How many women find as they age they become more assured, more courageous and perhaps a different person?
I know I started married life as a very shy and scared 19 year old. I didn’t like making a fuss, or even questioning any authority figure. I had been a nurse and was suitably scared of the matron and sisters, I did as I was told. Then when married I did almost the same thing, not because my husband was an ogre, I am not suggesting that. Just that the system was different. Women from those times accepted they had duties and they were mild and obedient. Even the marriage vows stipulated that.
I went along with what my husband wanted in our social life and in many other aspects of life. Mostly I was happy to, but as the children came along and I had to make my own way, and deal with more problems I learned to be a stronger woman.
The changes happened in a rather slow fashion, but boy things changed! I remember one particular decision, a small and insignificant one. It was my desire to send some postcards to family, and I was told ‘that’s not necessary’.
Fighting talk, and the worm turned. A recent example of this; yesterday I marched into a shop and with all my courage made sure I got paid for a job I had done several weeks before, and it looked like they were trying to deny payment. I got paid, mission complete. Just could not have done that at meek and mild nineteen.
I rebelled when I was about 28, and the avalanche started, so in our long marriage we have had to adjust to an ever changing balance of power. This can mean conflict and often did begin some colourful discussions. Yet we have weathered them, the changes were dealt with. I did more what I wanted as well as what my husband wanted. In some ways I am still the 1950’s wife. The meal is on the table every night, I wash and iron and deal with domestic bliss. My husband who at one time would not consider doing ‘women’s work’ now washes up and vacuums and does so many other things for me. When I worked in retail and came home for lunch he often had a delicious meal ready, so he was wonderful then and still is. When we both worked at the school and I was working at the hospital at the same time, we divided the chores and it worked well. We are a team, and proud to be. We share everything.
With the rising tide of family violence we have negotiated the waters well. I am not a victim, just one of the lucky few. The news every day catalogues the horror of such toxic relationships. Women who dare to fight for their own rights are slaughtered. Women who say enough is enough, ‘ I am leaving’ are then killed. Men who feel their power is diminished, or that a strong woman makes them appear weak, can’t handle the threat. They are already men who have issues and may need therapy to help them cope with their own problems. Society is failing the women and even failing the men. If a problem is reported it seems it is just brushed aside as a ‘family’ issue, when in fact it may well be a threat to life, as all too often is happening now.
So although I am happy in my own skin now, and able to fight for what I know is right, I just wish it was the same for other women out there. My experience of life has taught me there are some very cruel and ugly things happening every day, and in every neighbourhood. I hear of it, I see it. Only if we address this serious trend and deal with the problem legally are we ever likely to really help those women crying out and alone.
How can we make a difference, any ideas? Tell us in the comments below…