Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dr Huxtable......................I presume?

Whenever I write up a " controversial " post - or one of my " rants " there's always a moment when I hesitate.
Will I offend anyone?
Is my blog the place to write about certain subjects?
Is it a DIY blog?
Is it a furniture makeover over blog?
Is it a humorous blog?
Is it a lifestyle blog?
I don't know - I suppose it's all of the above in general - and none of the above in particular.
But what I do know is that I have a small platform in which to express my thoughts - and this is one time where I don't have any doubts that I need to hit publish.
So here I go..............once again
_________________________________________________________________________________

I'm a child of the 60's and 70's.
And though I go on sometimes about what a wonderful era that was to grow up in - there were parts of that era that were shameful and horrific.
For women in particular
( well more than that, far more than that - but this post is about women and a mindset that was the " norm " )

We have a case going on right now which has taken social media by storm - if you aren't aware of it you can google Jian Ghomeshi.
It " broke " about a month ago.
It's a case about a man with power.
It's a case about abusing that power.
And it's a case that brings to light how far us women have come while not really moving forward at all.

And now we have Dr. Huxtable in the news.

I grew up watching Bill Cosby.
I can remember snippets of I SPY ( I was quite young then ) and I most definitely remember Fat Albert but the show that stands out in my memory the strongest is the The Bill Cosby show.
Talk about family values.  Talk about females being as important as males !

I also grew up in a time when far too many women I knew had been molested.
Unchallengingly molested.
We were our Mother's daughters, to some degree, so a lot of them just accepted that this had been done to them - but we were not our Mother's daughter's in that we spoke about it.  We were a generation that had discovered we had a voice and though it may not have been heard by the masses - it was a voice none the less.
( our Mothers kept these horrible secrets to themselves - swept them under the rug - pretended they didn't happen )

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend

The 70's were a little different in that we were actually talking about female injustices - albeit only amongst friends for the most part but there was, at the very least, healing powers in the ability to speak about atrocities that had occurred.  I remember - as clearly as if it were yesterday - having a party once - and looking around the room and knowing that almost half the women there had been violated against in some manner.
Them's high numbers and sad proof that nothing had really changed.
I also remember arguing with one of my friends that she had " rights "
That she had to DO something............that this couldn't be silenced.
She looked at me with sad eyes and said " My own Mother never believed it Suzan "

Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever going to keep me there again

The 70's.
Ahhh the wonderful beautiful 70's.
When woman were trying desperately to shatter glass ceilings without bras on.
When woman were entering the work force and demanding equal rights.
When woman were finally realizing that we had more worth than a perfectly baked loaf of bread.
When woman were saying - in large numbers - NO - and meaning it.

You can bend but never break me
Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal

The 70's.
Oh the horrible ugly 70's.
When woman were still picking up their boss's clothes from the cleaners or running out to pick up a sandwich for them because they were too busy doing " real " work
Or making the perfect cup of coffee.
When woman were still told they had to wear dresses or skirts and high heels to work
( you have such lovely legs dear - show them - please )
When woman had their asses grabbed or worse, much worse, by bosses they couldn't stand
When indecent proposals were to be considered a compliment by a man who could have you
fired for talking " back "
When the only way we could get into a board room was with a pen and pad and excellent stenography skills.
We were a generation that were constantly knocked down - much like our Mothers
EXCEPT
We kept getting back up and every time we did - we got just a little louder.

And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

It's hard, very hard, to look back on those years with 2014 eyes and understand a woman's thought process from an era when a woman's thought process was considered completely irrelevant.
When judge and juries deemed us " little women "
When we " asked " to be raped because of what we wore or how we looked - or how we spoke
When we were constantly put in our " place " by men who truly believed they were superior beings.
But the one thing I want to - need to - have to - convey here - is that there was a movement on it's way -
A sisterhood if you will - a bond that was growing world wide.
A grass roots movement in fact - tiny at first - but ever growing

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my loving arms across the land

And that movement was screaming - at the top of it's lungs - from mountains and valley's - from roof tops and kitchens - from typing pools to stay at home Mom's
ENOUGH
We held each other's hands
We encouraged cleansing of the souls
We validated our gender and stood up for each other
We were a soft and gentle landing pad for our sisters -
We needed to know we counted - that we had worth in the eyes of a male dominated world but mostly we needed to be believed.

But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go 
Until I make my brother understand

I'm not passing judgement on Mr. Cosby.
He has not been proven guilty in a court of law - and it's not my place ( nor is this the place ) to sentence him.
BUT - you will never - ever - hear me bashing those women.
Because, as a child of the 70's, I never want to think of a woman being shamed into silence again in my life.
I KNOW far too many women that were.

Yes I am wise
But it's wisdom borne of pain
Yes I've paid the price 
But look how much I've gained

I saw too many tears fall down silent cheeks -
I saw too many fall victim to substance abuse because of a lack of self worth incurred by the hand of their abuser.
I saw pain............as raw as it gets - written on faces with indelible ink - that will never in their life times be removed.
I saw lives shattered - irreversibly so - because of doubt.

If I have to, I can face anything 

Chances are today - if you sit in a room filled with women - a good percentage of them still have these stories silently festering inside of them
Chances are they will never speak about them for fear of ridicule or worse - judgement.
Chances are - the ones that will criticise the most will be other women.
And I think, at the end of the day, to be doubted by another woman is possibly the nail in the coffin.

We were not a generation of teachers encouraging truths to be spoken about.
We were not a generation of numbers to call for help
We were not a generation of being offered a safe place to go to.
What we were was a generation of women trying desperately to stop it - collectively.
And in order to do that we had to believe each other.

Are all these women telling the truth?
Who knows.................there are women who invent stories - but as the numbers grow - as the story gains momentum - who are we to say it never happened?
Who are we to call them all liars and gold diggers?
This story has happened to women since time began.

And so my final word on the subject is this.
Please - all you girls and women who are now acting as judge and jury against these women who are speaking out - keep this in mind.

It's a lonely lonely road that they are walking upon - be gentle - help them speak their truths if the truth is what they are trying to speak.
If we can't hold their hands...................if we can't stand beside them................or support them
Please please please let us not be throwing stones.
That road they have stepped out on to is not the Yellow Brick Road................it's a Black and Grey one and it's very dark.
There's no dancing on this road in ruby red slippers - just small steps - so small that they sometimes take 30 years to reach their destination.
That light shining at the end of it?
It's so tiny it's almost invisible.
And every single time a " sister " says they don't believe it diminishes even more.

I am strong

and it's made all the darker when we fail to listen - at the very least - to just listen

I am invincible 

I will never be the weakest link in a chain my generation helped to build.

never

If anyone needs to talk, I am here, please know that I am here.
I can't heal you - I can't make it go away - but I have experience with listening.
Far more than I wish I did.

I am woman

And I am on your side.

Much love,

SONG :
I AM WOMAN
Helen Reddy & Ray Burton





















50 comments:

  1. so beautifully expressed, you touched my heart and my very soul,

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  2. The perfect post...

    Thank you ~

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  3. Very well said.

    I am a child of the 50's and 60's. While growing up we had a minister that was an exhibitionist. He would tell young girls to come to his office. I guess he was satisfied with the shock value. I never heard of him actually touching any of them. I guess he got his thrills watching them run out of the office. This went on for a period of time. The few adults that heard about it thought the girls probably had a crush on him and made it all up. Finally, he did it one time too often. So, the powers that be in the congregation told him he'd have to leave. They let him accept a calling to another church in upstate New York. The other church knew nothing about it. I guess they thought they were lucky to be getting him. I'm assuming he probably did the same thing there. That's how things were handled back then. I knew about it because it happened to one of my friends and one of my sister's friends. When I went home and told my parents they were shocked. They had already heard the same story from my sister about her friend. That's when they started believing that it was true. I know my sister's friend was told by her parents to stay away from him and not tell anyone. That sounds like bad advice, but at the time most people wouldn't have believed her.

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  4. This is a wonderful post, Suzan. As a former counselor who specialized in women's issues I can tell you that it is rare for a woman to claim abuse when it hasn't happened. It is very brave to come forward when there are so many who are ready to condemn and deny that it could possibly have happened. I am saddened by the news about Bill Cosby, but the fact is that someone's TV persona is not who they are in real life. I also lived during the sixties and seventies and know that I do not want my granddaughters to have to ever face that kind of discrimination and powerlessness. It was not a simpler time for women or minorities and we must not ever go back. xo Laura

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  5. Suzan, I wish I had had a copy of this post just three hours ago. While at the antique mall taking in some items, a couple was moving into the booth across from me. The guy had bought a hideous, three hundred pound shelf unit. His wife suggested taking some of the parts off to make it easier to move. He SHOVED her - right in the middle of a crowded store, right in front of me and several other dealers who were helping them. He shoved her and told her he was not about to take any more nonsense from any of us. I was incensed and probably said more than I should have. I wish I could have shouted out this post!

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  6. Always.....and I mean, hit publish. That is incredibly touching, true and thank you for writing it.

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  7. I watched E News today...they were somewhat "sad" about Cosby's "legacy." My thoughts...legacy, my ass. What about the women.

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    1. Amen ........................
      and amen.
      XOXO

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  8. Suzan, you said it so very well. As Joan Tarshish said when asked why she hadn't come forward and call it rape. "I considered "rape" to be done in a dark alley with a knife held to your throat." I'd say many if not most of us have stories that we've hidden for decades. I know I have. Powerful men. They are in every career field, and they take advantage of young women, who have little to gain, but everything to lose.

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  9. You go girl - I am a victim of a violent crime and I could not wait to express my opinions. I stood up at a Victim Witness organization and told my story. I would not keep my mouth shut and have a very hard time seeing men treating, belittling and being cruel to women. If you are doing the crime, then do the time. We have to stick together!!!
    Good for you!
    Hugs my friend.
    Mary

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  10. Simply incredible. Simply incredible,

    You nailed it and you are simply incredible.

    Jane xxxxx

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  11. Good post, Suzan. Yes, so true that women from that era simply would not have spoken out. It's also true that in America today one is guilty until proven innocent. Yes, guilty until proven innocent. And there's usually a political backstory. Therefore, on both sides, I like to wait and weigh the evidence.

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  12. Well, I agree, the more that women bring to light their stories, the harder it is to deny the claims made by those women. I do agree, we cannot be judge and jury in any of these cases, however much the truth seems obvious.
    My sadness lies in the fact that many of these women felt powerless at the time, one stated that he told her to take some pills and she did... He then abused her.
    That was the then, and as you say many women from earlier generations felt very much controlled by men with power, whether it be power brought on by money or simply by gender.
    I hope that the telling of these stories empowers women of today not to feel power-less. I worry about that though ....with our own media revelation regarding Jian. His particular case is so much more "present day". Why are we still facing this terrible issue?

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  13. The Jian Ghomeshi thing freaked me out! I LOVED him on "Q" and listened everyday. I guess you just never know. The image and the man are two different things for sure.

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    1. The scariest thing about the Jian case is how many people in the industry knew about it - OMG - even Jann Arden says everyone knew - unbelievable !
      XOXO

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    2. I didn't know that! So gross!

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  14. Bravo, Suzan! I'm so glad you posted your thoughts and feelings on this subject.
    It's silence that is the enemy...never be silenced!
    This is a beautiful post written from your heart and I'm quite sure that many a wounded or broken spirit heard you today and now has the wings to fly from her dark place.
    Love you. xoxo, T.

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  15. Good for you, Suzan! This is something that should be talked about, and I am so glad that you wrote this post. We women absolutely need to support one another, for if we don't, who will?

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    1. Thank you Julie - no one will - if we don't stand together no one will !!!
      Thanks so much
      xoxo

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  16. Been there, have had it done to me - in the 60's so of course silence. Thank you, wonderful post.

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  17. A very well written post Suzan! It is so sad that it takes many women to come forward....it should only take one :(

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  18. Finally, many abusers are getting caught and are meeting the consequences. For the famous, they are being denied their performances, whether it is Cosby or NFL football players. They are being fired and expelled. The less famous are getting their due, only in a less public forum. As a society, we lean on the powers to coerce them into doing the right thing. There is still a long way to go. Thank you for your discussion. Not everything that is important is about refinishing furniture. Have you ever noticed that while refinishing furniture (or whatever it is) there is sometimes what feels like too much thinking time? It is times like that where I am able to form opinions about things that happen in the world. I either solve personal dilemmas or form more questions about why or how things happen in the big, big world. For these reasons, it isn't easy to "refinish furniture", even though I'm just throwing on paint.

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  19. Suzan,
    Very well said. Would you allow me to post a link to this on my facebook timeline? I have three daughters and a grand daughter and a great grand daughter. I think this is a very important thing for them to learn.
    Sandra

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  20. Thank you for saying all the things so many of us want to say! As a child of the 50/60's and a working woman of the 70's, unfortunately those same stereotypes exist in our society even today. A poster mentioned it above. We MUST speak out against abuses of women AND men! Thank goodness it is acceptable to speak out when abuse happens!

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  21. This post is great! If you get permission from Universal Music Publishing Group (currently 100% owner of the rights) to use the lyrics to I Am Woman by Helen Reddy & Ray Burton, this would make a great submission to CNN I-Reports. If you submit it to CNN, please let us all know so we can vote it worthy of follow-up and further publication by CNN! If you decide to do it, you get your permission from UMPG.Songlist@umusic.com. The ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code) number for this song is T-070.240.450.9

    Go for it! And let us know... (BTW, I wanted to send this to you offline, but got caught in an endless loop trying to figure out how to reach you.)

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  22. I have tears running down my cheeks...not because I am a woman that's been molested or hurt but because some of the ladies I love so much, HAVE.
    I don't want to say Mr. Cosby is guilty....he has a right to defend himself and be proven NOT to have done these things to those 5 or 6 women that have the same story but are no where connected....but I sure won't be surprised if he IS.
    I so admire ladies that come forth but so many, as you said, hold it in and it stays festering for their entire life.

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  23. Your post is well written. Thank you for saying what you feel.

    I, too, lived through the 60's, 70's, women's lib. I had a level of naiveté that in hindsight, boggles my mind. How I lived through my life unscathed, I'll never know. I read Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and didn't wear my bra.(fact is, I didn't need one, easy for me!!!)

    Through the years, we've made progress, but need to unveil the abuses against women. I remember Anita Hill. Such a brave woman! I read now about the ghastly abuse of women by ISIS, horrible, horrible men and my heart aches.

    I have always love Bill Cosby and his "common-sense" approach to life. To hear about these accusations just kills me. Are there no role models left? I am waiting for all the facts to come out. I refuse to pre-judge him. I still have hope that there are a few good men left in this world, please, a few.

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  24. Good and profound discussion. Like your lyrics laced in.

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  25. As someone who grew up in a violent environment (I had a very abusive step-father) it makes my blood boil when I hear of abuse of any kind. As a victim of sexual abuse as a child I understand the silence. And as someone who was constantly sexually assaulted in the work force I applaud you for posting this message. It is so important for us women to stick together and make a change. Thank you Suzan

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    1. I'm sorry to read this Rhonda -
      It IS very important for us to stick together - it's the only way ( like you said ) that we can implement change
      Much love to you
      XOXO

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  26. Absolutely beautiful post and so true. Thanks for speaking for all those that can't or won't. cdahlgren at live dot com

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  27. Amazing post and so well said Suzan. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  28. Always hit "publish" as a blog writer you have the floor to speak. Anyone can choose to "delete". But you are so accurate. As a child of the 60's and a Catholic. We have seen a lot. But if anyone reading your post or social media takes one thing away from this it should be to not put your beliefs in those who are there to tell stories or entertain us. They all go home to do whatever it is they do as people. Some good some not. If someone is falsely accused it is a hard road back. But for those who were violated by people in positions of trust or authority their path is long. I will not judge I just know what I feel in my heart. And I pray that those harmed will find peace and those who did the harm will know no peace. Thank you for being brave enough to speak your piece. I always read your post and will continue to.

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    1. Well we won't even go there with the Catholic Church and the nightmare one of my cousin's lived as an alter boy, K ???
      Thank YOU Barbara,
      XOXO

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  29. How many women does it take to prove one man guilty? Scores it would seem... :(

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  30. As a woman of the 60s & 70s also, I applaud you for speaking out. So many of us experienced sexual harrasment in the workplace. It was almost an expectation that our bosses could speak innapropriately. As a 17 year old, I was sexually harrased by my 40+ year old boss and just that was the way it was. One of the things I'm proudest of is that we have been able to raise daughters who don't have to out up with this type of abuse anymore. We paved the way for future generations!!

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  31. Wow, this is such a powerful post...and so well written. Thanks for your honesty.

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  32. Why else would you write a blog than to talk about all the things that happen and matter to you in your daily life? As much as that is usually about projects and lifestyle inspiration, it is also about the things that move us to speak out. In the culture of celebrity, from Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton to Jian Gomesh, Bill Cosby and OJ Simpson, there is a conspiracy of forgiveness and even a degree of celebrity for the victims that makes the crimes not be reported or prosecuted as they should have been. We need to collectively level the playing field so no person has the perception of power or elevated status that condones bad behaviour. We must never confuse a character being played or a position held as the person themselves. Always hit publish!

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  33. You never fail to make some very valid points in your rants Suzan! You also never fail to be a good listener and I am so thankful for it.

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  34. We had a similar story here last year with a tv personality. It's amazing how these women are immediately judged then the tune changes when the truth comes out. As a mother of 3 boys I only hope we've raised them right and that they remember what they've been taught in regards to women. For my girls I wish them the world but I hope that world treats them with respect, great post xx

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  35. I love Helen Reddy!!

    The post is serious business. I'm so disheartened by the "Dr. Huxtable" business (that's what I most remember him from too). I saw this morning where a then-15-yr old girl came out that he did a pre-school show with and said he did the same to her. 15. *sigh* It just keeps getting worse. What a rotten path he paved for his life, I guess it's just decaying. I'm sad the image wasn't true.

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  36. Bless you for saying this, Suzanne! I know too many women who've been afraid to speak up and speak out about what has happened to them. If Bill Cosby is guilty, and that is IF, then he should have to pay in the same way that a non-celebrity would. And it would be horrific if it's true, but I don't believe those women are all just looking for 15 minutes of fame. . .

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  37. Thank you, my friend, for each and every word you've shared here. I am so terribly disappointed in Bill Cosby. I always wanted him to be my dad due to The Cosby Show. :( The women that have come forward are a part of that time when things of this nature were never spoken of and I am familiar with that. I grew up in the 50's with a mother that was totally subservient to men. I never understood it and later, in the 60's and 70's I would question her. "I" was the freak show! Too many situations have occurred with women that have or still live in fear. Way too sad ~

    Every girl needs to be able to say "No" with ease as well as a boy hearing it and honoring the word and the girl.

    xo
    Pat
    P.S. A job I had in the late 60's, early 70's was with a financial institution. We had a woman supervisor that left books in the break room for us to read. One of the guidelines stated that we should not wear shoes (high heels then) with open toes or heels as it would cause the men to lust after us! I kid you not ~

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  38. Another great post, always say what's in your heart and speak what's on your mind. We are being rocked by scandal after scandal here - the police investigation 'operation yewtree' began after allegations were made against a very famous and much loved DJ called Jimmy Savile. It has led to a nightmare of revelations, the man was a monster and got away with unspeakable atrocities, I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that he died before the truth came out as there is really no punishment suitable for the crimes he committed. It has unearthed a horror story of abuse in the 70's from all walks of life but particularly the entertainment industry. As more and more people are implicated in what was really a culture of groping, innuendo and belittling women (or anyone vulnerable depending on sexual preferences) it is getting difficult to avoid a witch hunt. It's almost as though the authorities in their desperation to atone for previous lack of interest is now investigating anyone and everyone. It is very hard to look back and not feel that all our idols had feet of clay.
    Like so many other women growing up at that time I have my fair share of stories, from the almost comic (I was once chased round and round a board room table like something out of a bad episode of Benny Hill) to the tragic (being 'date raped' and being too ashamed to tell anyone) we just have to stay strong, support each other and bring up our daughters to expect better.

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Due to a large amount of spam ( that I'm tired of going back to posts and deleting ) I'll be using comment moderation from now on !!!
Can I beat these spammers at their own game? Probably not - but I'm going
to try my damnedest !!!
xoxo