"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Breaking Silence

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Breaking Silence

Photo credit: Carolyn Tiry/Flickr | Remix by Dell Cameron
From Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions:

"Being unable to tell your story is a living death and sometimes a literal one. If no one listens when you say your ex-husband is trying to kill you, if no one believes you when you say you have a pain in your body, if no one hears you when you say help, if you don’t dare say help, if you have been trained not to bother people by saying help. If you are considered to be out of line when you speak up in a meeting, are not admitted into an institution of power, are subject to irrelevant criticism whose subtext is that women should not be here, or heard. 
Liberation is always in part a storytelling process, breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. A free person tells her own story.
Violence against women is often against our voices and our stories. It is a refusal of our voices, and of what a voice means: the right to self-determination, to participation, to consent or dissent, to live and participate, to interpret and narrate. A husband hits his wife to silence her; a date rapist or acquaintance rapist refuses to let the “no” of his victim mean what it should, that she alone has jurisdiction over her body; rape culture asserts that women’s testimony is worthless, untrustworthy; anti-abortion activists also seek to silence the self-determination of women; a murderer silences forever. These are assertions that the victim has no rights, no value, is not an equal. They have their equivalent in smaller ways in language: the people harassed and badgered into silence online, talked over and cut out in conversation, belittled, humiliated, dismissed. Having a voice is crucial. 
It’s not all there is to human rights, but it’s central to them, and so you can consider the history of women’s rights and lack of rights as a history of silence and breaking silence.
We are not where we were in 1991. And where we were in 1961, when I was born--I think it's hard for people who aren't historically-minded and weren't there to comprehend how deeply misogyny, exclusion, and the suppression of women's rights, powers, and voices were not an imposition on the rules but the unquestioned rule.
There is no inevitability that we will continue to win; it requires as it always did passionate participation and some vision that it can be different. It is already different from 1991, 1961, because we are winning --and they are furious about it. As Michelle Alexander pointed out this weekend, we are not the resistance; they are; we are part of the revolutionary river of change they are trying to resist.
We have a long way to go to a world where women live without fear and in equality, but we have come so far already. Don't stop now."


  1. The above article stated, "And where we were in 1961, when I was born--I think it's hard for people who aren't historically-minded and weren't there to comprehend how deeply misogyny, exclusion, and the suppression of women's rights, powers, and voices were not an imposition on the rules but the unquestioned rule." I was there Free and as I recall the biggest suppressors of Laestadian women were the older women within the church themselves. In other words the old pecking hens kept the younger women kowtowing to the 'party line' through verbal assaults and vicious gossip (has it changed since then?). Some of those Finnish women of old were real battle axes too and they were definitely not quiet and submissive handmaidens. At that time people's expectations about life were very different too. Most people were happy to have food on the table, a two car garage, a nice neighborhood to live in and also most of the men had served in WW2 and they only had to work a regular 40 hour week to keep their families fed and clothed. Life & society were much more predictable and stable. In addition, many of the old first generation Finns who had immigrated from Finland were still alive and they seemed to be quite content with life in America given the hard times that they remembered in Finland. That older generation, including many of the women would not have necessarily agreed that women were suppressed. I do recall some grumbling under the table by various women who had other expectations beside marriage and a large brood of children but even they seemed to grudgingly accepted the status quo in life. In the secular world women like Betty Frieden & others wrote books like the,'Feminine Mystique' voicing their disapproval of the situation. Truthfully speaking, the Bible enunciates clearly that marriage is not for everyone and the Apostle Paul actually wrote that he recommended people stay single although he knew that was most often not the case. With regards to our present society the real fight is over money & the control thereof. All the societal wrongs that are the talk of the present day such as gender, race and class are sort of like sideshows that keep the masses occupied but the real fight is over control of wealth and money AND the real & raw brute power given to its masters. Interestingly enough, behind the money fights there is a real intellectual battle over ideology and religion. Old AP

  2. I thought I would copy and paste this article on 'gaslighting' directly from 'Psychology Today' to explain 'Laestadian gaslighting' as the article exerpt aptly describes what I can remember of the brand of manipulation which I grew up with: "Gaslighting is a malicious and hidden form of mental and emotional abuse, designed to plant seeds of self-doubt and alter your perception of reality. Like all abuse, it's based on the need for power, control, or concealment. Some people occasionally lie or use denial to avoid taking responsibility. They may forget or remember conversations and events differently than you do, or they may have no recollection — say, due to a blackout if they were drinking. These situations are sometimes called gaslighting, but the term actually refers to a deliberate pattern of manipulation calculated to make the victim trust the perpetrator while doubting his or her own perceptions or sanity, similar to brainwashing." If you really think of it the abusers within Laestadianism uses verbal confession as a way to get everyone to think that God has forgiven them for their misdeeds so that they are then given a carte blanche to repeat their same behavior all over again. Gaslighting is also used by the speakers/ministers to force members to conform to a rather narrow set of life choices. In addition the same speakers use gaslighting to distort the Bible's actual meaning to convey ideas that they are the only saved church etc... Parents also use gaslighting to pound in guilt and fear into their children. Now that you know the definition of gaslighting, everyone should realize that the perpetrators are really just full of gas. Old AP

  3. Simply wish to say the frankness in your article is surprising.