When One of Us Bleeds, We ALL Bleed

A 9-year-old girl was beaten with a whip by her father, because the cows weren't properly fed. The little girl's hand turned black and swollen by the next morning, but though her pain was excruciating, her mother wouldn't take the little girl to the doctor--because she was so afraid of her husband. She was worried that the little girl would tell the doctor what had actually happened. This little girl wasn't able to use her right arm in school for six months, and that summer was the worst of her life--not only due to the physical pain and inability to use her arm, but mainly due to the emotional pain brought on by the whole situation. For the mother, the emotional anguish of seeing her young daughter in such pain was NOT enough to overpower her fear of her husband. Although this event happened over 70 years ago, my heart still cries every time I think about this little girl and her mother. 
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This is not the only terrible true story that has happened to women in a Communist country. There are so many stories like this; there are so many that I used to truly believe that all Eastern European women were destined to be obedient and subservient to their abusive (and often alcoholic) husbands. When I came to the United States, I learned that abuse is not unique to Eastern Europe. I met so many women with similar stories. Later, I learned about other cultures (like the Middle East, Africa, India, and China) where women are not allowed to see their own worth.
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In Eastern Europe less than 40 years ago, 8 out of 10 men were STILL abusive alcoholics. That meant 8 out of 10 women were mentally and physically abused. They never spoke about their pain, first and foremost because they were not permitted to do so, but secondly and most significantly, because they felt ashamed of their pain and they blamed themselves for causing their own pain. They suffered and cried silently, and therefore nobody spoke of it. 
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What I have come to realize is that, sadly, there are no boundaries to the hurt, abuse, and degradation women face--even today. The abuse does not discriminate among country, culture, or color. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about the past. However, there is something we can do now. First, be CEO of your own life. Second, raise your daughters to be CEOs of their own lives by reinforcing their worth. Third, and most important, raise your sons to respect women. I said to my son, "If you ever disrespect or hurt your wife, and I don't care if you are 6 feet tall, I will climb up onto my stool and punch you myself." 
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When one of us bleeds, we ALL bleed!

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