Friday, December 29, 2006

Do we really put women and children first?

Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis has written a powerful reflection on how much we need to become more aware of violence to women and children. She says:
The culture we live in has a rhetoric of women and children first. However, I began to seriously reflect on the persistent violence against women and children--rape, incest, emotional and physical abuse, unfair economic wages, and lack of health care for single, female-headed families. I was forced to ask the question, "Are we truly living in a culture that values women and children? Are our morals and values producing legislation, attitudes, and people who care enough about women and children to ensure they have equal treatment and protection under the law?" In other words, "Does our culture have a walk that equals our talk?"
Later she adds:
So, as I continue to reflect on our culture and its "women and children first" culture, I submit that we cannot begin to put women and children first until we become sensitized to women and children--their needs, special circumstances, and their value. I submit that we cannot put "women and children first" until we open our eyes and see women and children, recognizing them as valued contributors to the survival of our society. Like the male pastoral leader in my workshop who was able to admit his lack of awareness of violence against women, we have to get off automatic and open our eyes and see. Only then will our walk equal our talk. Then women and children will not simply be first in rhetoric, but truly included with the humanity of all people.
I agree.