Word from the Trenches tells what is really happening in the ground war. Like the doughboys of World War I who dug trenches and vowed to fight to the finish, we women need to dig in to some of the nitty gritty details of our lives in order to improve our world. In this blog I will deal mostly with the feminist issues of serious mental illness and gender bias in religion.
We women must fight back the constant efforts of religious fundamentalists to restrict our civil rights. The United States is not a theocracy. While we respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want about God and an afterlife, only our civil laws govern our conduct. Our laws assert the rights of women to equal opportunity, justice and self-determination. We must fight off the fundamentalists before they turn back the clock on women the way women were treated in Iran and Afghanistan. And then we must move forward to true equality, including in our places of worship.
We women are also greatly impacted by mental illness. Families of people who suffer from severe mental illnesses face terrible burdens. We must fight 24/7 to improve the current non-system of care available in our country for our loved ones. My brother suffered with schizophrenia, and our patched together mishmash of what is supposed to be community-based care failed him. Our jails and homeless shelters are filled with people who, through no fault of their own, suffer from a brain malfunction that makes it almost impossible for them to take care of themselves. They need help.
Since the onset of mental illness generally comes in late adolescence or early adulthood, the burden of care falls disproportionately on mothers. Thus mental illness is a feminist issue. Because our society is used to seeing mothers struggle to care for their children, the sacrifices made by mothers (and also fathers and siblings) of people with smi also go almost unnoticed.
Overall, I hope this blog will strengthen women’s rights by providing a sounding board on these and other current and past events.