The Blood Of Life

Stephanie EPHRAIM
Posted August 17, 2020 from Vanuatu

I took this photo just shortly after a family friend was killed in a domestic violence assault.  Our blood has run at your hands. The blood of women has quenched the thirst of the soils of our land under your hands, under the hands of those who came. But blood has always run from me. The blood of life. The blood that gives life to our children, our future, our culture. It has flown like the waterfall… out of our control, unstoppably, eternally.”

Because Ni-Vanuatu women and Ni-Vanuatu femininity itself will not ever be destroyed until Ni-Vanuatu is destroyed completely.

Men’s violence in Vanuatu is so often justified by Western influence. At once, (Western) Christianity ports some blame for further domesticating women, further stipulating gendered roles. At the same time, Christianity is seen as the foundation of independent Vanuatu — principles to be respected as pillars of independence against the onslaught of the West which threatens to extinguish and suffocate Ni-Vanuatu culture (into\ which Christianity is curiously, mistakenly, inseparably tangled).

The discourse of women’s rights, on the other hand is mistakenly and inseparably tangled with Western dominance. Feeling like capitalism, colonialism, the West has stolen everything from them, for men in Vanuatu, now the West seeks to corrupt this last pillar — their women, the foundations for their families, of their culture. (and women are so often around the world burdened to carry the symbols of culture in their dress and their practice).

But as men wrestles against this onslaught with war on women’s power, their struggle is misguided against the very thing they seek to protect. Their culture, their land, their heritage, their future, their identity.

This photo was so powerful for me — the running of the red fabric like blood, like the waterfall. The waterfall is so powerful, so impossible to fight against. And the woman is so at peace — already a spirit, already tied so deeply to nature. Not even standing in power against attach because the attack is simply nothing against the nature, immortality, naturalness of blood, of life, of motherhood, of those rocks….

The name, Blood of Life, also hints at Christ and Christianity, redemption, defeating death, transcendence to love, ceasing to retaliate, faith.


Stephanie Ephraim 

Comments 7

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Jill Langhus
Aug 17, 2020
Aug 17, 2020

Hello Stephanie,

Welcome to World Pulse! Wow! You have such a strong voice. Your photo and post are amazing, too! I love that you're questioning the Christian influence in your country, and being, too. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you and learning about your Vanuatu Feminist Library. Sounds like a great idea.

There are a few World Pulse members from Vanuatu, but they aren't very active, unfortunately. This member's post is powerful, for instance: It looks like you might be the rising voice of your country!

Hope you're doing well, and that you have a good week!

Nini Mappo
Aug 17, 2020
Aug 17, 2020

Wow Stephanie,
What shines about your story is how deeply connected you are to your identity, your womanhood, (don't know how to say it better:(), your culture and land and your role in it all. This is incredible to see especially in the current climate where political correctness has coerced people into a level of indifference. Good on you.

I would be interested to know how your people and culture were like before western influence, what were the pillars essential to Ni-Vanuatu(ness) and what it would look like to attain redemption.

Beautiful interpretation of your photo by the way. I would not have seen all that in it if you had not said it. It's good to have you here:)

Aug 17, 2020
Aug 17, 2020

Hi Stephanie,
Sad we lost yet another sister to domestic violence. Your analogy is so powerful. Nice photograph too. Thank you for telling the story in such a captivating form.

The blood means life. That is the essence of Christianity as Christ shed His blood to emancipate us. It is unfortunate that we have turned this around to subjugate women, especially in the church by colouring this as submission, whereas love demands much, much more.

Great insights here, Sis. The gospel of Christ remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb. 13: 8

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Aug 18, 2020
Aug 18, 2020

Hello, Stephanie,

I love how you see the world, even with the photo you uploaded: woman, blood and waterfall. You are able to see symbolic messages hidden from the naked eye.

It's sad that Christianity has been used by some people to abuse power. But to us who truly understands the core message, it is actually liberation from oppression and promotion of EQUALITY.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

Thank you for sharing your insights. I want to know more about you and the women in Vanuatu.

My sincerest condolence to a sister who lose her life because of domestic violence.

Aug 28, 2020
Aug 28, 2020

Thank you for sharing.

Paulina Nayra
Oct 09, 2020
Oct 09, 2020

Dear Stephanie,
Such a powerful symbolism of the blood of women, of strong women formidable against the strong currents of life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with this beautiful picture. Take care Stephanie. Looking forward to your stories.

Julie Desai
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Thanks for sharing