The War

Today is Halloween (Happy Halloween) and also the anniversary of my final liberation from my alcoholic-abusive ex-boyfriend, who I dated for about six years before finally escaping (it’s hard to get out of abusive relationships, especially when one grew up idolizing Scarlett O’Hara… Rhett’s an ass).


But, today I took my usual route to school, which passes by the abortion clinic on Main Street in Buffalo. I take this route to school three times a week and there are always protesters outside the clinic. On good days there are a few disheveled women standing quietly with signs that say, “Pray to end abortion.” Today we’re having nice weather,so there were a dozen or so people there, mostly men, carrying much larger signs and being much louder (of course… such men can never do things subtly). The signs said things like “This is a baby-murder factory!” … Now, I have never had an abortion, but I can see situations in which I might. I’m always very careful with birth control–partly because I was given a thorough education about sex and reproduction in elementary school, again in junior high, and again in high school, as well as by my parents (and all this in Alabama!). So I’ve never had to make that choice. But I think it would be a very difficult choice for most women to make. Thus, I think that people standing out there constitutes at the very least harassment, and might be said to be a terrorist act or a hate crime against women. After all, only women have abortions. Watching this circus of hate reminded me that although I am lucky enough to celebrate some personal victories, they are but scuffles in the overarching, millennia-long war against women that is played out every day, in situations ranging from gynecide and domestic abuse to discrimination in the workplace to harassing people out of the right to a safe abortion, to things as seemingly simple as oversight or omission of women in, say, a collection of poetry. The war has many fronts– indeed, it is a war in which every site is a front and in which even women are employed to fight against their best interests. There is no outside of patriarchy (yet), only those of us (men and women) who sometimes comprise a Resistance.

About Jessica Smith
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