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Why Free Women's Words?

Why Free Women's Words? image
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Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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On May 1, 1987, the Women's Crisis Center distributed the first issue of free women's words. What began as a newsletter circulating to a mailing list of 2,000 is now an eight page bimonthly news journal with a circulation of 5,000. The free women's words collective is made up of women's advocates and crisis counselors, students, waitresses, and working moms. We work through consensus, sharing responsibility and recognizing thct conflict is part of the decision-making process. We publish free women's words to put our feminist values into practice and to channel our anger into empowerment. Women are not free. We are not free from harassment when we walk down the street. We are not free from the degrading images of women that surround us on billboards and in magazines, on televisiĆ³n and in the theater. We do not have access to accurate information so we are not free to learn about our own sexuality. We are bombarded with messages that we are unworthy and subservient. We are not free to: choose jobs where we will be treated with respect; to live in safe, affordable homes; to take care of our children and provide for our families. Although over half the families in the U.S. are run by single moms, men are treated as the bread winners. Women make only 60 cents to every dollar that men make. We are segregated within industry and by profession. Yet as teachers, secretares, nurses and social workers we clean up after the mess made by patriarchal society. Marital rape is legal in Michigan and 26 other states. Rape survivors are blamed for their attackers' behavior. Rape shield laws are violated and irrelevant evidence s admittedintocourt. The legality of abortion s again in contention, reflecting the gross inequity of health care and the precariousness of women's legal rights over their own bodies. Women have little legal recourse when confronted with violence n their homes. Some action has been taken in response to the njustice we face. For example, in Michigan, the People's Campaign for Choice is collecting signatures to put the issue of medicaid abortion on the Nov. '88 ballot. In Ann Arbor, a new domestic violence ordinance is one of only three in the country which calis for mandatory arrest for batterers. In the safe space of the Women's Crisis Center we publish free women's words as one way to channel our anger nto empowerment. We must claim the rights and the resources we need to control our own lives. We have been struggling throughout history to claim a safe space for ourseves and to balance our own feelings with the expectations and demands society has for us. We will not compromise ourselves to fit society's standards, but will work to change society to meet the needs of women. free women's words is a part of this long and difficult struggle toward a more equitable, feminist society. - a-lternative press sampler


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