Dream of Sanctuary

LETTERS

Written by: Lily Dauphinee

Some ghosts haunt us, some serve as constant reminders of what we could have done or been. Some take their time before they find solace elsewhere. Some drag us down for the rest of our eternities. Mine lives with me, making my greatest accomplishment the only thing I’ve truly done wrong. When called to strength, I prevailed, yet made the lives of others increasingly worse.

When I could’ve shared the burden of my past with those I loved, I decided instead, to shed the sins of my father for a better life of my own. I’d be leaving behind my own blood, the only person I ever truly loved and wanted to protect with my life, my sister.

It’s funny how three words, spoken a dozen times in my head had no effect until I said them aloud in a moment of weakness. The phrase “he touched me” left my lips and turned the life I knew on its head. Then my mother locked the doors and shut the blinds, all because of three little words. Yet previously, the words “stop” and “no” served no effect other than to encourage misbehavior.

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My mother held me all night as she cried into my hair, and I cried into hers. She cried for not being able to protect her children from her ex-husband’s temper and heavy hand; I cried for leaving my blood, not being able to protect my only sister like I had done for years before. I knew then what I had done could never be changed, I knew then that I’d never let anyone hurt me again if not for me but for my sister. I had failed her and left her in his grasp for no reason other than my own weakness.

That night I dreamt of my sister…

While we shared a father, her skin in contrast to mine was dark, though even in the shadows, I could tell she was crying. Her tears ran silently down her cheek, not letting as much as a whimper escape her lips, for we had been trained not to show weakness. We were told weak women were undesirable in the eyes of man, and man should be the only thing we seek. I wiped her tears and soothed her with impromptu stories of fancy all through the night.

In the world of our room, we weren’t victims of child abuse…

rape, or the injustices that came with being women in a household dominated by a man. The covers provided us sanctuary guarded only by our imaginations. Beneath these yellow-stained sheets, we were spending our Sunday’s playing in a swimming pool, suckling on strawberry popsicles, and drinking homemade lemonade out of mason jars. Here the worst pain in life would be the sunburns on our backs, reminding us of a day well spent. I knew in this environment I could truly do anything, be anything. Too soon, however, the daydream would end. Too soon, a knock on the door would come. Too soon, we’d be ripped from the sheets that kept our utopian fantasy safe. Eventually, as all things do, the dream we could never reach came crashing upon on us, as the winds knocked down the door and swept up the tented sheets.

He’d separate me from my sister…

As we drifted apart, my sister let out a single sob, not of sadness or even of fear, but one of longing, longing for the sanctuary she knew she could never have. The sanctuary I would achieve just three months after that day. For I was grounded in my mom, tethered to the possibility of achievement; of the love and respect that comes with freedom, while her life remained in the air, never to know what could’ve been. She remained in the eye of the storm while I sought refuge elsewhere.

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I haven’t dreamt about her since…

and let myself accept the fact that I left that small, trembling girl in the hands of the devil. Though I never saw him touch her I wouldn’t let him, she was mine to protect, and that had been my purpose, to put myself in harm’s way so she could be strong and…

grow. Yet with those three little words that she’d never even heard, her life had drastically changed forever. She would lose a protector, and I would become bereaved of my purpose.

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Now I live my days trying for the best. I do all that I can and make the most of this life I would give back in a second just to wipe away that one last tear. I will forever be grateful for the existence I’ve carved out for myself, and do my best to succeed in spite of my father and all of his wrongdoings. I triumph for my sister, and look forward to the day when I can hug her once again. But for now, I continue on the path I’m on and vow to make not only my family proud but myself proud. I believe in that, my dream of sanctuary can transform into a reality.

Female Voting Rights and the Age of Consent

Domestic

Written by: m.wilson

A network of Christian feminist reform groups, advocated for an increase in the age of consent from 12 to 16 (and with the eventual goal of 18), with its “social purity movement,” at the closing of the 19th century (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). Prior to this movement in 1880-U.S., within 37 states, the age of consent was 10 years old, and in Delaware, it was seven years of age.

For centuries throughout much of the western world in countries like England and France, the age of consent was between 10-12 (in 12th century Italy the age of consent was documented at seven years of age), and for a long time before that, consent bore some association with pubescence. However, during this time, consent was legally relevant mostly in terms of violent rape, while marriages between men and those under 10 years of age was common throughout the globe.

Congress Passes the 19th Amendment in 1919

Congress passed the 19th amendment allowing women to vote in 1919. This amendment to the constitution followed after decades of suffragist activity, such as passing individual suffrage acts, mass protests, parades, and more radical tactics such as hunger strikes. However, history recounts that few of the early suffragists would live to enjoy their achievement (ourdocuments.gov, 2020).

As recently as 2001, the age of consent in Hawaii was 14. However, since the 20th century, women have gained more control of their personal and economic lives within society, are less dependent on men for survival, and not as objectified in that regard.

Life Before the Increase

It may be fair to say that women are out there searching for boyfriends and husbands, and at the very least, the idea of ‘competing’ with 12-year-old girls for male attention would probably feel counter-instinctual. Children are not adults, and their worlds consist of things like homework, soccer club, and parental controls for a reason – that they may dwell within environments that facilitate their safe development. There are an infinite amount of reasons why a romantic coupling with an under-aged individual would be physically, emotionally, and intellectually unsuitable for most women.

The “uh oh” Feeling

Changes in societal norms instigated by the feminist movement are occasionally brought to light within the stories of our most celebrated heroes of 19th-century literature, as circumstances, having become taboo in the present, begin to sublimate darker, more ominous inferences. An episode of Timeline titled The Secret World of Lewis Carrollillustrates the real-life happenings that inspired Carroll’s (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s) masterpiece Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (published 1865). During the episode, various guests are interviewed, including several fans, famous themselves, who marvel at the story of Wonderland; while experts and family descendants recount the profound influence of his 10-year-old muse Alice Liddell. The ensuing presentation of the book as ‘one of the greatest children’s stories ever,’ and the reflections of those who find the story’s magical circumstances so enchanting, create such a hilariously uncanny mood, that it may delay for the viewer an understanding of what the host is actually getting at until the very end.

Edgar Allen Poe’s happy 11-year marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm, which began in 1835, only ended when Virginia succumbed to tuberculosis in 1847 (Sobel, 2019). Writers have speculated as to whether Virginia is the dark-haired woman who dies in Poe’s stories such as “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven.” Liberty Voice writer Sobel (2019) wonders ‘what he was thinking about exactly when he was writing his poetry.’

What society now refers to as pedophilia had been the status quo for women and girls, and at the point of state intervention, for well over a thousand years. Centuries of consensus intellectual thought, habitual biology, and behavior was forced to evolve in the very moment women earned the right to vote in national elections. Therefore in 1919-20, it became a little less of a man’s world. But what does that mean?

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Why a relationship is one plus one rather than two

Relationships

Written by: Jeimmer E. Padilla Gamarra

In his poem, Bolero Julio Cortazar said,

So we will never be

the perfect match

the postcard

if we are unable to accept

solely in arithmetic

two comes from one plus one.

Cortazar‘s wording “solely in arithmetic” is of great importance because what he is saying is that a couple (in a relationship), is in essence, one individual: dealing with the other person, the world, and the self (what and who we are as persons), as opposed to two persons dealing these matters from a state of union. 

Thinking of a relationship as two separate and independent individuals contradicts the traditional notion of a couple facing life together and evolving as one. That each partner is capable of fixing the other’s problems, saving the other from their inner demons with the indestructible and ever-resilient power of love.

However, despite the auspices of relationship, it is possible to perceive the “marks” differentiating each individual, and the territory of those matters extending to the core of the partnership; often beyond our consciousness.

“Morality” or society?

In Top Reasons Spouses Stay Faithful, Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. wrote that research pertaining to motivations for faithfulness, ‘indicated factors decreasing the likelihood of straying were religious, female, and married for less time. She surmised that religion represents moral motivations for faithfulness while the female component might be attributed to patriarchal society, the dynamics of which bind women to marriage as society commands them. Furthermore, that gender differences between males and females in the research, originate from the respective perception of benefits and costs, since the “cost of cheating could be potentially higher for women due to their partners’ reactions and the social stigma, (Psychology Today 2019).

As a male, I feel that cheating on women is more despicable for this reason, causing marriages to fall on religion for validation as opposed to interpersonal or society-based institutions like character and agreement.

The essence of the Self

We all know, or at least have heard the story of someone who can’t stop cheating on their partner, while the other blames themselves for not “being enough” explaining that the person was duplicitous from the beginning. Of course, in some instances, this may be true, though it is difficult to envision a person who is a cheater for no reason. In the same article, Patrick states that ‘fear of being alone and a person’s moral standards predicted anticipated faithfulness more than concern for one’s counterpart or effects on children (Patrick, 2019).’ I interpret this to mean that we first think of ourselves as individuals or digress from thinking at all, rather than caring for the other person or the relationship itself.

So, what does this tell us?

There’s debate among professionals as to whether it’s preferable to seek couple vs. individual therapy when it comes to distressed relationships.
And while it is always easier to blame everything but ourselves, science is telling us, and especially where depressive symptoms are present, that we should first become introspective to ascertain if something is plaguing our emotions or personal integrity. Let’s look for a mirror as opposed to binoculars when it comes to romantic relationships.

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