oppression

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An SGB Interview with Vyckie Garrison of No Longer Quivering

Vyckie Garrison

Vyckie Garrison runs a website called No Longer Quivering, which assists women in transitioning from abusive, oppressive and servile roles as breeding servants of husbands and an interpretation of the Bible called The Quiverful movement.  The site features the stories of women and families, told in their own words - about the harsh price paid by women and children in oppressive, strict religion.  Most of the stories are painful to read, but I encourage you to read them.  The knowledge of what these women go through in order to provide healthy lives for themselves and their children - is breathtaking.  Vyckie also operates a site called The Take Heart Project, to support women in all religions who seek to free themselves of oppression, brutality & dehumanization in the name of a god. 

I invited Vyckie to be interviewed here on SGB because her story is a powerful one, which is shared in full or in part by a great many women across the globe. 

SGB: Looking back at your life, who were you before Quiverfull that you are no longer?  Who are you since leaving Quiverfull?
 
VG: Before Quiverfull, I was a young girl with a lifetime and the whole world before me ~ I was smart, competent, relatively healthy, ambitious ~ I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to do "something big."
 
Only I didn't know what that "something big" might be.  I had a 4.0 GPA in college ~ so I knew that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted.  The problem for me was that everything seemed so very interesting ~ I wanted to do it all!!
 
But I was also very insecure and fearful.  Decision making was a terribly scary thing for me ~ what if I made the wrong choice?  Worse yet ~ what if I failed?  I wanted to know with absolute certainty that I was doing the right thing.  I had the idea that if I prayed to God for guidance and searched the bible, I could discern God's will for my life.  It was an appealing idea ~ after all, Who would know better than my Creator what was right and best for me?
 
So I went to bible college and I became a student of the Word.  Through diligent study, plus the help of many fundamentalist teachers ~ I discovered that God had very specific plans for me as a woman.  He created me female ~ gave me a womb ~ and if I was to be fulfilled and joyful and pleasing to the Lord ~ I needed to give my womb over in service to Him.  I learned that as a woman, the Lord created me to be a suitable helper for my husband ~ to bear his children and assist him in training them up to love and serve the Lord with their whole beings ~ mind, body, soul and strength.
 
Sure, I could've done anything I wanted with my life ~ but what higher calling could there be for me as a woman than to be sober, to love my husband, to love my children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, obedient to my own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed? (Titus 2:4,5)
 
What I did in actuality was to give up my power ~ my agency ~ severely limiting my choices in life.  I chose to have no choice ~ all for the security of having that absolute certainty that I was doing the very best thing with my talents and abilities.  I had discovered a formula for godly family living ~ one that promised strength and guidance, favor with God ~ with all the requisite blessings of those who walked in His ways, peace beyond understanding, and eternal reward in the life to come.  After all, Jesus taught us that a man who seeks to save his life shall lose it ~ but whoever loses his life for Christ's sake shall find it.
 
It was all so real ~ so all-consuming.  I could not imagine that without it, there would be any "me" at all ~ my entire identity was wrapped up in following Christ and the Word of God.
 
When I began to have doubts ~ when I no longer trusted the Bible as my guidebook for daily living ~ I became rather anxious, so I scrambled to figure out what of Christianity I could hold onto ~ to say, "This, I still believe."
 
But I came up empty ~ none of it makes sense to me anymore.  Which kind of puts me back at square one.  The difference is ~ this time, I am not afraid.  I do not need to have all the answers ~ in fact, I'm beginning to like the uncertainty and ambiguity.  I don't mind so much anymore that life's a struggle and things get messy and we're all a little screwy at times.  I am much more relaxed and willing to take life as it comes.  I don't feel a need for a sure-fire formula or guaranteed outcomes.  The pressure is off and I am enjoying the simplicity of living life in the moment.

Jaded's picture

Is "The Great Detachment" The New Saviour?

As a Lady who is more often than not publicly and loudly UnSubtle (why yes she speaks!) (when she is allowed to that is),  I get my fair share of thoroughly silly people who will sprout the most ridiculous reasons for the most inane things. Last week I had to convince someone that I didn't kill people who disagreed with me, that I can talk about things beyond feminism without being entirely sarcastic and the fact that I am still capable of (perhaps?) making jokes despite 'cutting off my fallopian tubes in exchange to be let into the uber cool club of the world's humourless feminists'. Sometimes I just have to say, "I like puppies" and I'll still get some nincompoop call me a 'man-hater' as a sort of reflex to using as little common sense as possible. I am sure you know the type, the one who will cower the moment you give them your MedusaGlare for insinuating you can't be a feminist, simply because you are not lesbian or aren't as hairy as the yeti or have an inordinate liking for bras or so many inconsequential reasons. What actually struck me today when someone accused me of not being feminist or feminist enough because I'm not particularly fond of body hair -- call it the parting gift of colonisation if you will -- is how deeply Western this slur was.

Feminism as a concept isn't one that is inherently Western. Of course, the feminist cannon, where you can see Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, J. S. Mill and perhaps even Elizabeth Cady Stanton (conveniently excluding Sojourner Truth) dancing around or playing cards while (existentially!) pondering over The Woman Problem In Their Respective Time Zones is as Western as the concept of SystematicCulturalDomination LiberalHumanism itself and just as problematic. Contrary to popular myths, feminism did exist in other 'culture-less' places, even in the very heart of supposed darkness, even in places as far off as India. I remember hearing about Meera Bai as a part of cultural folktales  growing up, who rejected her husband and worshiped the idol of Lord Krishna. Today, beneath the QueerLens, we can assert judging from her poetry that this was a conscious decision, involved full agency and choice. She addresses her husband's impotency in a 'religious' couplet to Krishna -- always under the larger umbrella of religious movements such as the Bhakti movement so as to escape harsher punishment -- even talks about his (small) penis and articulates the exact way she'd like to be loved. All of this addressed to a piece of stone -- her Krishna idol -- or to the ideal man of her dreams enters the realm of a Queer framework. Doesn't she fit, rather squarely the definition of a 'feminist' as we have today? Where she identifies the dominant ideology, subverts and perverts it by mixing erotica with religion. And she is a cannonised voice of sorts herself as she is seen as one of Krishna's most devout followers (no one mentions her sexual transgression though). What about those countless Meera Bai's who never recorded their thoughts, who never wrote or sang out loud? So because of lack of documentable proof, do we exclude those mutated muffles?

arvan's picture

The Enemies of Sex

I can say "Fuck you!" in public, but I cannot (with your permission) actually fuck you in public.

Have you ever wondered why is it that a statement of sex as an insult between people who don't like each other is a protected right, when the actual performance of sex as an act between two people who like each other is prohibited? 

Why is sex profane?  This is not something that comes from nature.  Sex is one of the basic needs of all mammals, along with air, water, space, warmth and food.  So, it doesn't come from our DNA, which means that we made this shit up.  Sex is free.  Sex feels good.  Societies across the globe discourage us from having sex, talking about sex, thinking good things about sex, being proud of sex.

The opposition to sex is so widespread across human cultures, that it seems universal, but is it?

How many people live inside a culture that vilifies sex, while personally holding different and more accepting views?  I'd venture to say that it's a majority.  At some point we all feel moments of sexual desire.  In sexually repressive social settings, we hide our true views on sex in order to avoid retribution.  This could be public shaming, beating, ridicule, disapproval and even killing.  Here's a hint: gay porn and MTF trans porn are the two biggest revenue generators online.  Cis-gendered heterosexual men are the people with the money and they are the people getting off in private to sexual images that society won't let them have while retaining the privilege of being cis-het men.

arvan's picture

Ireland: Abortion Limits Violate Human Rights

(h/t @HunterSony)

Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and – frankly - human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation. But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatized, and written out.

Marianne Mollmann, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

(Dublin, January 28, 2010) - The Irish government actively seeks to restrict access to abortion services and information both within Ireland and for its residents seeking care abroad, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 57-page report, "A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland," details how women struggle to overcome the financial, logistical, physical, and emotional burdens imposed by restrictive laws and policies that force them to seek care abroad, without support from the state.  Every year thousands of women and girls travel from Ireland to other European countries for abortions.

"Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and - frankly -human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation," said Marianne Mollmann, women's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatized, and written out."

arvan's picture

To the Oklahoma Lawmakers: A poem about the impact of morality

A very powerful poem, read by Lauren Zuniga and directed to the oppressive, hypocritical and destructive anti-abortion laws recently passed in Oklahoma.

(h/t Her Authority)

arvan's picture

The National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon

The National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon is the first-ever national bowl-a-thon for abortion funding. 

The National Network of Abortion Funds is sponsoring the national component of this event, while individual member abortion Funds are hosting local bowl-a-thons in their communities.  

The dual goals of the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-thon are to raise awareness of economic barriers to abortion care and to strike down these barriers by raising money to pay for abortion care and to improve state and federal policies that interfere with access to abortion for the most disadvantaged women. 
 
Seventeen abortion Funds, members of the National Network of Abortion Funds, are hosting bowl-a-thons in their local communities during the month of April.
arvan's picture

What will be the next violation of human rights in Indonesia?

First there was the Aceh Legislative Council that passed the Qanun Jinayat punishing adultery and homosexual conduct with stoning to death and caning. Then there was the Constitutional Court decision upholding the Anti-Pornograhy law that criminalizes homosexuality, and leaves room to criminalize sensuality violating especially cultural minorities’ freedom of expression. Finally there came the mobs attacking the ILGA Asia Conference participants in broad daylight of Surabaya.

On March 23rd the Indonesian police cancelled the regional Asia Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) that was to be held in Surabaya through 26 – 28 March and was to be attended by more than 150 activists representing 100 organizations from 16 Asian countries. It is claimed that the police cancelled the conference due to pressures and threat of attacks from conservative Muslim groups, though in fact the duty of the police was to deter such attacks. As theinability of a state and its law enforcement units to protect the freedom of expression and association can only reflect institutional discrimination and systematic intimidation against human rights advocates.

On March 26th these groups did indeed attack the Conference participants in the Oval Hotel where they were trapped, having arrived in Surabaya unaware of the last minute cancelation, and unable to leave the city.

arvan's picture

People fuck - all the time

Everyone on the planet is here because someone fucked someone else.  Everybody fucks at some point in their life.  We all think about fucking.  We all know what it is.  Human beings have been fucking for the last 200,000 years or so - since we took our current form.  That's a lot of fucking. 

(Point of clarity: I'm talking about consenting human adults fucking here.  NOT rape / child abuse / slavery.)

Fucking is why we are here.  You owe your life to fucking.

What is proven:

- biology.  evolution.  reproduction.

What is not proven:

- god.  that men who claim to run god's business on earth are actually working for god.  fucking is evil, bad or shameful.

Conclusion:

We need fucking and fucking is natural.

The fuck-haters tell us how, when, who, why & where to fuck.  They all pitch the same mesasge, though:  men fuck women.  Men who like fuck a lot are rewarded.  Anything other than that is punished.  Women who fuck a lot or even like fucking are punished.  Women fucking men / men fucking men / women fucking women / women or men changing gender - all punished. Hell, even talking about fucking is punished.

Why? 

Some people make a lot of money interfering with fucking. 

arvan's picture

Mental Illness among Women in Pakistan: Gender-Driven?

By Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Feb 1, 2010 (IPS) - No sooner does a visitor step into the facility than a surreal scene unfolds: The sound of laughter, the sight of ready smiles and vigorous, pumping handshakes mix with the acrid odor of an unwashed human body and the unbearable stench of neglect that in turn combines with the heavy smell of medicine.

A group of women gathers around the visitor, their eyes lighting up and faces breaking into a smile as they extend their hands to offer the latter a firm handshake, only to be shooed away by Waseem Fatema, a stocky nurse in her late 40s.

This is the Edhi Centre for the Mentally Ill Women in North Karachi – home to women suffering from various forms of mental or emotional disorder, some of which warrant long-term treatment, others do not, requiring at best compassion and understanding for otherwise fleeting states of mental or emotional impairment, brought about in part by these women’s inability to cope with what society expects of them.

Of the more than one thousand female wards confined at the centre, some are as young as five years old and others as old as 70, or even older. Children, who are either physically or mentally challenged, stay in an adjacent facility also run by Edhi. Some of them were brought to the centre by parents who invariably said they could no longer afford to look after them.

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Peace Laureates Unite to Condemn Treatment of Shirin Ebadi and Iranian Activists

In an open letter to Iranian President Ahmadi Nejad, 14 Nobel Peace Prize Laureatescondemn Iran's intimidation of Shirin Ebadi and other Iranian activists.  The letter was signed by Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, F.W. de Klerk, and 9 other Nobel Peace Laureates.  The letter warns Ahmadi Nejad's government that the crackdown on opposition will not end the demands for human rights.

Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad
President, Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Avenue
Tehran, Iran  13168-43311

21 January 2010

To President Ahmadi Nejad:

We are deeply distressed to learn of the recent actions taken against our sister Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi.  We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release all funds belonging to Dr. Ebadi and her husband and stop the harassment of Dr. Ebadi and her family.

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