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Is Religion Our Sacred Cow? by Esther Nelson

Couldn’t agree more….

Recently, my colleague (I’ll call him Ben) participated in his grandson’s bris—the circumcision ritual within Jewish tradition. The circumcision was performed by a mohel–someone who is trained on removing the foreskin of an eight-day-old, male child.

Neither Ben nor his wife is Jewish. Their son converted to Judaism when he married a Jewish woman whose family celebrates the birth ritual with a host of traditions.  One of those traditions dictates that the immediate family members, upon news of the baby’s imminent birth, gather together in, or around the vicinity of, the new family’s home in order to welcome the child into the world.

So Ben rushed to his son and daughter-in-law’s home a couple of states away shortly after the baby boy’s birth, staying until after the circumcision ceremony where Ben had the official role of conferring on the newborn his Jewish name.

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Vampire entering the Light – Facing my Agoraphobia today…


vampire gif 3

Just getting ready to head out today. Haven’t been out since my ex boyfriend was violent a few weeks ago. Apart from going to the Emergency Room one night, and heading to the doctors another time. Both times I got taxis.

I’ve ran out of all food and stuff and have been indoors alone too long. It’s a bright sunshiny day today. So I am going to try and venture into the light! I have to push myself. I can’t let that guy ruin my life. I’m starting to even look drained like a vampire! Time to feel some rays of light on my skin. Soak up some Vitamin D before I fade away and collapse into nothingness.


I’m not sure people realise just how much being physically assaulted traumatises you. I didn’t. This wasn’t like a one off whack. Or 2 men fighting in a bar and then it…

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Death is a Gift, and Christ is a Hag by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Wonderful piece on death and life and the value of the crone!

My father is dying, and I am haggard with grief and exhaustion. Over a month of frantically arranging child care, driving to the ICU in the middle of the night, fighting to protect my Dad from neglect and malpractice, chasing case managers, begging doctors, negotiating with nurses, sensitive, depleting, agonizing family debates about hospice and DNR, and hour after hour sitting and holding my Dad’s hand, singing, comforting, soothing, reassuring. Washing his face. Massaging salve into his feet and legs. Continually checking to see if he is too cold, too warm, in pain, breathing ok. Weeping as I drive home through snow and rain and dark, watching car accidents happen just one lane over, trying to soothe my frazzled and anxious little children, support my husband in his degree program, and not lose my own career entirely.

So when my daughter asked me, “Mummy, why does Grampy have to die?”…

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Posted in Faith Groups and VAWG, One Billion Rising, Raising Awareness of VAWG, Reclaiming Yourself from Domestic Abuse

Valentine’s Day, V-Day and One Billion Rising

14th February is associated with red roses, love hearts, and romance, together with the marketing of Valentine’s cards, and special romantic meals.  The myth of romantic love continues unabated in 2018, and young folk follow this tradition because that’s what we’ve always done.  Warm fuzzy feelings of romance and a perfect future abound; no-one enters into a long term intimate partnership expecting it to fail – but fail it frequently does.

1 in 4 women in the UK will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives, and, yes, some women are violent, but not to the extent male violence dominates our culture, and, clearly, not all men are violent toward their parners.

The subjugation of women has been a dominant cultural theme throughout the world for millenia.  In this month (February 2018) when we celebrate women over 30, and householders, winning their battle for the vote, we can see that women still have a long way to go to be treated as equals in our society.  From equal pay, to equal responsibility for caring duties in families, women still need to campaign to have our human rights upheld and applied.

One place where this inequality continues is within faith communities.  Yes, we now have female ministers, and rabbis, but the institutions continue to follow traditions, and teaching which often ignore women.  Religious institutions seem to find it difficult to acknowledge the issue of male violence against women, while continuing to promote the sanctity of marriage.

In 2011 I was on Scottish Women’s Aid’s Faith Group Forum with women and men from a variety of Christian traditions, together with Muslims, Sikh’s and a representative from the Jewish community.  We were all commited to tackling the issue of violence against women, and many of us were faced with our leadership not recognising it as a problem; many leaders were  shocked that such a problem could exist within a community of faith. The outcome of our time together with staff from Scottish Women’s Aid was a pocket sized leaflet with 10 Things Faith Communities Can Do to Overcome Violence Against Women which was made freely available to all faith communities.  They are no longer in print, so with permission from Scottish Women’s Aid, and with minor alterations I have reproduced it in A4 size.

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Since 2012, 14th of February has been given over to One Billion Rising, the number of women the UN estimates have experience Gender Based Violence .  Originally V-Day initiated in 1998 by Eve Ensler, the creator of The Vagina Monologues.  On each 14th February she offers performances of The Vagina Monologues royalty free to those raising awareness of violence against women and girls.  V-Day became absorbed into the international movement One Billion Rising in 2012, when women across the world were involved in performances of The Vagina Monologues together with Flash Mobs,  and panel discussions raising awareness of intimate partner violence, rape, female genital mutilation, and child sexual exploitation.

This 14th February enjoy celebrating with your romantic partner, but also  consider what you can do to erase violence against women and girls, and for those of us who belong to communities of faith, please bring 10 Things You Can Do To Stop Domestic Abuse to the attention of your community leaders, and consider following up some of the suggestions you can implement as an individual.  Many of us raised in a faith community have fallen away from the institution but still carry with us the traditions instilled in us as children, and in the whirl of a new relationship these values can become our default positions.  On 14th February give some time to examining these values, and consider if they match up to our Human Rights.