Module 2 story angle

Posted July 22, 2013 from Sudan

I have always been interested by how embedded oppressive cultural norms have become in language and discourse with regards to women's bodies, identities, and lives. I want this assignment to be centered around that and how it affects our perceptions of our selves. I am particularly interested in how discourse contributes to victims blaming, and why this is related to complete absence of reliable rape statistics in Sudan. I feel a strong urge to tie this to how rhetoric contributes to oppressive and barbaric practices such as FGM. I am not sure yet as to how I would accomplish this. So I am reaching out to you to get some feedback, and possibly some suggestion and ideas.

Comments 3

Log in or register to post comments
Yvette Warren
Jul 22, 2013
Jul 22, 2013

You are so right that rhetoric moves mountains and forms societal systems. That is why WorldPulse efforts to free up and fine tune female voices is so very important.

So much of our societal values are predicated on sacred scripture interpretations that promote acceptance of pain as sacrificial punishment for sins that we did not commit. The prospect of pain instills fear. Fear reduces humans to nothing more than animals that kill in order not to be killed. So many of our religious leaders are supporting the authority of the oppressors by continuing control by imposing fear. There are worse things than death, in my opinion. Continuing to bear children to be led to the slaughter of their souls is the worst thing I can imagine.

Oppressive societies rape to force women to bear future servants to their competitive "games." People are simply tools to produce products and protection of unearned power in the societies that oppress women and torture children. These same societies train our male children to attack their own mothers and sisters in order to prove their "manhood." They preach that inclusion in male society is dependent on aggressive action. Beginning with the mutilation of our young sons, women are forced to watch as the fruits of our life threatening labor are taken from us and turned into automated, aggressive animals.

Fear seems to be what fuels most of our oppressive actions. Males tend to be taught to turn all emotion into aggressive action. Because men are generally physically able to overpower women, we are wise to fear their physical aggression. I wonder how much of their fear is turned into anger by the lack of protection we give them while they are growing into men. Until we begin asking ourselves why we are willing to continue giving birth to children who have no hope of protection, we will continue to have our oppressors forcing procreation on us.

I would like to see more effort given to prevention of pregnancy by any means available while we seek to define values for life other than appeasing the angry gods with blood sacrifices. I will risk my life for joy, but not for fear of death. We must begin to interpret and write sacred words from the responsible compassion of those who risk our own lives to bring new births into the world. I wrote this in my blog April 1, 2011:

Commitment to Compassion

"This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken husband to wife and wife to husband in marriage. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by a mother as she embraces her children. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by a father every time his labor pays for his family's food. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by a teacher every time a child learns to read and write. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by the armed forces every time they are on the front lines. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by a nurse at the bedside of a patient in pain. "This is my body. This is my blood" words that can be spoken by all who reach out in love and minister to others. This commitment to compassionate action is the true communion of saints, and it is how we help create heaven on earth.

I hope this helps.

Blessings to you, Ana.


No Name
Jul 22, 2013
Jul 22, 2013

Wow. What a really important topic. Do you have any personal examples where you or perhaps someone you know has experienced how these types of words and messages have that effect?

I'm also trying to crystallize my angle. Good luck in bringing it in focus.


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby
Jul 31, 2013
Jul 31, 2013

Dear Anab,

This reply comes belatedly, but I wanted to share it with you just in case it's helpful in any way. When my last-year's Correspondent, "Hummingbird," visited me recently, I consulted her regarding your question (above), and this was her response: " I believe (Anab) wants to (write about) how daily practice of social language in societies reinforces bad practices against women.For example, In Syria there are ugly proverbs that help in stereotyping women's roles in society and culture, one is: "The second wife is bitter (for the first wife)." This proverb is sometime used to tell men if they want to make their wives obedient then a second wife is the answer. I am glad that this is started to be less ordinary than before.

Hope this helps in someway."

You are probably well on your way by now, but just in case . . . May The Writing Goddess(es) Be With You! - Sarah