There are some questions that need to be asked, and really are quite stupid in their execution – no matter how you ask them. Sometimes you don’t even realise it until some additional contextual feature kicks in – like International Women’s Day.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my midwife appointment, answering the usual plethora of questions so she could determine my risk of post-natal depression.
And then she said: “I now will ask you about your home environment to ensure that both you and the baby will be returning to a safe home environment.”
“Do you feel safe with your husband?”
And then I realised. I feel very safe with EG Dad. He is amazing. I can honestly say EG Inc is a very safe household – except from failed science experiments and minion manipulation.
However, I am extremely lucky to be able to say that – let alone stop and think about the question at all! How many other women around the world are unable to to experience that same safety and security?
And then I realised how flimsy that question seemed!! Seriously, would a woman in a DV environment turn around to this complete stranger and suddenly say “Well, now that you mention it, my husband smacks me around a bit and I have never been able to tell anyone before.”
Hey, if it works that way – fantastic!! The system works (for a first). But after saying the exact same words above to the midwife, she turned around and said “I know. I agree – and I said the same thing to my boss. But hey – why should my 10 years of social work count for anything?”
You know, there may be an occasion when someone feels comfortable enough to confide in a stranger, but the likelihood?
There were a whole heap of other questions that also seemed pretty inane, but this was the one I was still thinking of hours later.
Especially on International Women’s Day. Especially when the theme for 2013 is Violence against Women. And especially when I am lucky enough this is the only time I really have to stop and think about it.
There are so many places around the world, countries, towns, villages, homes, cars – where safety for women is questionable, and downright non-existent. I hate making a gender issue out of it, but the truth is that gender IS the issue. Purely because the victims are chosen because of their gender. In many cases, the victims are then punished again because of their gender and the system’s inability to give them credit for the crime (“they asked for it”). Sometimes, the reaction can swing so far the other way that males in general are punished whether or not they are even that way inclined. No-one wins. Everyone suffers – the female victims most of all.
And why? Most of the time due to some stupid cultural belief of power over women. In fact these ‘monsters’ are normally so afraid of the potential of women to contribute and work with them, that they refuse to face their own insecurities and inadequacies, subsequently trying to bring their victims down to their level.
But hey – I’m not a psychologist (although some of them can be pretty evil in their genius). I’m just working from my experience dealing with some neanderthals in my life. And once again I find myself reflecting on how lucky I am that I have never had that sense of fear, danger, or anything else that ugly.
So I’ll do the only logical thing that I can do right now, right this minute – I will bring up my spawnlings to never inflict that pain, that fear, on to anyone else. To understand the need for respect, both ways. The responsibility that comes with being an Evil Genius and taking over the world – in guiding others to not resort to such intimidating tactics.
And hopefully that will one day allow at least two more women to sit with their midwives and question the effectiveness of the “safe home” question.