From Crystal:The following is a response to the post on the Sunset Club’s crude urinal (link is to NSFW pic of urinal) from Molly Barker, one of our fiercest friends and soon-to-be fellow FWD blogger:
At this moment I cannot pinpoint why I was crying. I just realized that I was.
My son Hank is unique. I guess all mothers feel that way about their sons. Hank was only six months old when I founded Girls on the Run, but magically its influence has woven its way into the beautiful man-fabric he is becoming.
Hank is 13. Yesterday he called me into his room. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. “Read this,” he said.
The book is entitled, “Voices of Sudan” and on page 42, the chapter is entitled “Sudanese Women”.
I settled in next to Hank, put my arm around his shoulder, the book was positioned on his lap and I read the following:
“With so many men being slaughtered Sudanese women are often left behind to protect and provide for the children. Caring for their families keeps women close to their villages, making them easy targets for the Janjaweed. Thousands of women have been raped and sexually abused. Once abducted, the women’s legs are broken to keep them from escaping, and their breasts are cut off to keep them from feeding their babies. In refugee camps the women are frequently attacked as they go to the river to collect water or to the bush to collect firewood. The social effects of this abuse cause even more pain. The children and their mothers have to bear the community’s sense of shame. Husbands abandon their wives after they have been raped, and women are branded as “unworthy of marriage.”
“Their babies…their babies die,” he said…this more of a statement rather than question. “Yes, their babies die.”
Hank is 13 years old,. His curiosity about girls is definitely on the rise and his willingness to be held by me, not as welcomed as it used to be. But right then, the two of us, sat there. My arm around his strong, muscular body, the book gently resting now across both our laps and the silence that comes with feeling powerless…and somehow oddly I felt empowered with him there next to me…my young man-son.
I lost myself for a minute…and then I noticed my tears.
I recall the news as of late among my peers. The dialogue that is currently raging on the Charlotteobserver.com website blog about the new bathroom fixtures at the Sunset Club, a club frequented by many business and community groups.
Fixtures that literally position women as nothing more than sexual and physical objects, objects in this case that men in that restroom must urinate upon to relieve themselves.
I recall the controversy surrounding the new Hooter’s that recently opened uptown; I struggle to explain to Hank that women are more than the view he receives of them each time he opens a Sports Illustrated or attends an NFL football game. I encourage him to celebrate women and to recognize that their beauty stems from something much richer, deeper and more fulfilling than just the external.
I reached out to embrace my son, tears on his face for the Sudanese women. Tears on mine for the hope I feel every time I look at him.
Molly Barker, M.S.W.
Founder and Vision Keeper