Breaking the Silence, Creating this Shift

Tamarack Verrall
Posted March 6, 2018 from Canada

I have been thinking a lot about Breaking the Silence, how far we have come, how far we have to go, who is still isolated, who is still speaking out alone, who is still speaking out in danger, speaking truth out loud that has never been spoken in her community, and who  has found this new Wave.

I am thinking back over the 1960’s and 1970’s here in North America, how new those words were, describing a world in which women were safe, how radical that was, how exhilarating to find each other in our own communities, and across Canada, and across the open border that we crossed often to meet sisters in the USA. Our numbers were small, our ideas attacked as radical, but we were bolstered by our sense of justice and by each other.

In the 1980’s as we held firm, grew in numbers and expanded our list of what needed to change we were met with fierce attack, and accused of being terrible women. The press was unrelenting. Labels of “man-hater” and “radical” made many back away from the word feminist, and from speaking out at all. It was a painful time, and there were ruined reputations, denied employment and blocking from speaking.

The 1990’s brought better times. There was enough evidence gathered and there were enough women standing together to create spaces for our stories to be heard, reported, repeated. Still, the stigma of being a feminist remained. Many women began with “I’m not a feminist but…”. We continued though, to be emboldened by each other. We met in groups to share stories despite the accusations that we were being “exclusive” and still “too radical”. I was not satisfied with anything less.

I think back on that time, when I feared that women would dissociate themselves from our movement if I did not change my speech, and I did quiet down a little in those years. Never silent, but somewhat toned down. Looking back I regret letting that fear quiet me. I believe the fear we had of losing credibility, slowed things down. This enormous crisis we are facing warrants and needs our voices to be as loud and as detailed and as visionary as possible. I think back on it now, because we have achieved so recently a great leap forward.

Now we have technology some of us had never imagined possible. And it has brought me World Pulse. Now I read stories of women speaking out boldly with the truth, shaking the old order, with new far reaching ideas of what society can be, with all women and girls free. I see the committed stand that we are not finished until everyone is free. I see the courage and brilliance of my sisters, and more often too now, of brothers speaking out for change for women, and for a peaceful and loving world. I feel the power of our having contact with each other, and knowledge of what is being said and done, and what is needed. I feel this quantum shift actually happening, strengthening and deepening as we grow.  And I see that its growth has not come from softening our tone, it has come from so many speaking the truth, publicly documenting the details, proving that by being available to each other in great enough numbers we are closer to this needed change than ever before in history. This is real. This is new. This is because of women speaking loudly and fearlessly. This is because in numbers never experienced before, men understand and are joining us. I hoped so deeply in my heart that we could continue the momentum. And we have. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018 let’s carry on with this deep love, with this wisdom, with this courage, with this Wave we are riding through our connections with each other and our hands outstretched to women who have not imagined what is possible, and who have not yet tasted freedom. We are changing history together.

Comments 45

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  • MagiOriah
    Mar 06
    Mar 06

    Thank you Tam for your beautiful offering and chronology of your commitment and action to speaking out. So appreciate your quote, "We are changing history together."

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Thanks Magioriah, I feel it so strongly now with the Women's Marches, #MeToo, #Time's Up and especially the thousands of WorldPulse sisters.

  • jlanghus
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Hi Tam. Another lovely story from you... I so wish I knew you as far as in the 80's. I so needed a feminist role model and friend. There weren't too many of us in Green Bay, WI:-) I remember being bowled over by a feminist professor at the time. I wish I would've been more outspoken rather than fearful all this time, too, but everything happens for a reason. Let's celebrate together what we have done, and how far we've come. You've done so much and will continue to do so much more advocacy. Shine on, friend and beloved sister:-) Oh, do make sure to include your story on the story submissions link page: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/voices-rising/story-awards/83055!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Hi Jill,
    Your messages always give me a lift. It would have been great to meet earlier. But here we are, that's the best part. And yes, a celebration.
    Much love, sister,
    Tam

  • jlanghus
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    Aw, thank you:-) I'm glad to hear it! Indeed, thank goodness for WP:) Hope you are having a great International Women's Day?!

  • mae me
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Hi Tam :) it’s better now that we can speak and be heard. Women are uniting now for a change! I’m so happy to be one, breaking the silence of peace. A peace that can be achieve by each women....stand up and be heard!!!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Hi Mae,
    It is a big change, isn't it! I find it so exciting. And yes, it has to be all women. I too believe that by coming forward we women will create peace. Thank for being in touch.
    In sisterhood,
    Tam

  • Sambridhi
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Hey Tam. I always love your spirit. You are absolutely right, we sure have come a long way and we have a long way to go. I hope every woman around the world feels the same way! Power and love to you. Keep rocking!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Sambridhi,
    How lovely to get your message. The main reason I mention all these years is that we are continually challenged with the idea that what we are saying is so outrageous, so impossible. But women ave been working for this moment of strength together for so long, long before I was born. There is no reason for it to take such a long time, and I feel we are finally making it happen at a much faster rate. Rock on yourself, dear sister.

    Tam

  • Mar 07
    Mar 07

    This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
  • JulieG
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Dear Tam,

    Thank you for continually inspiring so many to keep (or start!) speaking the truth. There is a quantum shift happening, I believe it, too!
    Here is to love, wisdom and courage!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 07
    Mar 07

    Thank you Julie,
    The more we experience it and recognize it, the stronger it is becoming. We live in exciting times. I think so often of our sisters reaching areas where this is so new to so many. I love the combination, love, wisdom, courage.

  • Aunty Quack
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    I loved reading this. Yes, there is a long way to go, but look how far we've come. Much love to you all, my sisters.

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Hi Aunty Quack,
    I'm so glad you loved reading this. It is true, we are experiencing such a different time now that so many of us are working together, and with such love.

  • Lily Habesha
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    Tam,
    I now know why you like Empress Tayitu's story. The Canadian people should applaud your work for daring to bring this issue in those days.
    You are our heroine, Tam.

    Love and Hug from Ethiopia

    Lily

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Dear Lily,
    What a lovely message. I feel it deeply and it makes me want to go even deeper.

  • Lily Habesha
    Mar 10
    Mar 10

    Tam,
    Whatever women do, did...nobody seemed happy to appreciate it. Like Empress Tayitu, encouraged the male patriots when they retreat. If she was not there, the war could end in different way.

    All Africa new, Mniilik won the battle, but they don't even know her name.
    We've Minilik's palace, Minilik's Hospital, ...Minilik's school...Minilik's Square, with his statue. She organized women, carry floor, food stuff, cook for patriots, they carry all this in their back. We hear a woman singer who encourage patriots on the six month trip, nobody mentioned her name. I hear about the singer last ADWA's celebration.
    What we did is always buried. it is same here or in abroad. Women's writer's association is collecting signature , so that the government build a statue for Tayitu.

    Canadian women should acknowledge your work as well. You are their and our Heroine.

    Love
    Mulitti

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    Dear Mulitti,
    I believe that the hiding of the history of strong, brilliant, leader women has been hidden so intentionally, and that it is so important for us, and for young girls to know the truth and what we are capable of, and have done. I am glad to know about this woman leader, and that women like you are keeping the news of her alive.
    As for me, i feel so lucky to have been in fine company of strong women, and with others before me who opened the path. Thank you for such a lovely message. It inspires me to keep on.

    Love,
    Tam

  • Lily Habesha
    Mar 12
    Mar 12

    Tam,
    IT's all have been done intentionally. Many rich men in my home, if you dig deeper...the wealth is built by the women.
    BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN, THERE IS A GREAT WOMAN.

    THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD IS, A WOMAN.

    I wrote a story about the second quotation Or based on it on WP a year ago.

    I see all the power, wisdom and capability in women. Some men are honoring us these days.

    Whatever they say, we are the strongest.

    Love
    LIly

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 17
    Mar 17

    Dear Lily,
    I agree, women are amazingly strong! Many Indigenous men in my country fully recognize the strength and wisdom of the Clan Mothers. It is good to see more men embrace the strength and wisdom of women.
    Love,
    Tam

  • Vivian Emesowum
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    I glad to have you here so that we can change the world together. Thank you for this great post filled with history that is useful to know

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Thank you so much Vivian. I love that we can now work together.

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    Yay, Tam. You are amazing.

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Dear Wendy,
    Thank you! I really appreciate the support.

  • Anne McCaw
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    Tam, your are love and light. You are inspiration. You are strength. You are hope. Thank you for leading the way through shadows and doubt. With every story you tell, in all the ways you do it, you lead us toward a much safer, much stronger, much more peaceful world. I am so grateful for you.

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Dear Anne,
    I appreciate your message so much. You inspire me to keep writing. This is the magic of encouraging each other. It really works.

  • Valéria Barbosa
    Mar 08
    Mar 08

    Tam dear sister, what a beautiful story. There are several stories stuck in the throats throughout history, others have become music and today the favelas scream in poetry.
    Sometimes in places where the power of violence prevails, it is better to learn subtlety in speaking, this I learned in World Pulse. Today I do not cry, I can and this way I can continue the voice.
    If I scream I run the risk of silencing the sound with oppression. In the silence of the verses I can speak with a thousand, touch hearts and at least hope that everything will improve.

    Congratulations on every chronology of the action of great stories.

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Dear Valeria,
    Thank you for your beautiful support and wise reminder that sometimes subtlety is important. It is true that volume is not always the best way. I love that the favelas are screaming in poetry.

  • Hello, Tam,

    Thank you for starting this race. It is truly hard to be a pioneer. Perhaps when you began, your efforts might be like drops of water. But look at how your perseverance led you today, from a drop you are now part of a wave of women breaking their silence. It would not be like this at all if there were no one who stood for us back then. So thank you, Tam, for striving, for fighting, for encouraging and for reaching out.

    I like this line, " we are not finished until everyone is free". May we sustain this momentum to encourage the rest of the women to share their stories and stand up for their rights.

    Once again, thank you!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks so much for your caring words. I wanted to show how long it has been, to encourage everyone that "things take time" is an old excuse for not changing. I feel so optimistic now with what we are collectively accomplishing.

  • Yes, yes, yes! Imagine what could happen years from where we are now? The sky is the limit!

  • frederike
    Mar 09
    Mar 09

    Dear Sister,
    I am breaking a new, but very old, silence,...
    One that has become a ‘new’ tabu: bad mothers!
    As a feminist like you, as a Sister who wanted everything for all women,... I realised I never broke my own silence,...
    The tabu is huge!
    I am breaking my silence now,...
    I will paste and copy my post here...
    I want to break the silence, the tabu around the ‘mother figure’, the ‘mother image’, in short the ‘bad mother’.
    Society urges us to be eternally grateful to our mother. We not only have to be grateful for feeding us, clothing us, giving birth to us,.. we also have to be ready to be the ‘good daughter’ too!
    Oh my whenever we touch the image of ‘thé’ ‘Mother’.
    Whenever one tells the terrible things one’s mother did to her,... society will always react with:
    ‘’Oooh, but She surely did not do this on purpose, Dear,...’’ or with ‘’never speak bad about your Mother, She fed you, bathed you, clothes you,...’’ or when She is dead: ‘’RIP, no bad things about your mom’’
    Whenever it would be a father who is the offender, people go: ‘’Oh my, sorry to hear that Dear’’, and ‘’did you report him to the police? ‘’ and so on,... even up to saying ‘’good riddance’’ after his death...

    This attitude makes it very difficult to impossible for many to come forward with an abusive mother.

    And especially for us girls and women it becomes even more strenuous because we also have to be this incredible daughter, always ready to help mother,… especially when getting older,…

    I remember vivid my mother asking me, forcing me, demanding me to help her to the bathroom, … while she would tell her friends and visitors that she would never ever dream of asking her children to do this,… never,… ‘’oh no, I could not ask such a thing from them as long as there is a nurse around,…’’.
    Either she did not regard me as her child, either she was lying through her teeth again,… to brush up her image!! Most likely it was both!!

    So I want to break the silence!!
    I know many mothers are really ill-meaning vicious, violent and abusive mothers.
    I really am not talking about the normal mother who makes honest mistakes out of ignorance or stress or fatigue,…
    I am talking about the mothers who are out to gét their daughter,… who want to annihilate this child,… erase it from earth,… take it out of existence,… and who does this by killing her daughter slowly,…

    When this happens at a very early onset, and for most it starts at birth or even before birth, as in my case,… with a mother hating the child in her so-called ‘holy’ womb,… then many consequences come from this.
    It has consequences on the development of the brain,…
    The ‘wiring’ will be different,… and it is the question if this can ever be fully ‘repaired’.
    Many disorders originate from this: bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depressions, PTSD , attachment disorder, borderline disorder, etc… The list is long!

    That is why I find it extremely important to break the image of the mother as a good mother.
    This is also in favor of the truly good mothers,.. they luckily exist in abundance!!
    If something as a ‘bad mother’ exists, then the good mothers can become less anxious about their normal mistakes, flaws and errors,…
    At the good mothers: please, look into your Heart, look honestly and deeply,… did you Love your child, your daughter,… would you die for her,… where you deeply in Love with her when she was a baby,…
    If your answer is ‘Yes’, then please don’t worry and please don’t be offended with my writing.
    This is about Love, about love and only about love!! If you have been able to give your daughter Love, again and again,… that is all one can ask for…

    I am talking about the mothers who really dislike and hate their child,… not only when they are tired or stressed out,… but at a deeper level,.. the mothers who detach themselves from their daughters,… because which Mother dares to confess to herself that she deeply hates her child,…?

    This is my call, this is my cry, this is my voice breaking the silence…
    Breaking the silence of the untold story…
    The untold story of the daughter of a really mean and vicious mother…

    Please daughters, come forward, let your voice be heard too…
    This is the place and the space to do it
    Do it anonymously so no one will cast a stone…
    Because this is untreaden territory… this is highly flammable stuff,… this is unspoken off… literally then…
    We have been made mouth-death, silenced, muzzled… regarding the atrocities a mother can put upon her daughter,… often from when this daughter is a baby,… and not stopping until mother dies…

    So I beg you, I pray for you, I call you,… break your silence,… it just might set you free ! It might just set you free…
    And if it doesn’t,… at least here you have a platform where people listen to you,.. at least here you might encounter and meet other victims of their mothers!!

    Speak up!
    It is time!
    Speak up,.. it is the first step towards healing !! Maybe not the last, but certainly the first and necessary step towards healing !!

    I will be giving the example by posting more stories about either myself, either voiceless sisters.

    Have no fear, Sisters, speak !
    Let your voice be heard!!!
    Speak, tell your story!
    Speak.

    Frederike LANKA
    10 March 2018

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    Dear Frederike,

    I am so sorry for what you went through, and so glad that you felt ready to write here, in response to Breaking the Silence. It is so true that women who treat their daughters cruelly do exist, that we need to talk about this, and that it is difficult to speak about for all of the reasons you describe. We do need to acknowledge this reality and you have lovingly addressed women writing to honour wonderful mothers to make space for this discussion without misunderstandings. I have met women like your mother, who cannot find ways to love their children, and in particular women who abuse their daughters. By opening this profound problem here, we can acknowledge and free women like you who have lived this to speak out, and look deeply at what is behind this inability to love. There are so many women in this world who are miserable, and the reasons need to be addressed. That innocent children are the brunt of this misery makes it urgent for us to explore solutions together. By writing here you have offered us all the beginning of this discussion.
    I want to suggest that you repost this story under "Stories" as a separate post of your own. This way it will appear as a recent story and it will likely reach more WorldPulse members. Together we need to find solutions to every form of aggression and pain. Thank you for responding here. I am glad to see that you will be posting more stories about your life. The more we all know and understand, the more we free ourselves and can work together.

    With love in sisterhood,
    Tam

  • frederike
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    Tam,
    Thank you from the bottom of my Heart to ‘hear and see’ me.
    I knew it was a very sensitive and tabu subject, and have on my first day on WorldPulse received bashings on this topic!
    The way you wrote your beautiful comment is soothing in itself,... as if I can hear and feel the ‘good mother’ in your words! Thank you for that !! It is very healing !!
    Thank you also for acknowledging the need to open up this tabu and highly explosive topic!!
    I hope other women will follow suit !!
    Thank,you ! Thank you ! Thank you!
    Love,
    Frederike

  • Mar 10
    Mar 10

    This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
  • Obisakin Busayo
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    Dear Tam
    Yes! we are changing the world! Our voices are growing louder and louder. We are not men haters but we want our own space and our own space we get. Thank you being a change maker and silence breaker my friend. It is time to speak up!, shout! No more silence on issues that concerns us no more sealed lips. It is time to shout! Thank you Tam for the great work you are doing and for all your support
    Warmest Love
    Busayo

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    My dear sister,
    The power of encouraging each other resonates deeply today in my heart, reading your fierce and loving response. I count on the growth of understanding just how important it is that we continue to speak up at a volume more than justified at what we know needs to change, and with the pain of what women and girls are subjected to. Yes, breathing room with each other, time that we have our own space has allowed us to gather the strength, freedom, discussions we need to link our arms as beautifully as we are here, together.

    Much love to you,
    Tam

  • Mar 11
    Mar 11

    This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
  • Surbhi Jain
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    My dear sister Tam,
    Your words contain deep meaning inside it. You are connected to this fight before I born, before I started thinking, there are many things I want to learn from you; your knowledge and experiences are like an ocean in front of mine .I get inspiration from your words, I always wants to hear from you.
    Stay blessed and lots of love .
    Surbhi

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 11
    Mar 11

    Dear Surbhi,
    It is a great joy that we can now span such age and geography here now through WorldPulse. Together we all have so much to share, and with our arms linked more is possible that I even dreamed I would be able to be part of. I look forward to following you.
    Much love to you and a big hug,
    Tam

  • Mar 12
    Mar 12

    This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
  • Tumanjong Miranda
    Mar 12
    Mar 12

    Thank you Tam, you are a big inspiration to me and other women out there. Our voices has to continuously be heard!

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 12
    Mar 12

    Dear Miranda,
    Just hearing this from you keeps me going. We never know when we write whether it will be helpful to others. Being able to hear from each other is so important! Your message really encourages me. Yes, our voices are so important. I love the wave we are creating together here and throughout our communities.
    With love,
    Tam
    Tam

  • florence kekong
    Mar 13
    Mar 13

    Great people, making great things happen for a positive great change. I am so proud of you, dearie.

  • Tamarack Verrall
    Mar 14
    Mar 14

    And I am so glad we are connected with each other now, dear sister. Thankyou for the support!