The shirt no longer covers the dark hair where her legs meet. I know if I walk closer, after the men leave, I will see they have destroyed her twice-over.

I roll over and rest my leg on the woman I live with and love. She sleeps deeply, floating on her back. The weight of my leg does not interrupt her sleep. She is warm, and smooth, and as troubled as the rest of us. If I try to switch positions and move my leg away, she reaches up out of her sleep and holds my knee where it is—above the dark hair where her legs meet.

I try again—having the young woman awaken from her stupor and leap over the edge. She tumbles down through the shredded plastic and soggy cardboard and pig shit, down through the fleeing rats and styrofoam and rotten vegetables, that have not yet been found and eaten. The bullet sends her reeling backward, and I turn, carefully, so that I don’t pull the covers, and lay my leg over my love. The pigs listen. There may be more to eat.

The horror is deep, my love is warm. I almost fall asleep. He still hasn’t reached her. I urge her to save herself, but when they have you, there is seldom any escape. “Wake up,” she mumbles, as if she has rocks in her mouth, weeping. “See the moment of my extinction, see the dark stump of the tongue they have cut from me…and the mouth below—made for love of my choosing—ripped by their anger and triumph. Watch how they raise the gun, bring it down, and take my summers away from me forever.”

The 2011 Women’s Day Speech I Did Not Give

This is the English translation of the 2011 Mexico Women’s Day talk I did not give.

Its context is Mexico, the wide-spread abuse of women, and the 300-600 unsolved murders of women in Ciudad Juárez durng in the last ten years, a plague which has spread to other cities in Mexico.

Women are not cows, nor mascots, nor toys to humiliate, dominate, and control.

You know this, but many men here do not.

Because some men don’t feel deserving, they have to rob and rape.

And not just adult women.

We know through Lydia Cacho about the extensive sexual exploitation of children as young as six years old.

Through Digna Ochoa (October 2001), we know that moral courage is extremely dangerous, and that many men do not tolerate a just and swift application of the law.

(Look up Digna Ochoa in Wikipedia. She was kidnapped several times and finally murdered, for her activities as a human rights lawyer. Amnesty International had celebrated her bravery with their Enduring Spirit Award. After a year of essentially non-investigation, Mexico City officials ruled her death was a suicide, even though a warning note had been attached to her body and forensics showed she could not have shot herself.)

We know that those who need impunity do not know how to love, neither others, nor themselves.

Through Atenco (May 2006), we know that the police – that is to say, men without much self-esteem – have to rob and humiliate. How would you otherwise explain their behavior?

‘He put his fingers in my mouth and vagina and forced me to give him oral sex. He spilled his sperm on my sweater, and then another policeman did the same thing and grabbed my breasts and said, this one’s suckling, the little bitch.’

Women are not cows.
Men, on the other hand, are frequently dogs.
But this incarnation is not obligatory.

In my opinion, we should not be celebrating Women’s Day, rather (celebrating) women themselves.

But how can we do this, if we men don’t even know how to celebrate ourselves?

My thirty years in men’s groups tells me that we do not really know who we could be.

We have learned just about two ways of relating to women, in moments of conflict.

By hitting them, or by going away pouting.

We don’t realize that the full range of emotions available to women is also available to us.

We haven’t learned how to talk to women. They are so much more skilled, tactically, in this area than we are – a skill they have learned in order to survive.

But we can learn to defend themselves, with words, and not have to feel panic and rage.

We can learn to feel (and distinguish) emotions.

We can gradually learn to recognize our disappointments, our anger, our fear, and deeply buried sadness for so many things. Sometimes, for the distant father, who may have learned distance and silence from his father.

We can learn to support other men, instead of competing with them. We can learn to talk with other men about what it means to be a man in this world.

And when we discover that we have emotions, and that we don’t have to feel shame because of them, then we can be less emotionally dependent on the women in our lives.

(Gradually) we can learn that there are no guarantees of loyalty, and that any form of domination or pressure, or presumption of loyalty makes a mature and satisfying love impossible.

And then, perhaps, we will learn that women are not cows, and that we are not dogs.”