Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
For me it's also a reminder of the beginning of a pretty awful period in my life, a time in which I was called 'violent', 'evil', 'toxic', 'dangerous' and 'hateful', amongst other things. A time in which I was ostracised, had my livelihood threatened, & felt absolutely broken and devastated.
My crime? I stated that obstetric violence is violence against women.
What's happened in the intervening year has taught me a lot. Most of all, I've learnt that speaking up is exactly what you need to do if you're bullied, even if your instinct tells you to lie low. Lying low is what the bullies want. They want you broken & devastated & silenced. This is them winning. Don't let them win.
When you break your silence you take back your power.
It's a leap of faith - only scary before you jump. Once you jump, you freefall back into your power, back into your truth.
Today, please follow some of the fantastic women who are using all the time they have to bring an end to violence against women. Many of them are also bullied relentlessly for centering women in their work. But they will not be silenced either.
Karen Ingala Smith who via her twitter @countdeadwomen will, for the 9th year in a row, be tweeting the name and story of a woman killed by a man in the past year. One every five minutes and this will take her 11 hours.
Mara Olariaga @matriactivista is the founder of the Roses Revolution against obstetric violence.
@womansplaceuk are working to ensure women keep their safe spaces and their representation in law.
Obstetric violence can happen to anyone in the context of giving birth, however they identify. However, it is rooted in the distrust, disrespect and disregard our society holds for female bodies under patriarchy. For this reason, it is a part of the wider picture of violence against women.
Obstetric violence is violence against women.
It is not hateful or violent to point this out. It is not hateful to centre female people in our feminism.
Venezuela was the first country to formally define obstetric violence, thus:
‘The appropriation of a woman’s body and reproductive processes by health personnel, in the form of dehumanizing treatment, abusive medicalization and pathologisation of natural processes, involving a woman’s loss of autonomy and of the capacity to freely make her own decisions about her body and sexuality, which has negative consequences for a woman’s quality of life.’
If you want to learn more about obstetric violence, please grab a copy of Give Birth like a Feminist. It’s 40% off on Amazon right now and it’s for anyone interested in birth politics - you don’t have to be pregnant!
Thanks for reading. Want to support me? I have 3 books which you can buy from any good book seller!
My Period is for girls age 9 to 13 and is filled with information and positivity about periods and puberty.
Give Birth like a Feminist is for anyone interested in why birth is a feminist issue. You don’t have to be pregnant.
The Positive Birth Book is a comprehensive guide to getting ready for birth with lots of humour and a dash of feminism thrown in.
Links to a few ways to purchase via my linktree - or just search the title name via your usual book shop.
Or you can buy me a coffee. :-)