Domestic Violence/Human Trafficking-Change Only Comes by Respect
Domestic Violence or Human Trafficking-Change Only Comes by Respect
Pamala Kennedy Chestnut 5/22/11
Whether it is domestic violence or human trafficking; It all comes down to respect…
Sojourner Truth (c. 1797-1883), evangelist, abolitionist and feminist, is remembered for her unschooled but remarkable voice raised in support of abolitionism, the freedmen and women’s right. I quote from this address delivered at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio.
…” Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me. And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me!”
Sojourner Truth was a woman who was born into hard circumstances. She was black, and a woman, and in the early 1800, there was pretty much no respect for either. Her mama loved her, but couldn’t save her from the impending life of prejudice and slavery. SojournerTruth admitted to loving her thirteen children, but love alone could not change a thing in their tragic future. The people around Truth did not respect her race nor her gender.
Thankfully a lot has changed for both in the U.S., but certainly not everywhere. There are still places that discriminate without conscience, against being born into a lower caste, or economic position, and it is especially difficult if you are born a woman! As human beings we need to stop saying that we love others while we continue to disrespect them. When people start respecting others, as well as themselves, equality is possible. Self respect and confidence can change a lot for the victim, as well as the discriminators.
Throughout my life I have worked to help others have respect for themselves and others. I truly believe respect in any relationship, or culture is more important than love. Yes, you heard me right! “Pamala, how can you say such a thing?” you ask. Because, I have witnessed time and again, people who proclaim and demonstrate passionate love for each other still hurt one another continually. I strongly believe it is because of the lack of respect for each other. Just because couples, parents, friends and families, have a deeply committed love for their loved ones doesn’t mean they respect them. Respect is entirely different. You can actually respect someone without loving them; making that relationship healthier than some of your love relationships.
Complicated? Yes, but allow me to explain the difference. Love is a feeling, an emotion, an attraction, connection or affection. Webster says, “to feel tender affection for somebody such as a close relative or friend, or for something such as a place, an ideal, or an animal… to feel romantic and sexual desire and longing for somebody.”
Respect? Webster says, “to esteem, a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something; consideration or thoughtfulness, to pay due attention to and refrain from violating something, like respect the law, respect another’s privacy. to show consideration or thoughtfulness in relation to somebody or something.”
Check out the two different definitions, Love can certainly make your life more emotionally balanced, but respect can make your entire life more balanced. In the giving and having respect, you become considerate of others, you cannot abuse because respect keeps you from violating that which you respect, it holds value. When we value something or someone, we keep it safe. Have we forgotten that lives, all lives deserve the chance to feel safe, valued, be respected?
Whether it is a mother beating her children black and blue, a husband verbally abusing his family through fits of rage, or society teaching by example that it is acceptable for little girls and women to be bought and sold for sexual exploitation, or forced labor; it could all be diminished substantially if respect would be demonstrated.
Respect is irrefutably necessary for equality to reside in our family, our community and nation in which we live. I believe it must start being taught daily in our homes, schools, churches, as well as in our governing systems. Respect must be taught by word…and deed. It has to start with someone, Sojourner Truth had something to say in the 1800’s, what about you? Do you respect yourself enough to stand up for yourself and speak the truth to someone who is being disrespectful of you? Do you respect and place value on the rights and feelings of others? Let’s start with ourselves, it’s a start! Pass it on.
Follow Pamala Kennedy Chestnut on Twitter for more up to the hour updates and news in her travels. And to read excerpts from More Than Rice on Twitter see them here. Thank you for praying for me this week. I will fly to a large nation and meet with the President and a task force about the problem of human trafficking in his nation.
- We Can Change The World… (originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com)
- On The Road Again with Pamala (morethanrice.com)
- Women Shake Free From the Status Quo & Abuse in More Than Rice (morethanrice.com)
- Marian Wright Edelman: Ain’t I a Woman? (huffingtonpost.com)
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