Kiss Patriarchy Good-by

Traditionally February 14th has been set aside for love. The history of Valentine’s Day is uncertain, originating with pagan fertility rites and morphing into a celebration of Valentine, the Christian saint of romance.

Since 1992, this day has been held in commemoration of indigenous murdered and missing women and children. Beginning in Vancouver, marches to honor and remember lost sisters, mothers, friends and aunts now happen throughout Canada, Minnesota, Colorado and North and South Dakota.

In past years, I have participated in these walks. The heartbreak of loss juxtaposed with the resilience to end this nightmare is powerful. The attempt to un-silence an epidemic that has endured since the coming of Columbus has largely been lost to the dominant culture. Our inability to hear and respond has added to the tragedy.

Yet as the cries for justice, protection, and awareness have multiplied, so too have the accounts of rape, sex trafficking, child abuse and femicide in our society and throughout the world.

Recent admissions by Pope Francis on the sexual abuse of nuns by priests, and the most recent study of child abuse within the ranks of the Southern Baptist Convention is ripping the scab off the silenced truth. The abuse of women and children is a direct result of patriarchy. And unless and until we acknowledge that truth, we will be incapable of changing it.

We have been quietly secretive, allowing the systematic and intentional degradation of women and children. We have refused to stop the spread of the cancer within our culture. It has been upheld in our courts, our churches and temples, our military, our medicine, our politics and our schools.

We have taught our sons to cover their tracks and we have taught our daughters to hide their shame. It is beyond time to end this grotesque relationship. Kiss the abusive nature of patriarchy good-by. It hurts everyone.

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