Escape Artist: Episode 6 – A Woman Escapes

Today is October 8, 2022. It’s the start of Roevember, the month-long advocacy movement before election day to fight for women’s rights to our bodies yet the fuck again.

It’s truly a misnomer, a bad label, because we, as women, as people, innately maintain autonomy over our bodies and decisions. This is due to a society manipulated by corrupted leaders and primitive patriarchal ideals that create a misguided consuming public and framework to exploit and upheave our natural powers.

How desperate they’ve become.

Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade on June 24th earlier this year, 13 states have adopted total abortion bans. This research by the Guttmacher Institute predicts that this number may go up to 26 states. Now about 1/3 of women in America, that’s 22 million women, live in states where abortion is outlawed or highly restricted.

Please note that according to the World Health Organization, one of the risk factors for abortion is violence against women, which can lead to unintended pregnancies along with a whole mess of gynecological, sexual, and psychological issues.

But we already know there’s no concern from the (other misnomer) “pro-life” groups with addressing the actual causes or needs for abortion, like violence against women or lack of comprehensive sexual education.

Just as there’s no concern from these “pro-lifers” for taking care of children who are actually born. In fact, the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that one in five youth transitioning out of foster care report experiencing homelessness, being incarcerated, and, another kicker, one in 10 having a child. Ignorance begets ignorance.

Welcome to America!

My question is what can we do about the subtle poisonous sublayer in our society that contribute to these outcomes that not only hurt women but also children and economies? There is plenty of data, including a report from the United Nations, that found that women do 75% of unpaid work in the global economy & that when more women work, economies grow and improve.

Although there’s a social movement for women to stand up and develop camaraderie against the competitive, male-centered backdrop of much of our upbringing, I still see persistent inequalities in households including my own. We do most of the unpaid work and sometimes are the breadwinners too.

Add cherry to the pie? The continued belittling and undermining of women’s contributions to their loved ones and of our achievements.

Of course, there’s more shit on top like domestic violence and human trafficking; I focus now on the seemingly harmless baseline of prejudice against women that we have allowed & that fuels all other forms of violence.

Of course, men cannot fully understand women’s experiences, but it’s the failure to grasp that their full understanding is not required for them to support us.

They may not understand that gender inequalities (and its very real social, economic, and health consequences) exist and can thrive, with or without their full understanding.

This decision, whether willfully ignorant or not, is lip service, a verbal claim that they support women when their actions demonstrate their choice to believe only what they know – the male experience.

This is negligent behavior that deserves a corresponding outcome from all strong, capable women in this era.

In the Pyramid of Hate, we can see how prejudiced attitudes create the foundation for other forms of hate that follow if left unchecked.

Must we bring up that in the same Guttmacher Institute study, 1 in 3 women globally has reported being subjected to physical and/or sexual violence from their intimate partner in their lifetime?

Must we bring up that according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2005-2010, 78% of sexual violence involved someone the victim knew, such as a family member or friend?

If it’s the people closest to us that are hurting women, there is a deeper issue that goes beyond individual error and expands to a social ill that must be squashed.

Women know this. My question is how do we escape this evil as much as other systems of exploitation?

In the midst of my escape, I recognize how sexism has been engrained in my life. How I’ve been raised at the intersection of a Korean patriarchal society & an American colonial ideal, forging an expanding space where I’ve allowed my loved ones to hurt and disrespect me. I did not know another way.

I remember growing up watching as my mom planned her day to make my dad’s favorite meal only to have him dismiss her efforts and complain about a minor detail after cleaning off his plate.

I remember visiting older relatives and friends and seeing them clean and cook while their husbands sat on their asses & complained to their friends, also sitting on their asses, about how talkative their wives are.

I remember sitting in a conference room full of white, black, brown, and Asian men complaining about how much women complain as I sat there working on my team strategy and two of my female colleagues entered the room.

I also remember countless moments in and out of professional environments where I’ve been harassed sexually, violently, and emotionally starting from the age of four. But let’s focus on the social foundation that enabled that violence.

Through the obvious-to-everyone-but-them blinding hypocrisy, too many men I’ve known have done little to challenge the status quo. And why would they? They are comfortably reaping the benefits of women’s labor and love and continue to make a mockery of their mothers, lovers, partners, and colleagues. As if we will always be there.

Blame it on the social structures that be. We are grown and must take responsibility for our actions or deal with the consequences.

This demeaning default to always uphold the male ego is no longer part of my world.

The rage comes and goes, and how powerful women’s rage is. Escaping the world as I know it means letting go of shit that does not serve me, including relationships that do not honor all of me and my experience as an empowered woman.

I do not seek validation from any partner because I validate myself and remove myself from anyone perpetuating and counteracting the equality and safety for women I am working towards.

Making an escape means calling out to myself, my deep inner woman unfazed by the infantile behavior in leading patriarchal dimwits of modern government, and reminding her that I am free. I am fire. And I do not need to dim my fire for anybody or any ego.

This is anger. This is fatigue. This is frustration at disrespect I’ve been taught to allow and will no longer tolerate.

This is freedom. This is respect. With self-respect comes discipline, and that means recognizing what I need versus what I want.

We do what we can to empower ourselves and loved ones around us, but we can only lead a horse to water. I push myself to deliver clearly, genuinely, and kindly, yet it must not be the only effort in our meeting of minds & at this point, I must call a horse’s ass what it is.

Making my escape means taking my stand when the patriarchal world would like us to keep on as if everything’s alright. It’s not & it starts at home.

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