That is My experience of the subjugation of women became physical when I been married less than 3 months. It happened when I served green beans for dinner.
There was never any recognizable abuse , control or domination in my home. My dad was very busy with church and work but he appreciated my mom's place in the running of the home. I remember times when he instigated cleaning or cooking to help her out or to surprise her. I did not question the fact that my dad and the other men in the tribe did all of the "important' stuff. It was common for men to control the car, the checkbook and the activities. This was god's system and as while child, it created my view of the world.
As a 20 years old my tribal culture that put me close to old maid status. Having the "right" man ask you to marry him was the goal set for girls their entire lives. I had grown up being taught to cook meals, clean house, iron cloths tend babies, and stay very connected to the tenants of our tribal religion. The highest education suggested was graduation from high school. Basic education was important just because it was the thing to do, until you got married.
In 1960 was introduced to a possible partner. We talked via phone and set a date. And then another date. We talked, laughed and shared our ideas about life and what we wanted. No surprise that our "dreams" matched, it was what we had each been taught but the authority voices in our church. Although I had a tiny inner voice say, "He is a nice man, not for marriage", I had not been taught or allowed to get such inner guidance and so when he asked me to marry him, I said "Yes".
During the marriage ceremony, the only advice I remember getting from the officiator, one of the "tribal hierarchy, was "Don't go to bed with harsh word between you, obey your husband". No problem. I had observed my mom and dad. He took good care of my mom, even thought out the important stuff for her, because he loved her.
In my limited experience, I didn't not know that there were other models for marriage and that my husband came from an entirely different one. I was not "street smart".
So, one evening I returned home from my full time job. Even though my husband who was between school and a job and had been home all day, it was my job to fix dinner, which I did. I don't remember all of the specifics although I know that it was an acceptable one because that is what I had been taught. Our kitchen was very small with the table close to the stove. My husband was seated by the stove while I took the chair closer to the wall. At some point, my husband noted that the bowl containing the green beans was empty. Indeed it was. So, I responded with the information, "Sure is. There are more in the pan on the stove just next to you," expecting him to reach over, pick up the pan and replenish the bean bowl. Made sense to me.
That is NOT WHAT HAPPENED!
In His world, replenishing the food was a woman's job!
And, in addition, he took measures to let me know that "he" was to be treated as the king in his home. That meant that I was to get up, take the bowl, squeeze by him, refill the beans, set it on the table and go on with the meal. Too shocked to think about what had just happened, I did just that. Then, to make sure that I got the message, he would not speak to me for the next three days.
That began my downward slide into domination without recognizing or naming it so. It required being watchful of his words and behavior, to be ahead of his possible reactions. It required giving up outside friends, adhering to his concepts of life in order to be approved of and to be supported.
You may ask why I did not reach out for help. Good question. The religious tenant regarding men and women was god given, there was no fault in the tenant. If this relationship did not work it was because something was wrong with me or the way I was interacting. In the 1960's, domestic violence or control was never mentioned, the counseling available put the blame on the woman and told her to try harder.
For those born after the stands taken by women during the '60's and 70's, you must remember: We have come a Long Way Baby! Don't be lulled back into sleep by the gains.
WE have a long way yet the concept that men hold the power and women are lesser is alive and well in world... as you see every day.
It is up to Women to hold hands with one another, evaluate what could be lost, what is still yet to gain and how we can bring our clarity, strength and gifts together and create the world that benefits All in the Web of Life.
I encourage you to Vision, and to Imagine such a World, ask, "What is my role to play?" and then look for your Sister Groups.
Most important is to Listen! Don't do as I did with my inner voice of guidance… "not marriage". Your purpose and safety is held within the power of the Solar Plexus, Wisdom Center. Heed and Act!
Sending love and as always, available for conversations and mentoring of assistance.
Sharon Riegie Maynard
After Forty years of working within the worlds we call Spiritual and with Beings of the Highest Integrity, I am honored to share my path to spark and empower your own.