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Pre-2008 Posts

What Have You Done For a Girl, a Woman, a Female Person?

What have you, as a radical feminist woman, done for girls and women in  your life?  What actions have you taken to help a girl or a woman?  Have you volunteered for some organization?  Taken a girl or a woman into  your home?  Helped a woman to flee an abusive situation?  Given a woman food, money, a car, a place to stay, taken care of her kids, given her a ride, helped her with some specific knowledge or out of some expertise you have?  Have you tutored a girl, been emotionally available to her, been her ally in a specific difficulty?  Have you visited women in nursing homes or rehabilitation centers or old women living on their own?  Offered support to a woman leaving prostitution?   Helped a woman to deal with a pregnancy, wanted or unwanted?

This post aims to challenge and end, once and for all, the absurd claims, accusations, assertions that radical feminists just sit around blogging all day.  Judging by the number of posts and comments all over the entire ass of the blogosphere which some of our accusers find time to make, my hunch is the accusers are projecting, and they’re the ones plopped day in/day out in front of their computers; be that as it may, those of us who know radical feminists, who are radical feminists, know how preposterous these accusations are.  I, for one, have had it up to here with this kind of disingenuous trifling.

I know that women are often a little shy about this kind of thing, and that they do not like to toot their own horns so far as how they have helped women and girls.  I also know that when, as women, we talk about what we have done for women, we are accused of being self-righteous or arrogant or smug or self-serving or braggarts, or whatever.

I don’t care about that.  Those of us who are committed to women, to the survival of female persons on this planet, benefit when we talk together about what we have done out of our common commitment because we inspire one another and other women, because we silence anti-feminists and anti-female persons,  showing them to be liars with anti-woman, anti-female agendas, because as we talk of our love for female persons, it becomes clear to those who don’t know where to start that it’s not so hard, it’s not so complicated, all it amounts to is seeing a woman’s or girl’s need and reaching out to her.

So, what have you women who read here faithfully done for your sisters, female persons, women?  Talk about it here!  Let us affirm you, applaud you, give you the props you deserve for it, listen to you, we want to!  Let this thread stand as an indictment of these short-sighted, disingenuous, dishonest, ignorant accusations on and off the internet.

We have never been about talk without action.  We have always been all action and all talk, both, and the world is a different place for women because of  it.  No matter what we did, it would be wrong, in any event.  If we talk about it, we’re not doing anything because, I guess, it’s not possible to write and talk and act in the space of one lifetime, or one day or month or week or year; if we act, we are faulted for not checking in with the right people, or for not getting someone’s permission,  or for being rash or hasty, or for enabling a woman’s irresponsibility (love that one) or for not having done enough, or for not having helped the right women or girls, or whatever it is that someone wants to use to discourage us from doing what is most important, which is, once again with feeling, supporting and helping a woman, a girl! 

So tell us all about it here.  Once we’ve talked about what we’ve done for females, girls and women, I will make this a  permanent page instead of a post, with a tab at the top, for ready reference, any time somebody decides to accuse us, individually, or corporately, of being all talk and no action. 

Because they lie.  And that is wrong.  And I’ve had enough of THAT.

And yeah, I am feeling a bit on the intense side today.  🙂

Feel free to comment as often as you like as you recall what you have done to help a woman. 




64 thoughts on “What Have You Done For a Girl, a Woman, a Female Person?

  1. I dont do anything careerwise, but i’ve done lots of things here and there, such as taught women to knit, to use the internet, helped them understand their pc; listened to them when they need to talk; supported women i know through their pregnancy and helped them find and understand information they were confused by, even sent them books and sat and watched videos with them; listened to women and provided support on breastfeeding and childbirth issues; listened a lot about problems with mothers and boyfriends and work and told them they arent crazy or alone or paranoid. But I dont have an actual career doing any of it.

    I wanted to point out that all the things on your list, I’ve been that woman and that girl that needed help and support, and most of the time it wasn’t available to me. Thats how I came to radical feminism in the first place. I dont know exactly how to put it but I think it’s probably important to understand that radical feminists aren’t just women who help other women, we’re women who have needed that help ourselves. We’re working towards an understanding and a revolution that means other women won’t have to go through what we did. Sometimes that means taking time out to read and listen and learn and think and work stuff out and heal ourselves if we need to and I don’t think we need to make excuses for doing that.

    As for you Heart, what you do here writing and analysing and making things make sense isn’t just sitting around playing on the net, it’s not a useless endeavour and I think you’ve touched a lot of women with your writing and your honesty.

    Posted by v | July 1, 2007, 6:27 pm
  2. I’ll begin. 🙂
    I have:
    * On at least three occasions, with three different women and their children, helped women flee their male batterers. In two instances the women and their kids lived with me for a while, or off and on, and in one instance, another woman and I put our money together (we were poor) and paid the first month’s rent and deposit on a small house near my house for her, her children and her cats;
    * Given money to women on countless occasions, including when I didn’t have money myself. I got an e-mail from a woman last week thanking me because years ago, when I was very poor and she wrote to me about being in an abusive marriage and having been incested all of her growing up years, I sent her money, when she knew I didn’t have any, together with a letter of compassion and encouragement. This woman said she had never forgotten this, that she had finally divorced her abuser, went back to school, got her master’s, and is now a therapist. The interesting thing is, though I remembered the woman, I didn’t remember having sent her money!
    * Provided women and their children with groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, maternity clothing, children’s clothing, furniture, sewing machines.
    * Obtained a divorce for a woman. I drafted all of the necessary papers, filed them with the court on her behalf, and walked her through the entire divorce process.
    * Organized the first neighborhood organic food co-op in that particular neighborhood, one in which a large number of women participated, and which still exists today.
    * Organized gleaning groups and participated in gleaning (obtaining farmers’ permission to go into their fields after they’d been harvested and harvest and take what remained).
    * Cared for women’s children on innumerable occasions, for an hour, a half a day, days, weeks.
    * Provided respite care for foster parents to disabled children.
    * Created support groups for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, home birthing women, women practicing natural methods of birth control (fertility awareness).
    * Helped countless women to establish organic raised bed vegetable gardens including in tiny spaces.
    * Helped women to actually get their gardens in.
    * Supported women who were ill or disabled by taking them to various doctor’s appointments, to get their medications, or to social service agencies for various reasons.
    * Provided material, practical, emotional and spiritual support to women in and leaving abusive situations.
    * Published the good writings of many girls and women, which inaugurated the freelance writing careers of some;
    * Published advertising and reviews of women’s home businesses for free; some of them still have successful home businesses now, many years later.
    * Stood by women who were being sexually or otherwise harrassed in the workplace.
    * Had the backs of women co-workers.
    * Believed women when they told me they were raped, incested, sexually assaulted, harrassed, objectified, or battered.
    * Offered my home for an endless number of woman-centered meetings and get-togethers.
    * Provided many weeks’ worth, altogether, of meals for post-partum or housebound women and their families;
    * Provided baby clothes and pregnancy support to a large number of women.
    * Attended women’s home births to provide support and care for her other children.
    * Taught women and girls how to garden, can, freeze, dry, and glean fruit and vegetables, how to grow and use herbs in cooking and as medication, how to deal with the pain of labor and childbirth, how to sew, quilt, make soap, herbal products, wine, jam, jelly, and all sorts of gifts, how to raise chickens for eggs and sheep for wool, where to find free wood for their woodstoves, where to find midwives, how to survive without electricity or running water.
    So those are some things.

    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 6:32 pm
  3. Oh, ((Heart!)), Oh ((Heart!))

    I am crying as I read this.

    Yes, I will post.

    I am crying and shaking as I read this.

    I’m here.

    This is the meaning of my life, there is no other.

    I LOVE US !!!!


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | July 1, 2007, 6:40 pm
  4. v.: I dont know exactly how to put it but I think it’s probably important to understand that radical feminists aren’t just women who help other women, we’re women who have needed that help ourselves.

    Yes! Quite often we develop a vision for helping other girls and women because of the way we, ourselves, have been helped. So true.

    And thanks, v!

    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 6:41 pm
  5. Ah, Mary!


    I can’t wait to read!


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 6:44 pm
  6. I have also actually hired a number of women (when I was a magazine publisher, i.e., my secretary/office manager and customer service persons). I have paid women for their articles and columns for my magazine and have acted as a professional reference for them in seeking other jobs.


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 6:47 pm
  7. I try to do what I can by setting an example and presenting new ideas to women.

    It’s a slippery slope when we begin to accuse each other of not doing enough…. that somehow we have to do it or be it in a certain way to look authentic enough.

    My position is that we all do what we can, in the way we can.

    I’d be the last to criticize those who sit at their computers. Perhaps that is all they can do. I celebrate any gift of time, ideas or consciousness-raising for women, helping us see that there is a different way of living and thinking.

    Peace to all,


    Posted by Chani | July 1, 2007, 6:53 pm
  8. Re sitting at computers: I have ALSO been accused, more than once, of not commenting/posting *enough* in certain venues, i.e., if I really wanted to be “part of the community,” or if I really cared, I’d have posted/commented more! Or, I’d have commented or posted other than the times *I* wanted to comment or post. :/ It gets to be just preposterous. Of course, I can also be accused of spending to much time posting wherever I post! It is always a double bind when someone is gunning for us, which many are, including people who identify as progressive.

    And I agree with you, Chani!

    Also: whenever I have a choice as to what to buy/listen to/watch/use, etc., I choose what will benefit women, whether that means buying/listening to women’s music, purchasing women’s books, women’s services, patronizing women’s businesses, going to woman doctors, dentists, attorneys, choosing to work for women, hiring women, and so on.


    Posted by Heart | July 1, 2007, 7:03 pm
  9. Hey, v, I bet you do do certain things career-wise. I bet you believe women on the job. I bet you are kind to women and have their backs. I bet you refuse to side with men as against a woman and refuse to laugh at or tolerate sexism. I bet you stand up for women on the job and try to be a peacemaker when women are at odds.

    I see woman-centered women engaged in this kind of woman-loving all the time; I think they don’t even realize how valuable what they are doing is.


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 7:07 pm
  10. In the last seven years, I have had three women, ages 17-45, taken into my house. None were relatives. It was not easy. But I could not turn away.

    Posted by Kitty Glendower | July 1, 2007, 7:26 pm
  11. Continuing with your thought, v, we’re writing about what we’re living, you know? We’re not writing about what we’re not living. We’re trying to make sense of what we ARE living, and as part of that, we are trying to process all of our interactions with other women. That’s what radical feminism has always been about. I just get this sense that those who say or think that all we do is write have never actually encountered radical feminists/feminism. It’s not about sitting around being talking heads. It’s about day by day processing through what each of us, and all of us, are *living* and doing.


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 7:32 pm
  12. Heart, your list surprised me. Mainly because I blogged elsewhere a few days ago about what I wasn’t doing in my current circumstances. Yet while some of these things can be a sacrifice, others can be small things that make a big difference.

    And yet, at the time I remember that they didn’t seem small. But I think I got so much back from the time I spent with some fo these girls and women that I later forgot the trouble I went to giving them lifts, inviting them over for a few hours, or spending time with them.
    People applauded me at the time, which seemed out of proportion for the little I did, but in other ways you learn that efforts won’t always be rewarded – ‘you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’. What’s important is to keep doing what you can, or what you’re allowed to do.

    I had the opportunity to help women and girls through church – both through ‘callings’ (which dont count because there’s a culture of ‘you can’t refuse a calling’) and from learning where mothers needed help, and doing it.
    There’s a lot of need out there.

    Posted by Sophie | July 1, 2007, 8:14 pm
  13. *Teach special needs girls how to ride horses. (Horse Power) winkwink.
    *Provide a safe environment for girls and women to explore themselves.
    *Help them with bonding and task accomplishments.
    *Encourage girls and women to work with their hands, pick up a tool and tackle repair or building what they need.
    *Tell girls and women, “You Can Do It” every chance I get.
    *Buy and distribute school supplies for girls in need.
    *Stop and intervene when I see a male harming, abusing or being otherwise violent against a woman or child.
    *Tell males, “No” and ‘Stop” when they are being aggressive. They need to hear these words often.
    *Helped start two Women’s Centers (before males and churches discovered them to be useful manipulation places) , which became the first shelters/safe space/rape assist centers in their area.
    *Assisted in the assembly and distribution of grassroots self-help info to local women.
    *Paved a path for women in construction.
    *Worked to successfully have porn and degrading material removed from jobsites and workplaces, before there were laws against it.
    *Listen to rape victims and help them navigate the (man’s) system.
    *Been an example of ‘You Can Do It’, showing women and girls that nothing is out of their reach, even ‘men’s’ work.
    *Taught girls and women wilderness survival skills.
    *Created environments where women and girls could safely explore their leadership skills.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | July 1, 2007, 8:25 pm
  14. I am loving this!

    Sophie, so true that it doesn’t occur to us, quite often, that we are actually helping and serving women in all sorts of ways. I think there are many reasons for this, one of which is, we learn so early to be nurturers that we care for one another without even thinking about it in ways men almost never do (and if they do, they sure do think about it and talk about it and wear themselves out congratulating themselves for it.)

    Another thing I did is, (back to what we’ve done :)), I filed a lawsuit against eight organizations on the Religious Right when they came together to excommunicate me and put me out of business for divorcing my abusive ex. I won that lawsuit which sent a message to the RR that if they do this kind of thing, they can get sued for it, religion is not going to protect them.


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 8:41 pm
  15. I have also protected women by not revealing their whereabouts to anyone when they were fleeing abusive fathers or husbands. This is the kind of secret I can, and will, take to my grave.


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 8:43 pm
  16. Argh. I just attempted to unspam some comments that ended up in the spam queue and accidentally DELETED everything in there! Almost 4,000 spams!
    So if you commented here and it hasn’t shown up, I’m sorry and I hope you saved it! :/

    I am working on purging my spam filter so not so much stuff goes into the spam queue. Some of you, like poor Branjor, almost always go into the spam queue, and I think it has to do with your IP address. I have had certain ranges of IP addresses blacklisted but some of you who shouldn’t be blacklisted have IP addresses which, at least sometimes, are in those ranges. 😦

    Anyway, sorry for the diversion and sorrier if I deleted your comment!


    Posted by womensspace | July 1, 2007, 8:50 pm
  17. I interject myself a lot. All the time, actually. And I got a loud mouth, too. 🙂


    The other day, some customer in a store was preaching at the heavily-tattooed checkout clerk about how “women look naturally beautiful and shouldn’t have tattoos”–on and on and on he went. He was very loud, drawing attention, and obviously trying to make her feel ashamed; he was maybe 50 and she was maybe 20, and she just looked sort of trapped. I just leaned in (I was next in line, and he was taking too long) and said to her (also loudly) “Hon, women do not exist for men’s benefit. So, it really doesn’t matter what this man says.” She just BEAMED at me.

    He said, annoyed, “Well, I was just giving my opinion” and I said “Did she ask you?” And I looked at her: “Did he ask you if you wanted to hear his opinion?” She shook her head: “Nope!” And he grumbled, halfway apologized–“I guess I’m just old-school”–got his bags and left.

    I told her “Old school, more like ASSHOLE” and she just loved it.

    I do that stuff a lot. I make fun of men’s arrogance and/or obnoxious behavior at every possible opportunity, and they give me plenty. But I also want to educate the young women who look confused (like this one did) about what is really being said, and why this man felt he had the right to lecture her about her appearance. Teaching opportunity and a chance to take down an asshole= who can resist? 😛

    Posted by Daisy | July 1, 2007, 9:18 pm
  18. *Opened my home to a woman in transition from an abusive environment, helped her secure employment and watched her begin to find laughter again. (Thanks Sonja Johnson, for the reminder to laugh.)
    *Give marigold plants to the little girl next door every year, so that she can learn to take care of plants, her plants, grow things and have a plant of her own.
    *Provide pens and paper to girls and women, sit with them and create stories, encouraging imagination.
    *Marched in Take Back The Night marches, when it was female only, making our undiluted statement of, again telling those born male to ‘Stop’ and ‘No.’
    *Taught several women and children how to change a tire, check for fluids in their vehicle.
    *Bought books for girls and women, books that had strong, pro-female stories.
    *Networked woman-owned businesses, helping women to navigate the submittal procedures.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | July 1, 2007, 9:30 pm
  19. “I just get this sense that those who say or think that all we do is write have never actually encountered radical feminists/feminism. It’s not about sitting around being talking heads. It’s about day by day processing through what each of us, and all of us, are *living* and doing.”

    Yes, definitely. And we take hits for standing up now so that other women won’t have to in the future. Thats what gives me strength or I couldn’t do it, but I think of my daughter and I think I could stand anything if it will make her life better.

    Posted by v | July 1, 2007, 10:05 pm
  20. For the past 5 years, I walked with my mother through 3 bouts of ovarian cancer and tried to be supportive and encouraging with her and fought doctors and even hospice people to let her handle her death as suited her, not the way they thought she should die.

    Now, I’m offering what support I can to my supervisor, who was very kind to me during Mom’s illness, and whose husband has just been diagnosed with metasized kidney cancer. I have loaned her Mom’s wheelchair and since she’s going to the same cancer center, I’m giving her my take on things, and giving her space to vent and grieve.

    I have worked and am still working to strengthen and support my aunt and give her the tools to say ‘no’ and to not be bullied.

    I have spoken out in defense of women in such situations as the Duke LaCrosse rape and the disappearance of Natalee in Aruba. I have stated, repeatedly, that I believe the woman was raped.

    Posted by Miranda | July 2, 2007, 1:31 am
  21. Sigh. As an inner-city high school teacher, I am overwhelmed by how much need there is and how little I can really fix. Nevertheless, I do think I’ve helped women:

    *I have held sobbing, abused girls in my arms, murmuring comfort until they could stand, dry their eyes and face the world again.
    *I’ve looked into their eyes and said that it’s not their fault, they didn’t deserve it, and no one has the right to hurt them. They heard me, and it think it gave them strength.
    *I’ve helped girls find counselors and social workers, giving them the chance to talk about all kinds of abusive situations.
    *I’ve offered refuge and given money to help women in dire circumstances.
    *I’ve supported female coworkers who have been sexually harassed and verbally abused.

    I must say that I am so devastated at the widespread abuse of women and girls in my city and the lack of resources to fix or change anything that I have a hard time feeling very good about my efforts.

    Change will come when women stop sniping at each other and unite.

    Posted by roamaround | July 2, 2007, 2:51 am
  22. *Paid for groceries a few times for a divorced friend with a young child. She’s moved on, and I’ve lost contact with her.

    *Pay for the woman down the road (divorced with a son) to feed my horses when I’m out of town. She’d do it for free, but I’ve told her, “When you make as much as I do, then you can do it for free.”

    *I’ve talked to a number of sixth- and seventh-grade girls about the fact that they don’t “have” to get married; they can get an education, do whatever they want, then marry for love instead of financial support, if they choose. I hope a few have paid attention…

    *In mixed groups (I’m a speech therapist), I do NOT let the little boys talk over the little girls. “She was talking first; wait your turn.” It’s amazing how often it happens — and these kids are only six! Some of it is childish enthusiasm — but the girls don’t interrupt the boys nearly as frequently; I’d estimate only 20-25%.

    *An acquaintance was facing a new job, and complaining that she’d “have” to wear makeup, which she didn’t like. I finally got her to realize that the boss probably wouldn’t care, and it could be her choice.

    *Try to set up my older groups to be single-sex, so the girls have a safe space to talk if things come up. (Not always possible, but it’s a large factor when I make my schedule each year.)

    *Slept over at a coworker’s house for a week while her husband was out of town, because she was afraid to be alone in the house.

    *Have sent money to several internet friends when I knew their finances were extremely tight.

    *Have made several donations to Planned Parenthood, and to organizations that help fund abortions for women who don’t have enough money.

    Posted by StarWatcher | July 2, 2007, 3:49 am
  23. Volunteered for a Women’s organisation that has provided a telephone service to women for 21 years. This work was great, I got a chance to try a lot of different things, the most rewarding was hosting a forum (in real life) with young women in high school introducing them to feminism.

    In my personal life I have helped a friend escape a situation of domestic violence, and helped my parents care for my siblings, particularly one of my sister’s after our mother left us.

    Written/published articles for women concerning their health and experiences of reproduction. Have also lectured and spoken publicly/formally about women, reproduction, health and radical feminism.

    Tutored in a number of university subjects exposing young women and men to radical feminism (regardless of whether that content was included in the course :D).

    And I’m only 24 *she boasts* much more to come…

    Posted by Sazz | July 2, 2007, 7:48 am
  24. Not enough. I blog a lot, mainly because it’s the best return in terms of energy input right now (I have to rest around 22 hours a day because of CFS). So I do what I can from here, including blogging, starting and maintaining a network with many woman-established small businesses, starting and running my local freecycle (helping to transfer goods to local single mothers and others in need), being always “here” at the end of a chat window or phone for women friends having family/child crises.

    Before I got sick, I worked in general practice with special interests in adolescent and women’s health especially sexual health, playing my small part in offering reproductive choice and supporting women in crisis. I’ve also experienced being a lone voice refusing to cave to Catholic hospital oppression of women (all that got me was a lost job, but but I can only hope that awareness was raised). And I try to call male friends out when they’re being patriarchal arses.

    Posted by lauredhel | July 2, 2007, 11:05 am
  25. Oh yes – I don’t know if this counts strictly as a response to your question, but I’m also trying to raise my son to understand, believe and advocate for the notion that girls & women are people. Which involves everything from re-gendering stories on the fly, to calling him out when he starts in with imitating the schoolyard masculinity of his elders.

    Posted by lauredhel | July 2, 2007, 12:58 pm
  26. *At a corporate dinner, a male businessman thought it was funny to hire an escort to attend the dinner and then proceeded to degrade her in front of the other men. I told them to ‘Stop’. I refused to allow her degradation to continue and it did stop.
    *Hired women.
    *Believed women and girls when they spoke their truths.
    *Loaned camera and video equipment to women and girls so that they could produce documentaries and art.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | July 2, 2007, 2:19 pm
  27. Setting aside my many published articles and supporting the community at genderberg for this post though I write better than I do pretty much anything else and almost always write for women’s rights in one way or another:

    *First, this weekend I attended a blessingway for a pregnant friend, pampering her, honoring her, and promising to bring her food from my garden when the baby comes.

    *I co-founded and for two years led a sexual health activist group that met twice a month over three years to coordinate actions like condom-handouts at clubs, World AIDS Day burma shaves on a bridge, letter-writing and flash mobbing the state’s only daily paper for refusing condom ads, gathering money for a young woman’s abortion, etc.

    *I am a war tax resister and for several years I have refused to pay the federal government what I owed in April. Instead, I donate the money to local women’s nonprofits and write the government a letter explaining why I reject their illegal, immoral warmaking. The government sends me threatening letters saying what I’m doing is illegal and they’re going to whoop my ass but I stand firm. Money matters, how you get it and where you spend it are essential feminist concerns.

    *I helped a woman leave her abusive husband and bought her groceries and did mounds of laundry with her. At the time she thanked me for being there because if I wasn’t she would probably have returned to survival prostitution.

    *A friend from high school drove several hundred miles to where I was going to college because she needed an abortion at 5 months and had to hide it from her family. I knew some people in the college’s teaching hospital and convinced one woman to do it ASAP and waive her doctor’s fee because my friend was poor.

    *Politically active friends and an employee from the local women’s crisis line have given me contact information for several prostituted women who went to them for help getting out of prostitution. I have no organization, little money, and no training as a social worker but I helped them as best as inadequate me could even if that just meant letting them spill their pain on me over the phone just so they could know someone cared.

    *Like many of you, I have donated money upon getting the call from my sisters that an individual among us was in need.

    *I took a 2-inch slash to my cheek that left a small scar on my chin for putting me and my bike between a pregnant woman and an angry bully on public transportation.

    *For a time I was regularly mailing across country some of my legal medical marijuana so an older woman with debilitating arthritis could use it for pain management.

    *I took a day off work to care for and comfort a woman who’s beloved pet of 14 years died.

    *I opened my home to a lesbian friend and former housemate when her girlfriend of 11 years dumped her cruelly and she couldn’t stand being surrounded by the people in their social groups who were taking sides if they knew and asking, “Where’s X?” if they didn’t know.

    *By opening my mouth about injustice around me often, I have in turn often been chased down streets and hallways by grateful women saying, “Miss, wait! I want to thank you for saying what I wanted to say but lacked the words/courage.” Sometimes women quietly mouth a “thank you” to me as I’m walking by. What that meant for each woman is known only to them, but I count that as inspiring women to speak up more by supplying a living example.

    There are many more moments from Life O’ Sam I’d recount if they weren’t more illegal that what I’ve already written here. I’m nonviolent, but I also do not consider property damage violence per se. With that in mind, the last pro-woman action I’d like to share for now is that I ride my bike through sex biz parking lots and write in marker on the passenger side doors of cars “I paid for sex June 2” so the wives and girlfriends of these men might learn how their male partners are squandering the family’s finances and the woman’s trust.

    Posted by Sam | July 2, 2007, 8:24 pm
  28. ***the notion that girls & women are people.***

    That’s not a “notion”, that’s a fact and I won’t have anyone claim otherwise.

    I’ve tried to help a woman who was older than me, mentally ill, battered and terrorized by her husband, who also divorced her and tried to take everything away from her, and who faced poverty after the divorce because she had always been a stay-at-home wife and mother and did not have the skills or experience she needed for the job market by offering her my friendship, my shoulder to cry on, as much advice and guiding to resources as I knew how to give, and my home when she needed a place to stay. Unfortunately, I was not able to help her financially.

    After she managed to buy herself a little trailer home with some money she got from the divorce, the sob broke into it while she was out and killed her little dog, who had also been abused before someone gave her to my friend and who was finding out for the first time what it meant to be loved by a person. (crying)

    Posted by Branjor | July 2, 2007, 9:26 pm
  29. Yup. This is what women do. This is what holds the world together. The most rewarding thing that I’ve done for women is help them with breastfeeding their babies. Aside from nursing my own babies, that’s been the best.

    Posted by stacy | July 2, 2007, 10:49 pm
  30. Sam said:

    “By opening my mouth about injustice around me often, I have in turn often been chased down streets and hallways by grateful women saying, “Miss, wait! I want to thank you for saying what I wanted to say but lacked the words/courage.” Sometimes women quietly mouth a “thank you” to me as I’m walking by.”

    That’s happened to me too! Women have come up and told me they appreciated my speaking up about something. It does make a difference.

    Branjor, so sorry about what you’ve been through. Helping others can take an enormous emotional toll. Take care of yourself.

    I love this thread and I love all of you!!

    Posted by roamaround | July 2, 2007, 11:45 pm
  31. What a fabulous idea!

    Here’s my story about one particular woman I helped (I’ll call her Sarah) who to this day remains an inspiration to me:

    (*Warning* – may be triggering)

    I met her when she was just 19. The local hospital had contacted me concerned that her story of self-harming (she had severe genital injuries) had in fact been inflicted by someone else (I was working in a refuge (shelter) then).

    I spoke to her for over two hours during which time she sat with her head bowed and only communicated with me via shrugs, nods and shakes of her head. I tried to reassure her that it was OK, no-one would judge her and that I could provide her with a safe place to stay if she wanted but she gave little away. I gave her my number and told her to call me day or night, if she needed help.

    Later that night she called me sobbing and well after an hour of simply reassuring and soothing, she eventually blurted out one word ‘rape’ and hung up on me. This was in the days before caller identification and I didn’t have a number to call her back.

    Two days later she called into the drop-in session that I ran and although she said very little and left early to collect her 3 year old from nursery, I was glad that she had made contact again.

    Three days later the hospital called. She had taken an overdose and at the last minute, called an ambulance. They pumped her stomach, examined her and removed pieces of broken glass from her vagina and sent her for a bath. An alert nurse caught her two minutes later attempting to drown herself. Three of them dragged her out of the bath, sent for a doctor to issue a sectioning order and called me.

    I turned up and spent the night having inconsequential small talk and every time I steered the conversation towards her injuries she withdrew, seeming to grow smaller and once again hung her head, refusing to talk, hiding behind her hair.

    At about 4am she went to the toilet, leaving me in the visitors room. She took her handbag with her and I felt sad that she trusted me so little she couldn’t leave me alone with her bag for 2 minutes. Twenty seconds latter the penny dropped and I ran to the nurses’s station. She expertly undid the lock on the cubicle door and we found Sarah sitting in the corner surrounded by clumps of her hair which she had just chopped off, futilely hacking at her wrists with a pair of nail scissors. She curled up in a ball and sobbed and sobbed. A few hours later she was transferred to the psychiatric unit for her own safety and I went home troubled by my inability to reach her.

    Over the next few weeks she told me she had been raped more than once but refused to identify the perpetrator. She lived alone with her child, there seemed to be no boyfriend – I couldn’t make sense of it.

    Her parents made contact with me, a mixture of worry, anger and guilt. They told me how Sarah had been ‘trouble’ since she was young; always being suspended from school for fighting or truancy , two abortions before 14 and finally a child at 15. They sounded desperate and at the end of their tether although resentful at being able to get no information out of me as I had made a solemn promise to Sarah to keep confidential anything she shared (which at this point was pitifully little).

    Over the next year Sarah attempted suicide six more times and self-harmed innumerable times. Night times were the worse when she sat alone in her house, driving herself mad with her memories; unable to take any action to heal herself.

    Bizarre though it sounds, it wasn’t without funny moments. During one 28 day psychiatric section (automatic for those who attempt suicide), Sarah tried to escape every day and couldn’t work out why, despite careful planning, she always got caught before getting out of the building until one nurse took pity on her and pointed out the arrangements of mirrors allowing the staff to see down the corridors even when sat in their office. One time however, she did escape and as luck would have it, made it across the car park just as a bus arrived. She leapt on and went to the local shopping centre, headed for the nearest pub and downed two double whiskeys. Heading for the cash point the alcohol set to work interacting with the tranquillisers the psychiatric unit had put her on.

    She collapsed and woke up back in the A&E (ER) Department of the hospital from which she had made her escape with a nurse gently slapping her face to bring her round.

    ‘Where do you live?’ asked the nurse

    ‘The psyche unit’ she wailed!

    Over the first year I knew her, Sarah was constantly frightened and told me her past in bits and pieces, many of which seemed contradictory.

    I learned she saw her parents as controlling and tried to tell them as little as possible although she relied heavily on them for help with childcare and financial support.

    I learned that her child’s father was rarely around so my suspicions of him as the rapist lessened.

    I learned there had been a recent boyfriend who was no longer around; he was my primary suspect for a time.

    I even, for a while, wondered if Sarah was indeed harming in this terrible fashion and that there was no rapist.

    She seemed tortured – often ringing me incoherent, drunk and sobbing in the middle of the night, yet fine and calm when I saw her the following day.

    Sometimes in my (several times a day) conversations with Sarah she seemed to be making progress; at others she seemed to be slipping away from me. Free-falling into a bottomless pit of depression and feelings of worthlessness. Sometimes she would forget that she had told me something and tell me a different version.

    I wondered if I was out of my depth – dealing with a serious mental illness – even a pathological liar.

    Her parents sporadically contacted me trying to elicit information. I became unsure about the wisdom of maintaining the promise of confidentiality although I did. (My commitment received a boost when her mother visited Sarah in hospital and caused such a furore that she was seized by security staff and sedated!)

    Then one night (about 11 months after I met her) there was a breakthrough in that Sarah told me the rapist was her older (by five years) brother. She came over specifically to tell me this but it still took over four hours for her to get the words out. I believed her although there were still some nagging inconsistencies. I felt unable to seek clarification, unsure how to ask in a way that wouldn’t leave her feeling that I had proved unworthy of her trust and was doubting her.

    Eventually, over 18 months after I met her, it emerged that Sarah (and her brother and at least five other children) were the victims of a paedophile ring which involved both her parents, a senior local police officer and several other local ‘dignitaries’. Sarah cannot remember how old she was when it started but knows it was definitely already happening when she was two. Every time she tried to break away, the futility of telling would be pointed out (after all, a police officer, a local solicitor and a social worker formed part of the ring) and if she persisted, her ‘punishment’ was the broken glass.

    I am sad to say that these are only the briefest of details – there was much much more of the kind that established a belief in me of the existence of pure evil.

    One of the creative ways Sarah had developed to cope was to ‘split’ herself into different personalities. These were quite distinct and separate. (Dangerously so – it took several years of intense therapy to ‘merge’ all the ‘characters’ into one coherent personality). One of them would tell me something whilst another would believe I didn’t know this- some of the ‘personalities’ didn’t know about the abuse – in fact the other ‘personalities’ had been created precisely for this purpose. Hence the inconsistencies, the ‘forgetting’ – not lies – extreme survival strategies.

    Sarah did eventually break away from her family and the other abusers but it was a long hard journey with many stumbles along the way.

    I think of her as one of the most courageous women I have ever had the privilege to know and in the end – she helped me as much as I helped her. I learned so much from her that has helped me ever since in the work that I do with abused women.

    Some years later, Sarah went back to college and trained as a social worker. She is now a Senior Child Protection Officer.

    Posted by Spicy | July 3, 2007, 7:58 am
  32. I am up at this ungodly hour all misty-eyed reading your comments because two of my kids just got in from having visited their sisters/brothers in California. Argh.

    But while I’m here 🙂

    I am responsible for the creation, nurturing, protection, and maintenance of many women’s spaces, in real life and online. I created a women’s magazine with my bare hands, basically, beginning with 17 readers and having an approximate total readership of 30-50,000 at its peak, depending on how you count things like that. I grew it, without advertising or a business plan, on a shoestring budget, mostly advertised by word of mouth. If women couldn’t afford it, I gave them free subscriptions.

    I think I’m going to post a list of my published articles, Sam! Or, the ones I am proud of, anyway. 🙂 I’ve got some great articles going back to my old world, which anyone would enjoy reading (and which are the evidence of how wrong it was for anyone to put me out of business).

    Such amazing comments in here!

    Branjor: {{{}}}


    Posted by womensspace | July 3, 2007, 9:55 am
  33. ***the notion that girls & women are people.***

    That’s not a “notion”, that’s a fact and I won’t have anyone claim otherwise.

    “Notion” has two meanings; one is the “perception/belief” one, and the other is “understanding/knowledge”. As I use this quote, the latter meaning is intended.

    Posted by lauredhel | July 3, 2007, 10:06 am
  34. Hi, Lauredhel, I looked it up in my Revised and Updated Oxford dictionary and “notion” has these definitions:
    1a) a concept or idea (It was an absurd notion)
    b) an opinion (has the notion that people are honest)
    c) a vague view or understanding (have no notion what you mean)
    2) an inclination or intention (has no notion of conforming)
    3) (in pl) small, useful articles
    It really seems that “notion” is not a good word at all to describe the “idea” (that is, the reality) that girls and women are people.

    In another matter, I realized just after posting above that I had used anti-woman language in the post. The term “sob” only insults a man’s mother, not the man. I just used the nastiest term that came immediately to mind to describe him, totally forgetting that the nastiest terms always apply to women, not men. I am appalled and I apologize to everybody here, especially Heart.

    Posted by Branjor | July 3, 2007, 5:39 pm
  35. Fabulous Idea Heart!

    here’s my list so far…
    What have I done for women.

    I have taken women into my home who had no where else to go.
    I’ve nursed women friends back to health after abortions.
    I’ve taught self defense to women and girls, for free.
    I’ve turned over names of rapists to the police at great personal cost to myself.
    I’ve turned in family members who hurt girls and women, and would do it again.
    I’ve snuck food into the nap sack of a homeless woman while she slept on the sidewalk.
    I’ve volunteered in the DTES to spend time with, talk to and comfort young sex workers.
    I’ve helped several women develop their resumes and learn how to find satisfying work.
    I’ve hired a number of sex workers workers through PACE’s employment program. (
    I’ve tutored ESL female students from Korea so they could reach their goals of becoming journalists and raise their voices to the world.

    I write obsessively about the topics of societal violence against women, and share my own stories of survival and healing in the hopes someone, somewhere male or female will benefit.

    Really all I’m doing is following my own inner guidance system about how to live my life. And as far as I am aware, that is the basis of feminism isn’t it? To ensure women’s rights to forge a fulfilling life as we see fit? To follow their bliss, to add our hand print to the cultural fabric of the societies we live in.

    Thanks Heart this was a great exercise, and very much needed to de-construct the myth we are lazy women bloggers and whiners.


    Posted by hazel8500 | July 3, 2007, 5:39 pm
  36. PS I for one would really enjoy reading some of your published articles.
    Heart you are an inspiration.

    Posted by hazel8500 | July 3, 2007, 5:41 pm
  37. Dear Spicy,
    Though yes it was triggering–it was triggering in a good way–thank you So much for adding this…because it happens So much more than what people want to believe and yes it Often is Both Parents–its not just always fathers…
    and the rings, the ritual abuses Do exist and they are the hardest to break up/prosecute–because yea there are those in power that are either in on it or are friends of the parents…
    I know what it is to beg for help and to have ‘authorities’, teachers, juv officer [i hate him–long story], church people,
    school counselors, even counselors, not listen to you OR to have a controlling parent who is Very good at turning it all on you [and my biomom was The expert at this]
    and the sad thing is these cases are increasing more and more–and not only are they increasing–they are becoming more ‘accepted’ in society because of the whole damn ‘consent’ crap the prosex pedaphiles are throwing out [and legislating even–incest being legal in UK–yea they are pushing for that and consent in Holland–Nambia wants to take it down to age 8]
    and its rampant in the states too–and it infuriates me how much the voices of survivors are deliberately shut down, deliberately…
    Canada is seeing it and actually starting to address it, Australia is seeing it–the US–
    might as well be living under a rock.
    Tell Sarah–if you see her-
    Thank you, and thank you for posting this–while it triggers pain–[and my situ was different as there wasn’t a ring but i can so relate to the not being believed and i still run into the ‘oh that just can’t be’ crap–but thank you for giving those of us hope–because the battle is not over there,
    not in the slightest-there is ONE, ONE online support email group–and the members are growing every week–and the consencus is the same–there is so little help-for those of us survivors who don’t ‘fit the mold’ so to speak,
    so we deal with it the best we can.

    Posted by Tasha | July 3, 2007, 5:54 pm
  38. This is a wonderful, wonderful thread, which makes me teary-eyed! Thank you all so much!

    My contributions…
    Much of what I do is focused on children/girls, such as the following:

    * I’ve babysat/nannied for over 160 children for the past 16 years, and have worked with close to 1000 children total (estimate), of various ages, but especially the 0-5 crowd – what better way to “go to the root”? If we all raised all the world’s children to be loving, peaceful, just, and compassionate, they’d grow up to be loving, peaceful, just, and compassionate adults and white supremacist capitalist patriarchy would cease to exist. Idealistic to the extreme, yes, but I follow those ideals nonetheless – like stars in the night sky, you may not ever reach them, but they can guide you nonetheless.
    I teach/encourage nonviolence and cooperative play, challenge gender stereotypes, challenge sexism found in the classroom, etc. In preschools/daycares, I especially focus on empowering the young girls, encouraging them to use their voices and be assertive. I’ll never forget that moment when one 2-yr-old girl, who for the longest time merely sobbed when another child hit/pushed her, one day responded to a boy hitting her by staring him down and bellowing, “STOP! DON’T TOUCH MY BODY!” I also gave the boy who frequently hit lots of attention, affection, and encouragement to be gentle and kind, but NOT immediately after he hit someone. (Maybe it’s just me, but it drives me nuts when preschool teachers immediately bring the hitter over to the hittee to offer help, “practice gentle touch,” etc., when usually the hittee just wants to be left the hell ALONE for a bit. It doesn’t seem fair to me that the hittees are expected to be guinea pigs for the hitters to practice their social skills on.)
    I also spent an intense 9 months working with a violent 4-yr-old boy, engaging in hours and hours of dramatic play to help him develop empathy, critical thinking skills, and nonviolent conflict resolution. When I met him, he ran around decapitating invisible bad guys, and when I left him, he had Batman and the Joker sitting down to pancake breakfasts and saying “Please pass the syrup.” 😉

    * When I’m out in public, I help moms whenever I can – I help carry baby gear when I see a lone mom looking for help, I pick up dropped teething toys, offer supportive smiles and friendly words, hold doors, play peek-a-boo with cranky babies in long lines, etc.
    Once on a long flight, I was serendipitously seated near a grandmother traveling alone with her toddler grandson. I shared my toys with him when he was crying (I frequently fly with a little stuffed animal in my carry-on, for that very reason), and talked with his grandmother, asking if the airline staff had been very helpful to her – which they hadn’t been. I stayed with them once we got off the plane, and helped her carry stuff all the way to their connecting flight, talking all the while about how the world should be more child-friendly. She was visibly touched, and surprised – I was only 21 or so at the time.

    * I’ve co-created and co-facilitated empowerment groups for girls in low-income housing communities, a mother-daughter bonding event, a mentoring workshop, and workshops on children’s rights and feminism and media literacy. Some of the girls’ enthusiasm for our times together literally made me teary – experiencing girl-only space for the first time made them absolutely burst with joy. One 10-yr-old girl beamed up at the sky, yelling, “I NEVER WANT THIS DAY TO END!”

    * I’ve mentored teen babysitters online, answering their questions and giving advice, and once convinced one such babysitter, who had discovered the mom’s boyfriend was molesting the little girl, to TELL THE GIRL’S MOM (babysitter was initially too afraid to), which she did, and the boyfriend was kicked out and arrested.

    * I made my younger sister a kit to celebrate her first menstruation (herbs, cloth pads, a journal, red-beaded necklace, red crystals, a book, etc), and included a letter that I wrote about my experiences of menstruation, with an offer to talk about anything, anytime.

    * I’ve sponsored a girl in Pakistan for 7 years now, through Childreach/PLAN, and for a few years, sponsored 3 other girls – one in Albania, one in Indonesia, one in Egypt.

    * I give the girls in my life feminist (or at least non-sexist) gifts on the holidays – Pippi Longstocking books (and others), New Moon magazine, science stuff, etc.

    * Babysitting/nannying is my main (sometimes only) source of income, but I babysat for half my usual rate for a few months when a single mom I know (who works full time) had a family emergency and was in dire need of childcare

    * I mentored a 15-year-old girl at my UU church

    * While working as a home visitor with an Early Intervention agency, my supervisors sometimes instructed me to detatch from the mothers a bit/focus more on direct interactions with the child(ren), but I ignored it and went with the mothers’ lead, as that was my priority. Mothers know their own children/family/needs best, and thus, I considered *them* my “bosses.”

    Posted by Britta | July 4, 2007, 3:26 am
  39. Britta: I totally hear you. I work as a nanny, babysitter and casual child care worker too and I do many of the things that you do too!! Thanks for giving me some new ideas.

    I am humbled by the many brilliant women here.

    As a radical feminist I have:

    *Supported my mother through domestic violence from my father. This involved shouldering her emotional baggage from around the age of 12.

    *Continued to support my mother through depression, self-hatred and alcohol abuse which started when her seventh child was born.

    *Defended my mother from my father’s verbal and emotional abuse.

    *Held my sisters as we huddled together terrified as my father abused my mother.

    *Took over the upkeep of my youngest sister when my mother could no longer cope.

    *Supported my mother leaving my father.

    *Stood between my mother and her subsequent boyfriend who was verbally and physically abusive when drunk. (I left when he started hitting me: something I am not proud of)
    Been my mother’s only emotional support from that time on.

    *I give money to every indigenous woman I meet asking for money whether I have the money to spare or not (or not is more often the case).

    *Took off my jacket and handed it to a cold indigenous woman on the street.

    *Believed every word that an indigenous woman has ever said to me about the police (and about everything else as well).

    *Cried with TJ Hickey’s (17 year old indigenous boy killed by the police) grandmother, mother and sisters at every protest that marks the anniversary of his death.

    *Stood beside, marched with and shared a spiritual ceremony with indigenous women (and men) in defense of the Block.

    *I have also attended many other demonstrations against racism. My favourite bag at the moment is a calico bag on which I wrote “Always was, always will be: Aboriginal Land”. I wear it everywhere. Of course indigenous women are most disadvantaged peoples in Australia. They are also the main organisers of activism in the indigenous community. Anything I do to support indigenous rights supports the rights of indigenous women.

    *Joined the Women’s Collective in Uni and helped organise women specific activism eg. Reclaim the Night and International Women’s Day.

    *Go every year to Reclaim the Night and International Women’s Day marches.

    *Participated in an ongoing action that lasted for over two months protesting a sexual objectification pageant hosted by a local bar.

    *Occupied the office of a local newspaper with several other activists to protest an extremely sexist ‘opinion’ piece published by the said paper.

    *Went to every single anti-war demonstration I could possibly get to for two years after the US declared war on Iraq and Australia joined in on the coalition of the killing. One protest I marched with other women behind a ‘rape is used as a weapon of war’ banner.

    *Travelled for 24 hours by bus into the South Australian desert to camp for three nights to demonstrate against refugees being illegally detained by the Australian government. The detention centres held innocent women and children. This protest involved at various times: being surrounded by white men on horse back; being ridden over by white men on horseback; being chased by white men in ‘riot gear’ (armour and long batons) for the crime of singing; having the camp surrounded by white men with machine guns; being under constant surveillance by a helicopter which hovered over us with a spotlight when we went to the toilet at night (the toilet being whatever piece of land we happened to squat over).

    *Went to the WTO protest and the anti-Forbes protest to demonstrate against neoliberal, patriarchal globalisation and its detrimental effect on the world’s women and children. I will be going to protest the APEC summit being hosted in Sydney this year despite being more that a little bit terrified of what I’m hearing in the news about John HoWARd’s ‘security’ measures.

    *I listen, and emotionally support any and every woman through whatever burden they are carrying. Of course I do. I have listened and emotionally supported countless women of different ages, colours and classes through their experiences in relationships, separation, divorce, marriage, child custody cases, motherhood, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, domestic violence, having children with special needs, self-hatred, body-image issues etc, etc. Of course I do. And, yes, I believe every one of them. I refuse absolutely to close my eyes and ears and heart to women.

    *I am out and visible as a feminist. I am out and visible as a lesbian. Both of these are actions which have specific and not so specific benefits for all women under patriarchy. I like to think that I am a living example of a different way of Be-ing. As is each and every other feminist woman. It takes a lot of courage to be an out and proud feminist.

    *Wear my Thursdays in Black t-shirt on Thursdays in sisterhood with other Women in Black groups around the world. Women in Black is a global protest against violence against women.

    *Started a Feminist Collective.

    *I keep the words of women alive and accessible by volunteering at the Women’s Library.

    *Volunteer at a centre for kids with Special Needs

    *I do things like buying coffee which is grown by a large farming community of women in Peru, using ecologically sound methods and in fair-trade conditions.

    *Am conscious and conscientious in all of my consumption choices. Whatever is good for my sister and mother the earth is good for all women and girls in the world. I do not own a car and never will. I do not eat meat. I buy fair-trade and organic. I use as little electricity as possible. etc, etc.

    *I support women musicians by buying their music.

    *I support the Feminist Bookshop by buying books even when I can’t afford them. I’ve made a commitment to trying to buy one book a month.

    *I’m going to the International Feminist Summit in 13 days and counting. Ok, I’m doing that for myself but goodness I struggled to get the money to go.

    In my work with children I:

    *Silence boys in order to listen to girls.

    *Pay attention to how often I give boys the first turn simply because they are louder and more insistent and modify my teaching practices accordingly.

    *Provide a desirable model of womanhood. I climb trees and play rough and get the girls in on the act too. I refuse to let the boys monopolise physical play.

    *Do many many other things to empower girls and create less violent boys: see Britta’s fantastic post.

    Posted by allecto | July 4, 2007, 6:34 am
  40. Tasha –

    I’m so sorry that you have had to struggle to be heard and believed. To validate and affirm other women and children’s reality is sadly a radical act in this world – it infuriates me that so many dismiss feminism and the work of feminists when I *know* that feminists – and radical feminists in particular – have been life and sanity savers for thousands upon thousands of women and children.

    I wish you all the strength and more that you will ever need to complete your own healing journey.


    Posted by Spicy | July 4, 2007, 8:56 am
  41. this is a really great post and thread… i might add some stuff I’ve done as well, reading thru everyone elses comments I can say yeah me too! I’ve done some of the above and a few more things, one of my main reasons for being mostly vegan is so that I am not supporting cruelty against my sister animals, notice its not roosters but hens that are kept in tiny cages their entire lifes to produce factory eggs, its the sows that are kept in crates and the cows (not the bulls) that are injected with hormones and made to give milk every morning. Solidarity with all wimmin! i’ve also emotionally/physically/spiritually and finanically supported and comforted wiimin thru abortions, miscarriages, rapes, separations, stood up and spoken out against sexism, racism, intolerance. Cared for children of single mothers whenever necessary, shared my home with wimmin in need of shelter and nurturing, and their children, for as long as they needed. Burned porn, removed porn from people/mens bedrooms and trashed it, ripped down objectifying posters, defaced public property to remove offensive material, started wimmins groups, supported pregnant wimmin by giving free healthy food, clothing, baby gear, travel, books etc.
    theres probably lots more and loads more I would like to do, in fact u have all given me heaps of brilliant ideas! thanx heart and everyone else on this thread ((((claps)))
    and a link to someone else who is doing something for wimmin Kakariki

    Posted by jo | July 4, 2007, 9:49 am
  42. for some reason the link didn’t work so try here instead…

    Posted by jo | July 4, 2007, 9:52 am
  43. oh yeah! 😉 and I’ve also helped set up (and been a part of) a wimmin only poetry group and organised performance evenings and drumming circles, helped organise a wimmin only art exhibition, organised Reclaim the Night events and marches, and when I was a teenager was a volunteer on the weekends at The Womens Centre (in Christchurch NZ) creche. As well as organising (as part of a collective group Justice for Rape Survivors) protests against a recent Police Gang Rape Case…this is an ongoing project/campaign at the moment. if I think of anything else I’ll post it up..thanx again!

    Posted by jo | July 5, 2007, 1:29 am
  44. Heart, this thread has become my morning cuppa tea reading ritual. A wonderful way to start of the day.

    Posted by hazel8500 | July 5, 2007, 3:20 pm
  45. Isn’t this the BEST thread EVER!! Gives me goosebumps. I finally took the time this morning to read through each post carefully– wow, so inspiring!

    Allecto, I agree completely with you re aboriginal women’s rights and love your bag idea! And Jo, I also agree with you that to work for women’s rights generally invariably results in our feeling compelled to work for the rights of animals and the earth as well. It’s all connected.


    Posted by womensspace | July 5, 2007, 4:22 pm
  46. I have left violence and help others to do the same through my work.

    I have raised 2 sons who respect, honour and care for women and who understand the meaning of the word no and all its variations

    Posted by Dawn | July 6, 2007, 5:57 pm
  47. Dawn,

    Bless you.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | July 6, 2007, 8:55 pm
  48. Adding an itty bitty note of joy to this joyful thread just because I can:

    First, this weekend I attended a blessingway for a pregnant friend, pampering her, honoring her, and promising to bring her food from my garden when the baby comes.

    It’s a girl!

    Posted by Sam | July 12, 2007, 12:14 am
  49. I have taught self-defense to dozens of women over the past 6 years and provided a safe space for women in the male dominated arena of martial arts.

    I have visited several women in their eighties a couple of times a month for the past few years at their retirement community and let them know that I value their friendship and insights.

    I have provided emotional support for two friends divorcing abusive husbands.

    I have provided financial aid to women seeking abortions.

    I have made my emergency credit card available to women for vehicle repairs and paid off the debt myself if they were unable to.

    I have talked one female friend out of committing suicide on two occasions.

    Posted by Lookingglass | July 13, 2007, 1:04 pm
  50. Ah, I haven’t seen these new entries!

    Dawn, go you in raising good sons! Welcome, baby girl, daughter of friend of Sam!

    Go YOU, Lookingglass, what great work. Wow. I especially love the emergency credit card for women for vehicle repairs– for poor women, a dead car is a catastrophe. It can mean they are out on the street in no time flat. 😦

    I love women. I love the things we do for each other.


    Posted by Heart | July 13, 2007, 3:50 pm
  51. I love this thread and I think it’s a fantastically feminist act to share all of these ideas.

    Yesterday, I went for my annual at Planned Parenthood (always a political act for me). During the time I waited, every woman who checked out was on the donation program. So when I left, I made a larger donation than usual. And committed to continue doing so. I love the women over there! Always so good to me.

    Donated to the local abortion clinic. Inform protesters when donating.

    Tried always, as a teacher, to raise awareness of gender dynamics, both in the classroom and socially. Had many of my students tell me that I am a “strong woman,” for my attitude, my life experiences, ethics, behavior, and demands in the classroom.

    Talk back to sexist ideas and statements made by family (great example, I believe, for my nieces).

    Counsel and support girls who are in need.

    Protest porn, war, public abuse.

    Give money, clothing, and network assistance to girls and women.

    Share information to anyone who will listen about feminist concerns/events/news (including info on this blog).

    Name myself as a feminist. Clearly and consistently.

    Posted by Anon. | July 26, 2007, 12:30 pm
  52. I’m a little late on this, having found your blog just today, Heart (you’re also hereby added to my blogroll — thanks for everything you do and write! You’re very inspiring!). Regardless, here’s some of what I’ve done to help women:

    * As a community college instructor, I shaped my curriculum and attendance requirements to better match the real needs of parents in my classes, especially single working mothers. I didn’t have an attendance requirement, per se (students could miss as much class as they deemed necessary, no doctor’s note required, as long as they kept up on the work), and this worked effectively to allow at least two women who were juggling new babies and classes to pass my class and move into the next level. Anytime I met with students outside of class, they were welcome to bring their children along if necessary.

    * Just being a 24-year-old community college instructor who won’t take shit from her (mostly male and over-24) students is a radical feminist statement, if you ask me. Those 28-year-old male community college students have a serious privilege problem as a general rule, which is a little surprising, but not very.

    * This past spring semester, I watched a woman not very much older than I am garner a deep interest in writing and use her newfound interest to work through some of her issues with meth addiction.

    * I worked closely with many, many women — most of whom were single mothers or mothers who were returning to school from the workforce — one-on-one to improve their writing and communication skills, thereby improving their overall self-confidence.

    * I learned that one of my female students this past semester had been raped by her ex-husband (her “child’s father,” as she called him) and I passed along local sex abuse hotline numbers to her.

    * A male student (Iraq vet) in one of my classes was spouting very scary, violent stories about how he shot his computer to his female classmate who was his partner for an activity, and I not only met with her to discuss what happened and make sure she was okay, but I reported his behavior to the dean of student services, leaving a permanent record of the incident in his file. This report initiated a process that will bring more counselors on campus who have experience dealing with war veterans in their return to civilian life.

    * I learned that one of my female students was experiencing sexual harassment from a male classmate in another one of her classes, so I outlined steps she could take to stop the harassment and inform her teacher and other on-campus authority figures of what was happening.

    * Last weekend, I was waiting in line to see a movie, and a group of teenaged boys were acting like privileged jerks without any awareness of the other people (mostly women and girls) around them. So I called them assholes, told them to settle down, and they did. They left. I hope and kind of think I left a somewhat lasting impression on them.

    * I worked with many girls on their reading and math skills as a tutor.

    * I gave my sister Plan B when she needed it, no questions asked. She and I talk regularly about sex, and I always encourage safe sex practices. In our conversations, she has gotten a feel for how I feel about her stupid boyfriends and their stupid privileged behavior, and though right now that’s working to make her hide some of those stupid-boy stories from me, I think eventually she’ll see that she deserves absolutely none of the shit they dish to her and she’ll stop taking it entirely.

    * I talk regularly with my friends about feminism and feminist causes, and I link them to relevant articles, sites, and blogs.

    * I have sex only when and how I want to.

    * I call out patriarchal bullshit when I hear it from my male friends, and if calling it out doesn’t stop it, I stop talking to those people. Depending on the circumstances, I call out patriarchal bullshit when I hear it from my male students, too.

    * I write about feminism in my blog.

    * I donate money to Planned Parenthood when I can.

    * I question the media — movies, TV shows, music, the news, etc. — even when it’s not “nice” to do so.

    One of my failures in the last year as a radical feminist (and as a teacher, really) was when one of my male students said that one of my female students, who is obese, was lazy and unhealthy because of her weight. I didn’t say anything to him. I was too flabbergasted. I should have called him out on his privileged crap, but I didn’t want to embarrass her (she was within earshot of patriarchy-calling-out). I’ve learned a lot about being a feminist in the last year, and about being a feminist in a college classroom and as an authority figure. I will do better the next time — and there will very likely be a next time, unfortunately.

    Thanks again for offering this thread. When I was reading through the comments above this, I kept thinking, “Oh, I haven’t done anything — I’ve just sat around being all theoretical and Ivory-Towery.” But making this list has forced me to think about what I have done — and I have done much more than I thought — to help women and fight the patriarchy. So, thanks.

    Posted by L | August 8, 2007, 5:58 am
  53. I too am late to this party, but Heart, I want to tell you how much I admire what you’re doing here. This is a a great blog and a great forum for feminists. I have so much admiration and empathy for everyone who has commented here, and I would just like to add my own observations. The common thread here is about choice. Each one of us has a choice in how we use our bodies and minds, and if we don’t, then that’s what we’re fighting for. As a matter of daily course I am just as conscious of what I don’t do as what I do: I try not to support people, places or products that are harmful to the things I care about – humans and other animals, and a safe environment to live in. Can I make perfect choices every single day? No, but I can try to make informed choices, and I can keep trying and be as aware of social and political injustices as possible. Does it mean that I miss that summer blockbuster everyone’s raving about and give the money to Planned Parenthood? Yes, especially if missing the same ol’ violence-filled crap that I have no desire to see will help fight against some of the shocking goings-on in Missouri (HB1055) and Ohio (HB287). The personal is political, as the saying goes, and everything we personally do is political.

    Posted by Anastasia B. | August 20, 2007, 2:23 am
  54. What have I done:
    I have hidden a womon and her son from her abusive ex and then allowed myself to be stalked for 3 years (until police finally caught him) in a totally different part of the country rather than reveal their whereabouts.

    I started classes, which I continue to teach, on radical feminist philosophy and radical feminist spirituality.

    I am raising a little boy to know that his mommy and other womyn are independent, thinking people who deserve to live their lives free of harassment from men.

    I have taken in womyn who needed a place to live for a few days, a few weeks, nearly a year one time, until they could stand on their own two feet.

    I have survived rape and molestation and not let the trauma run my life. In return I have been there for those who have been brutalized and helped them learn to trust their inner strength again.

    Posted by Dreamweaver | October 10, 2007, 2:04 pm
  55. Dear All – I find the writings about this theme deeply moving.
    I will try to write how I feel I have help other women. For me, I often help women when I was living in violent chaos. This meant that some of it hard without fear.
    My first major memory was helping my close friend as she attempted to get off heroin. She had abused by her dad. My friend ship with was very important because we both allow ourselves to rage at the injustices that we had experienced. With her, I remember that I could live with laughter.
    One time, we wrecked a sex shop. It was a foolish act because we had no care of safety – and we were drunk. But, it was fun to some damage to a place that had put so terror in our heart.
    My friend died from an overdosed, after her dad found her. But, she is with me as an inspiration. I will always remember with pride and laughter.
    I was a volunter at Women’s Aid. There I listen to the women. I took to lawyers, job centre, doctors and schools. I did research and administration, which made see how common abuse is. This made me angry and gradually move to campaigning.
    I did some research for Rape Crisis and Family Planning Association.
    I discover that there was more to life than living with violence. I left prostitution. I refuse to allow my stepdad in my life. I taught to believe I was not just a thing that is fucked. I got self-respect.
    I became a writer. I write as truthfully as I can hoe my experiences made me. I do performance poetry and write “autobiographical” prose.
    I am a member of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) and Abortion Rights. I give money and volunteer when I can for campaigning children’s charities.
    I still have to live with PTSD from the violence I had to live though, which means I get very tired and depressed. But, I always want to do more.

    Posted by Rebecca | October 10, 2007, 7:16 pm
  56. “I remember that I could live with laughter.
    One time, we wrecked a sex shop.”

    Rebecca if I didn’t love you before I surely do now. How I wish I could employ you and your friend, with inexhaustible bottles of whatever, all around the western hemisphere. I’d see that you both had the best of accommodations, food and *tools.* I’d drive you around personally, drop you off and hang around to hear the maniacal sounds of joyful destruction. Then we’d high-five, and move on. A woman’s work is never done.

    Posted by Sis | October 10, 2007, 11:52 pm
  57. To Sis – Thanks so much for your message. It made me smile a lot. I can feel my friend laughing. It is a wonderful vision to go round drifferent countries destroying sex shops.
    I wish my friend was here, not gone.
    I think of her spirit often. When she was alive, there seemed to to little feminist actions. I wish she was here now, and could see the networks of radical feminists standing up to male violence.
    I just wanted to share some good news . My stepmum has just received an all-clear for stomach cancer. This is after several years of drastic surgery. I feel I have try to support as much as I know how. I am not good at showing vulnerabilty or feeling to my family, But, I have try by little acts of kindnese to show that I care. Because, of pain from other parts of my family, I was not close to my stepmum, for I found it hard to trust. But, this illness has made us closer, and I have help her by caring. She has said to me Help to have hope.

    Posted by Rebecca | October 11, 2007, 2:50 pm
  58. A bit of a tangent, but I wanted to say:
    Taa Daaa!!! Doris Lessing, the 2007 NOBEL for literature.

    Posted by Sis | October 12, 2007, 1:04 am
  59. For two years I worked for Barat House in Detroit Michigan, a residential treatment facility for teen aged girls removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. The program provided therapy, family counseling, life skills education and placement into an environment where they could continue to succeed in their lives. I currently work for Three Springs in Mountain Home Idaho, a residential treatment facility for teen aged male juvenile sex offenders. This treatment program has a 97% success rate of rehabilitating these boys to not re-offend.

    Posted by nike2422 | October 28, 2007, 3:38 pm
  60. I adore you women!!! and I love hearing how we make a difference every day with those who cross our paths.

    I Teach an anatomy and physiology class to teens and tell them about their bodies, their cycles, nutrition, and sex.

    I teach a womans health class at a local domestic abuse shelter each week.

    I am a underground midwife in a hostile anti woman state that helps women birth at home. I encourage women to THINK and DO what they feel is best for them and their babies.

    I help women get their kids out of government schooling and home educate. I provide the legal covering needed in this state.

    I teach my girls to be strong women… i openly talk to them about sex and relationships and when they declared they were lesbian i applauded and let them know its their life and their bodies.

    I teach my boys about the goddess, and make sure they are exposed to lots about women…

    I have given money for a car to a woman who had no way to continue her education without it.

    I have given many hours of listening to women who just needed to be listened to.


    Posted by wintermoongoddess | November 8, 2007, 7:53 pm
  61. From a lone feminist in South Africa, What an inspiration you grrls are! I find in the noise of daily activities I lose clarity on where my focus is. A list always gives a better sense of a thing, something one can look at and say, Gee, how can I make that list longer? So I have posted mine to my blog with the hope that I will remember more things that I have done and will expand it as time passes and I add more things done.

    Posted by fetsiboomsticks | November 26, 2007, 2:51 pm
  62. Well let’s see, how did I miss this great question.

    Who says these things about radical feminists doing nothing?
    Guess they haven’t really talked to any radical feminists lately.

    What have I done for women:

    1. Taught several girls how to play stringed instruments.

    2. Published an international feminist magazine

    3. Organized and coordinated probably over 75 retreats for women in several foreign countries

    4. Coached 47 women over a period of 15 years to earn more money and put down payments on houses. Still working on this project with several other women, to make sure low cost housing is actually owned!

    5. Defended several women from attacking men.

    6. Gave over $350,000 to a wide variety of women’s, lesbian’s and feminist causes in my lifetime.

    7. Campaigned for Barbara Boxer in her very first congressional campaign.

    8. Was the first girl in my high school to take all the shop classes thus paving the way for others.

    9. Helped probably over 1500 women plan for retirement, and get adequate health care, life and disability protection.

    10. Put dozens of girls through college.

    11. Helped dozens of women set up their own businesses.

    12. Bought goddess knows how many feminist books, and supported authors on just about every English speaking continent.

    13. Got several sexist men fired at one time or another.

    14. Lived a feminist life by example so others could see how well this works. All theories got tested out in the real world!

    15. Did caregiving for dozens of disabled women– shopping, medical care, financial help…

    16. Taught immigrant women English, and got many of them jobs at higher than minimum wage.

    17. Saved a few women from suicide.

    18. Officiated at too many funerals for lesbians.

    19. Still going strong after all of this, and still thinking up new ways to fuel the freedom train for women worldwide! Choo Chooo!

    Posted by Satsuma | November 26, 2007, 6:52 pm
  63. Just exploring round other blog pages here…..

    What have I done/do I do?

    Every year I send a parcel of gifts to women I will never meet. I have a good friend who manages a Women’s refuge and the gifts are for the women residing there.
    I do the same at Easter – but it’s always chocolate then, usually eggs.
    I make sure my kids help with that and that anyone I know also knows and is encouraged to do something too. This year I have a couple of friends making stuff to send down.
    I supplied a friend with the potential to start a business when she fled an abusive husband.
    I got a sexist bully fired once.
    I sat in with a friend when she accused a co-worker of sexual harassment. Just sat there, said nothing but the support was enough.
    I include women’s experience in my writing and women drive my books.

    Every year I find more that I can do and I just don’t shut up about it.

    Posted by SharkBait | August 24, 2008, 11:30 am


  1. Pingback: What have you done for her lately? « hazel8500 - July 3, 2007

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