We Are Drowning in Violence — A Fable Offers Context

This morning I woke up in tears. I recognize the shape and profile of the world, but each day its nature seems to become more monstrous.

I rummaged around in my trunk of fables to try to find some way to frame and express my pain.

I’m not one of those who says,

A woman drowned, so what.

I say that it’s a lot, and the female sex is worth mourning, since it is she who brings us joy. What I’ve just said here isn’t beside the point; this fable concerns a woman who finished her days with an unhappy accident in the river’s current.

Her husband was searching for her, so he could retrieve her body from the mishap and bury her properly. He arrived at the bank of the river, author of her demise. The people walking along the verge didn’t even know about the accident. Still, the husband asked if they’d seen any sign of his wife.

None, said one man, but look downstream, follow the flow of the river.

Another man started in, No, don’t follow the river. Rather go back upstream against the current. No matter what the direction and steepness of the river’s flow, the contrary spirit will have made her float the other way.

The man’s joking was in quite bad taste.

As to the contrary nature, I don’t know if he was right; whether such a nature is or is not a particular default of the female sex and its inclinations.

I do know this: Whoever is born with the contrary nature will, without exception, die with it. And will be contrarian right up until the very end, and while he still can, will add another layer of contrariety.

The other day in Texas a man shot 26 people. One of the things we know about him is that he beat his wife. I could have written those two sentences with minor variations in location and numbers almost any time in recent memory in the United States, but the part about beating women — those words would remain the same.

It is not, and has never been, women who have the contrary nature. It is men. Not every man, but far too many. And I don’t mean contrary as in prone to contradict or speak their mind, which is what women are faulted for, to this day. Strong women have ever been accused of being shrews. To this day we tolerate performances of Shakespeare’s irredeemable play.

When I say that too many men are contrary, I mean contrary to life. And they are staying contrary to the end, adding last little touches with their weapon of choice, right up until their last breath (which is often drawn in the midst of a horrific melee).

There has been a tendency of late to distinguish violence and terrorism, as if they are separate actions. Yet, so often they are linked by the private violence the men have committed against women prior to their public actions. More women have died as a result of intimate partner violence in the US than have died of violence labeled as terrorism. Violence is violence. Terrorism may be a subset, but it is not separate. And for the victims, all violence feels like terror. In the Venn diagram, the circle of terrorism is located fully inside the circle of violence. The nature of violence is contrary to all that we yearn for, contrary to the living current, the energetic flow that seeks peace, love and connection.

Look to where women are disrespected and there you’ll find the contrary nature we need to be concerned about, whether it’s in a small town in Texas, in Hollywood, in Corporate America, in the White House, or in religions that subjugate women.

What are these Fableogs?


Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on November 7, 2017.

Tagged in Feminism, Violence, Terrorism, Fable, Mass Shootings

By Mina Samuels on November 7, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on March 17, 2018.



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