Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of talking with domestic violence advocates about a cross-cultural approach to research. It turned into this incredible brainstorm session complete with tons of energy and passion and grit. I was blown away in the best of ways! And when the session starting winding down an advocate looked at me and said, “Uggghhh this is so hard. There are so many hurting. Please tell me there is good news”. I sat there for a moment I looked her straight in the eyes and I said, “Yes indeed there is good news—that good news is you—all of you and these women and the communities being built despite limited resources and broken systems—The good news is you”. And then I said, “here’s the context”:
A few weeks prior I met with a survivor to interview her for a study. This woman shared the barriers she faced with unwavering integrity. Her husband had stolen her children and taken them to another country. He left her destitute—not knowing the language or the housing system—she was evicted in a few weeks’ time. Every-single-aspect of life was stacked against her but she persevered. She, with the help of friends and advocates, got her children back, learned English and secured a three-bedroom permanent housing apartment. When I looked at her I said, “if you hadn’t met your advocate where would you be or what do you think would have happened”? And without hesitation she said, “I’d be dead”.
“I’d be dead”.
So you see, this is the good news—the good news is women showing up to do the gritty work; to stand in the gap with one another; to build cities out of dust; to shout at the top of their lungs that anything less than human rights will not be accepted; to demand justice and fairness and equitable communities for all; to sweat and toil on hands and knees; to cry, to laugh, to dance and to weep in all that life serves; to be alive for and in all of it. On International Day of Women we celebrate the literal blood, sweat and tears of women who have been doing this throughout history to ensure a better future for our daughters and our sons.