CATHOLIC PRIESTS, COSBY, WEINSTEIN AND MORE

CAN YOU SEE IT?

This occurs all over the world, not solely in the U.S.
But recent events in the U.S. are instructive to us all.

Sexual abuse of the young and vulnerable by the rich and powerful has been brought out of the halls of secrecy into the light of day. The part of the Catholic Church in childhood sexual abuse came out in the open many years ago – brought out by the Boston Globe in 2002. More recently we’ve seen this in the cases of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. And after Harvey, men in entertainment and other arenas of our world, as well … James Toback (screenwriter/director,) Ben Affleck (actor,) Chris Savino (animator,) Roy Price (entertainment executive,) Lockhart Steele (Vox media editorial director,) John Besh (celebrity chef,) Mark Halperin (author and political analyst.)

It is a healthy step for our society that journalists are finding and documenting the stories of sexual abusers. It is also a healthy step that those who have been abused by them are coming forth and speaking out. Each step taken helps us get closer to the root. But we’re not there yet.

A number of things from this past week give us glimpses that can lead us to the root.

  • Corey Feldman, of the movie “Stand by Me,” has spoken about Hollywood’s secret of childhood sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry, expanding the view past young adults and adults.
  • Ashley Judd’s statement in her interview with Diane Sawyer, that “we act like we’re between 3 and 6 years old in those moments,” meaning the moments when someone is starting to or in the act of sexually abusing us. We usually do regress to a young age within ourselves when traumatized. And sometimes it’s to the age we were first traumatized when we were children.
  • Ashley, responding to Diane’s question, what would she say to Harvey if she saw him today, responded: “What I would say to Harvey is, ‘I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too. And it’s entirely up to you to get that help.’”
  • Ashley also described her response to her getting out of harm’s way and away from Harvey by making a deal with him to do what he was pressuring her to do after she won an Oscar in a movie he produced. “Am I proud of that? I’m of two minds: The part that shames myself says ‘no.’ The part of me that understands the way shame works says, ‘That was absolutely brilliant. Good job kid, you got out of there. Well done.’”
  • Alternet published an article recently, whose title is, “How on Earth Is Corporal Punishment Still Legal at School in 19 States?”1
  • “Law & Order: True Crime” is airing a television series about the story of the Menendez brothers’ murder of their parents and the real cause of that murder. Whether the brothers are in jail or not, whether or not you believe the series’ portrayal of the real cause as the brothers’ having been sexually abused and threatened by their parents, the series is clearly showing us all some of the deadly consequences of childhood sexual abuse.

All of these point to the root – the part that hasn’t yet been brought out into the light of day. What is coming out into the open is not just about powerful men out in the world today sexually abusing women, men, and even children in the arenas in which they work – entertainment, media, politics, business, spiritual, and more. It is showing us the outpicturing into our world of what occurs every day in families all over our country – and the world.

Powerful parents – fathers and sometimes mothers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – who are kings and queens of their domains, sexually abuse children in their homes, where it can be done in secret. Or if others know – like the extended family – they collude in keeping the secret. The children are vulnerable and innocent and terrified. The very people they are supposed to be able to trust are the people sexually abusing them. And others who could protect them are not protecting them … at all. Even the law in the US, which should be protecting, ends up colluding in the abuse by protecting the abuser.1

People are afraid of looking at what their part is in the perpetuation of this family dynamic. People are afraid of seeing how their part of the family dynamic outpictures into our world outside the home – whether they have sexually abused others, whether they have been sexually abused, or whether they have colluded in the sexual abuse in the home.

It is urgent that we look. It is urgent that we see. And it is urgent that we each heal our part in what is showing itself out in the world, but starts in our childhood homes.

We can see the huge, damaging impact it has on ourselves and on others when we don’t. We can see and feel the destructive consequences for ourselves, our families, and our societies, when we don’t.

This is the root of what we’re seeing in the exposure of sexual abuse in our world today. Healing it necessitates going to the root.

All of us, those who have been sexually abused, those who have colluded with sexual abuse, and those who have sexually abused others …
All of us who are part of this are sick or wounded … and our society is, as well.
All of us who are part of this are suffering … and our society is, as well.
There is help for all of us … and our society, as well.
The help for our society depends on all of us, each one of us individually.

And it is entirely up to each of us to get that help.

Will you do your part?

© Judith Barr, 2017

1 To learn more about how the law can be used to dehumanize and allow abuse in our country and world, see my article What Is Beneath the Willfulness in Our World? at http://judithbarr.com/2017/10/01/beneath-willfulness-world/

 

One More Egregious Abuse of Power Under a Guise

My first response to the New York Times article, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape”* … Heartbreak! Horror! Outrage! Sickened! And then renewed passion to help with the healing so deeply needed in our world today. Renewed calling to keep inviting each one of us to heal individually.

So that we are not seduced. So we do not go numb. So we do not normalize. So we come alive with the knowing of the guise. So we awaken with the knowing of the abuse of power. So we do not accept it, but neither do we respond in kind or add to it. And neither do we contribute to the guise by saying what should be done in the outer world while neglecting our own inner work. So we hear and feel the call to contribute to the healing first by doing our own inner work … the only way in truth we can heal to the root communally.

My second response to the New York Times article is the preface from my book:

“Power is like fire, lightning, wind, ocean – like life itself – a raw, vibrant force of nature. It has the potential for great harm and the possibility for magnificent good. Each of us chooses, whether consciously or unconsciously, how we will use the power of our own life energy.

“Every form of power can be used well or misused.

“The law has been used to manipulate as well as to serve justice. Parenthood has been used as a means of captivity, and it has been used to nourish a soul, helping it grow into fullness. Sexuality has been used as a weapon to rape and dominate, as a substitute for unmet childhood bonding and physical touch, and as an exquisite sacred expression of love and union.

“Even God’s name has been used both to destroy and to heal. Christian Inquisitors burned midwives at the stake; zealots have committed acts of violence all over the world in the name of religion. In contrast, people of many religions pray for peace; practitioners all over the world speak different names for God as they lay hands on suffering bodies to touch hearts and souls and restore them to health.”**

There are really no other words to say right now. I have no other words to say at this time.

© Judith Barr 2015

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&_r=2

This article is horribly painful to read. The truth of what it reports is terribly painful to take in and process. Choose a time to read it that is right for you and during which you can take care of yourself and get support if you need it.

** Barr, Judith, Power Abused, Power Healed, p.iii

The Heartache of Today

My heart has been aching with all that is going on in our world today that is so painful and so destructive.  My open, aching heart reaches out to you to inspire, teach, and just be with you.

My heart aches
for the suffering in our world today.
My heart aches for the people who are under siege in their own homes.
For those who have fled their homes to escape destruction,
Yet are meeting destruction elsewhere.
For those who are the innocent bystanders of others’ willfulness.
For those who are the innocent yet seduced colluders of fierce willfulness.
My heart aches
for the suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.
For those who have been shot out of the sky,
For those kidnapped and taken from all that they know,
For those who have been used, misused, abused, tortured, and killed.
My heart aches for those who have been forced into slavery
And for those who have been seduced into slavery.
My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for those who suffer, finding themselves without what they need –
for whatever reasons –
Starving, working harder than any person should have to work to survive,
And to help their families survive.
For parents who are unable to take care of and protect their children.
For people who live in constant danger …
Adults and children alike,
Even children who are unsafe living with their own parents –
Even in supposedly loving families, even in supposedly civilized countries.
It is more common than we want to realize.
My heart aches
for those who suffer, finding themselves without what they need.

My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.
For those suffering from the experience of and the consequences of
Sexual abuse … greater in numbers than most wish to know.
People sexually abused
In their own homes …
By their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings.
By their partners, friends, and people they know.
By strangers.
By those who are overtly violent –
Using it as an act of war or an act of power –
And by those who do it under a guise –
under the guise of play, the guise of taking care of them, the guise of helping them.
My heart aches
for those who are suffering in our world today.

My heart aches
for the suffering in our world.
For the suffering caused by us when we cannot and will not
Feel our own heartache.
For the suffering caused by our defending* against our own heartache.
For the suffering caused by our defenses that
Fight to be right, fight to win, fight to have it our way,
fight to have power over.
Fight to conquer, fight to have the last word, fight for some imaginary gain  —
something we lost long, long ago when we first built our defenses.

But more than anything,
My heart aches
for the suffering that is being experienced now
And will be experienced in the future …
Because over and over we insist on solving things only in the outer world,
Deluding ourselves into falsely believing that will create change we can sustain.

My heart aches
for the suffering we are now experiencing
And we will experience in times to come …
Because again and again we refuse to solve and resolve things at the root –
in our inner worlds –
So the changes would come from the inside out,
And, in truth, be sustainable.

Please don’t defend against your heartache anymore.
Don’t defend against your own feelings both today
And even more from your youngest days.
Don’t defend against your own powerlessness, hurts, fears as a baby
By lashing out at others today because of those who hurt you back then —
By withholding from others today because of those who hurt you once upon a time,
By willfully acting out your revenge on people and life in the current day,
While wanting to do, from underneath, whatever you want to do to those from your youth,
the consequences be damned.
Please don’t continue this normalized, socially accepted nightmare.

My heart will keep on aching
Until the needless suffering is done.
Where are those of you who will ache with me?
Where are those of you who understand the changes need to come from within?
Where are those of you who will help people make those in depth changes?
Where are those of you who do your own inner work  –
As part of daily living?
Where are those of you who will come forward to help?
Come join me.

This is a mammoth task.
But one we need to keep going with.
It covers more ground than I can name.
Yes, we need to stop bullies.
But even more, we need to heal the bully in us.
We need to negotiate cease fires between warring factions in countries.
But even more, we need to heal the splits, the factions within ourselves.
We need to stop the sex traffickers and free those they’ve captured.
But even more, we need to heal the sexual abuse in our societies, in our world,
By healing the sexual abuse and sexual distortions within ourselves…
So we don’t pass it down from one generation to the next.
None of us can do this alone.

My heart will keep aching until
we join together and help people heal the suffering from the past
that is feeding the suffering of the present and the future.
My heart will keep aching every time I hear somebody say,
“Move on. Just forget the past. It has nothing to do with the future. It’s just
dragging you down.”
The only tiny seed of truth in that statement is that
our past will drag us down to it for healing …
Our past wounding and trauma will haunt us …
Calling and calling and calling us
To do the healing we need to do.
Our past will haunt and call us,
Even if the haunting occurs through horrifying suffering
in the world outside and around us.
And even if we don’t understand at first
The calling that is actually occurring.

My heart will keep aching until we
Do the real work called for in front of our very eyes ….
Joining together to end the needless suffering
That comes from defenses we don’t want to dissolve,
Memories we don’t want to remember,
Feelings we don’t want to feel,
Changes we don’t want to make.
My heart will keep aching until …
I hope yours will, too …

*Read “Defenses Destroy” at http://judithbarr.com/2014/06/08/defenses-destroy/ to learn more about defenses and their harmful consequences.

© Judith Barr, 2014

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP MAKE OUR WORLD SAFE
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Does your heart ache too … as you hear about, read about, see reports of the suffering in our world?  Can you allow yourself to feel the heart ache? Or do you have a reflexive movement to defend against your feelings?

Is your feeling response part of a lifelong pattern of defense against pain?  If so, what will you do to help yourself heal that pattern … for your sake and for the sake of our world?

Is your feeling response open-heartedness – from long ago or relatively new?  If so, what will you do to deepen and expand your open-heartedness and allow it to show you ever-new passageways … for your sake and for the sake of our world?

If you’d like to help even more to heal suffering in our world, help spread the word about the true roots of suffering in our world…and please feel free to pass this article on to others.

We don’t have to accept, resign ourselves to, settle for unnecessary suffering … if we are aware of the roots of that suffering and do the inner work we all need to do to heal our wounding and our defenses to the root.

THE PETRAEUS SCANDAL – WILL WE UTILIZE IT TO STAGNATE OR TO GROW?

Most every year at the end of December or in early January, I write an article about commitment, since making and breaking New Year’s Resolutions is such a hot topic at that time. We’ve just had news, though, of one of our country’s esteemed and powerful leaders having broken his marriage commitment. So it seems to me, now is the perfect time to write about commitment.

*****

Friday, November 9th 2012, CIA Director David Petraeus (and former four-star General of the U.S. Army) resigned his position, based on his having had an extra-marital affair. It has become a scandal with threads and perhaps webs way beyond Petraeus’ affair (as, of course, breaking a commitment will do). While people are focusing on many difference aspects of the situation, I’m going to focus on the core aspect. Commitment.

It seems important as I begin, to talk about how our society holds commitment. If you listen to the media’s response to the Petraeus affair, it will be obvious. I’ve heard media pundits – mostly men but some women, too – say things like: “It’s human nature”; “Many powerful leaders have done the same thing before him and kept their positions”; “Thomas Jefferson and Dwight Eisenhower had affairs, too”; “They were just ‘randy buggers’”; “Men just like sex”; “It doesn’t affect his judgment in his military position, or his presidential position, or whatever high position he holds”; “It’s just between him and his wife, a family matter.”

Could they normalize the breaking of commitment any more? Could they accept the abuse of power that breaking a commitment actually is any more than they have by what they’ve been saying?

The task of leaders, among others, is to help us evolve into more matured, more developed beings – individually and communally. The response of our media to Petraeus’ affair is totally the opposite. They’ve been passing down myths of . . . “Boys will be boys;” and breaches of trust in one area don’t affect breaches of trust in another; and it’s none of our business, a private matter; and more. That’s how slavery was sustained; that’s how domestic violence has been sustained; that’s how the abuse of power has been supported and sustained for far too long. And if we accept that, we are part of sustaining some of the worst of what goes on in our leaders, our communities, our families, and ourselves. And we collude in keeping ourselves small, unempowered, and unmatured. Are we going to collude? Or are we going to make the choice to support, help, and take part in the growth that is possible here?

My intention is to help with our growth. So let’s talk deeply about commitment. When we make a commitment, we pledge our word and our trustworthiness to fulfill the vow we are making. We accept as our responsibility the fulfillment of that commitment. If we commit in a marriage to love, cherish, and be faithful to our spouse . . . we are giving our word that we will fulfill that commitment.

If we do not make a full commitment, we will not keep a full commitment. In other words, we will end up breaking our commitment in some way. Perhaps we will break it externally, as with having an affair. Or perhaps we will break it internally, as with feeling anger toward our spouse and not exploring the anger and what is causing it – in our relationship or within ourselves alone. Instead we will take our anger into our sexual relationship with our spouse and instead of being in connection with our partner . . . fantasize about other partners. Either way we break the commitment, we break it. In thought, feeling, or action.

It is broken. And so is our word. And so is our trustworthiness. There is a rupture not only between us and the one or ones with whom we have made the commitment, but also within us. Most people don’t really understand commitment. Most people don’t really understand what happens once we make a commitment. Most people don’t really get what happens that leads us down the path to breaking our commitments . . . or what could happen to prevent the breaking of our commitments.

Let’s look at commitment – the breadth and depth of it. First, if we don’t make a full commitment, we definitely won’t keep the commitment fully. Something will inevitably emerge that will either “lead” us to break the commitment or that we will use to justify breaking the commitment. And the outcome will not be all it could be. Making a full commitment means committing 100% of yourself to that to which you are committing. That could be, among other things, to a marriage, a child, a career, your own healing, growth, and development. It means committing your mind, heart, body, and soul…every aspect of your being.

Here’s an example of making only a partial commitment. You marry your spouse. You commit to love, honor, and cherish your spouse “till death do us part.” If you don’t really love your spouse, but have just settled for a companion, you have already broken your commitment. If you love your spouse, but when the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over, the underlying issues surface, and you start to have uncomfortable feelings come up – which they always do – you take some of your energy away from your spouse and start giving that portion of your energy to a co-worker who interests you, and with whom you can feel the new, honeymoon-like feelings again. With a partial commitment, this kind of thing will occur again and again. You will create, find, or stumble upon all sorts of excuses for breaking your commitment. You’ll basically be saying, whether you put it into words or not . . . “This is happening, and it is a reason not to keep my commitment,” or perhaps, “This is happening, and it is a reason not to keep my commitment fully.”

If, on the other hand, you have made a full commitment, when the honeymoon phase of the marriage comes to an end, and issues and feelings come to the foreground . . . you will see clearly what is happening: that the part of you who made the full commitment is showing you right out in the open, this is the next thing in you that needs to be healed in order to take the next steps in following through with and fulfilling your commitment. This is a more matured way to understand commitment. That once we make a commitment, whatever exists in our psyche and soul that needs to be healed in order for us to fulfill that commitment will definitely surface for healing. And it is up to us to see that and utilize that for the purpose of healing . . . not for the breaking of the commitment.

So let’s say you have been married for a year and things have settled down from the excitement and the high of the courtship, the marriage, and the start of your life together. And now you are finding you’re hurt by certain things your spouse does. Maybe he’s not spending all his spare time with you anymore, but starting to do some of the writing he’s always wanted to do instead of taking dancing lessons with you. Or maybe she’s not spending all her spare time with you anymore, but beginning to meditate early every morning, just the time you like to cuddle and be intimate. If you haven’t made a full commitment, you could use this to justify doing more things on your own, drawing further away from your spouse, investing some of your energy in someone else, or eventually, even having an affair. If you have made a full commitment and you understand the process of step by step following through on and fulfilling your commitment . . . you will first explore within you what is getting stirred up.

If your husband is spending time writing that you want him to spend with you, maybe it’s triggering a memory – even if you’re not conscious of it yet – when you were a year old and your mother got pregnant again, giving a chunk of her attention to her pregnancy that had been going to you. And maybe if your wife is spending early morning time meditating when you want to be close to her, it’s triggering when you were a year old and your father was working the night shift. He would come home early in the morning and want to be cuddly and intimate with your mommy, when you wanted her to sit and rock you back to sleep after you awakened too early to get up for the day. These are things that, with a full commitment, you would, of course, find a way to work with and work through – not just on the level of understanding, but on the feeling level, too. Perhaps you would find a good therapist who would help you heal these early places of hurt to the root.

I hope you get the essence of the difference between making a full commitment and only a partial one. The difference between breaking your partial commitment or having made a full commitment, finding a way to heal what comes up inside you that needs to be healed. This difference is crucial.

Further, if you break a commitment in the face of something in your life – inside or out – bringing up uncomfortable or painful feelings within you . . . that isn’t just contained in one area of your life. You can have uncomfortable feelings that you aren’t aware of triggered by anything in any arena in your life. What is triggered could cause you to exercise poor or distorted judgment in any arena in your life, even to break a commitment in any arena of your life. Any arena, personal or public.

The other important thing to be aware of, when you break a commitment: you have an effect not only on yourself, but also on the person to whom you made the commitment . . . and even to others, as well. In the example of a partner in a marriage having an affair and breaking a commitment to the spouse, not only will the spouse be affected, but also the children, the extended family, the person with whom the affair is taking place, that person’s family, and perhaps many more. If the affair is with someone at the office, the whole office can be affected. If the affair is at the office and the office is a country’s government, who knows how many people will be affected…people not only in the country but all over the world?

I teach all of this to my clients over the course of their working with me. I help my clients step by step in the process of learning about and working with their commitments. I assist them in seeing what is coming up that tempts them or leads them to break a commitment, and to see it as something within them calling to be healed . . . so they can return to their commitment and continue with it to fulfillment. And I have the privilege and honor of watching them grow and develop as a result. This is what our leaders need to be modeling for us. This is what our media needs to be helping us to learn just in the way they present the news to us. This is what we need to be insisting on from our leaders, from our media, and both from and for ourselves. Otherwise, we stay undeveloped, unmatured beings who don’t expect any more of ourselves today than we did yesterday or tomorrow than we do today. Is that what we want for ourselves and our children?

© Judith Barr, 2012.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As we near the end of the year, and the beginning of a new year, instead of making a resolution this year, commit to explore your own relationship with commitment, and the impact it’s made on your life and the lives of those around you.

Ponder the commitments you’ve made in your life . . . commitments to your relationships, to your children, to your career, to others, to yourself . . . What did you feel when you prepared to make that commitment? When you actually did make the commitment? Was it a full commitment, or were you only partially committed? Were you aware of the partial or full nature of the commitment you were making? And after you made that commitment . . . did feelings arise in you that led you to want to break your commitment?

Before, during, and after you make a commitment, explore the feelings that arise in you, things that may lead you to break your commitment. Have you felt this way before? When? And when before that? Trace those feelings back as far as you can in your life. And, of course, if you need help exploring and healings those feelings, rather than acting out on them, seek the help of a good therapist to untangle your present feelings from your ancient wounds, and truly heal your feelings about your commitment to the root.

One of the most important commitments we can make is to the healing of our relationship with commitment. Imagine the effect on our lives, the life of our country, and the life of our world . . . if everyone healed this to the root, and could make full, real, lasting commitments!

IT’S ABOUT TIME! TREATMENT IS A BETTER SOLUTION THAN WE IMAGINE!

With all the very real distress Congressman Anthony Weiner has created and is creating . . . there are actually some gifts if we would open them, and if we could see them as gifts.

Imagine! We are seeing more and more just how much wounding there is in our country and our world related to our sexuality . . . not only in Anthony Weiner but in our country and our world! Treatment is a better solution than we imagine!

Imagine! We are knowing more clearly still how profoundly people misuse and abuse their power . . . not only Anthony Weiner, but all of us. Treatment is a better solution than we imagine!

Imagine letting yourself take in how much people fight against the truth in every way they can – with distraction, diversion, confrontation, arrogance, denial, repression, and outright lying. . . . not only Anthony Weiner, but everyone. It’s become part of our culture. Treatment is a better solution than we imagine!

Imagine if people could see that real treatment – the kind of therapy that can help us heal to the root – is not just for someone who has done something destructive that makes the front pages, but is something for all our leaders! Imagine if all our leaders were required to have done a major part of their own therapy before becoming a leader! Treatment is a better solution than we imagine!

And what about our citizens? For we all have wounds that are creating more suffering and more wounds in our lives, in those around us, and in our world. Treatment is a better solution than we imagine!

Imagine if we all did our own inner healing work . . . what a different world we would create together!

© Judith Barr, 2011

WHAT DO LYING AND SEX SCANDALS REALLY MEAN – IN ELECTION SEASON AND EVERYDAY?

DSK, Arnold Scwarzenager, The Egyptian Banker, John Edwards again, and now Anthony Weiner . . . all within a month’s time. Do we have any idea what this means?

Misuse and abuse of sexuality is a red flag for the woundedness of our sexuality in this world we live in. Lying about it is a red flag for the wounded integrity in this world we live in. The wounded integrity and the broken trust. Being a leader who does both is a sign of the woundedness not only in the public but also in the leadership of our world.

We all have wounds to heal. The dearth of “good” leadership in our world is not due to people who are leaders having wounds. It is due to people who are leaders not working with their wounds to heal them to the root. When are we going to insist our leaders do their inner healing work? Apologizing is not enough. Resigning is not enough. Being investigated and tried isn’t enough. Having to experience the consequences of their actions is not enough all by itself.

When are we going to insist? When are we going to do our own inner healing work so that our insistence has real meaning . . . and integrity and trustworthiness?

© Judith Barr, 2011

THE POWER OF A PENIS

As someone with the deep intention of helping us to heal the misuse and abuse of power in our world and the wounding from which that abuse comes . . . I know only too well that we all have the potential to misuse and abuse our power. We all have wounds, some from our experience in our families and some from our experience in our communities, our culture, our world. One of our responses to the deep, intense, raw, painful feelings from our wounds, is to misuse and abuse the power we have . . . or to misuse and abuse in order to feel like we can grab some power from the places we have felt and perhaps still feel powerless. And who amongst us hasn’t felt powerless? Who amongst us hasn’t felt powerless as we were born? Who amongst us didn’t feel powerless as an infant? A baby? A child?

I know only too well that we all have the potential to misuse and abuse our power – men and women alike. Men and women of all ages, races, classes, sexual preferences, spiritual traditions.

At different times in my speaking, teaching, and writing about the issues of power and wounding, I focus on different aspects and different people who misuse and abuse their power. I have published an audio cassette about women abusing their power. I have led workshops about how people misuse their power with money. I have done individual sessions with both men and women related to how power was abused with them when they were children, and how they have misused or abused their power in response. And more.

Recently I wrote a post about the horrible treatment of women in our world, pinpointing some bills in Congress (bills supported by both men and women) that would be harmful to women in our country. Although it encompasses much more, the following post also has as part of its theme the abuse of power often directed at the women in our world..

I simply want you to know before you read today’s post that my scope is large. My work is with everyone, men and women. Although I have written much about the abuse of women by men, I know that women abuse their power, too, sometimes in blatant ways, often in subtle ways, and I do not want to give the impression that I have any bias against men. And I also want you to know that I will also be covering the feminine abuse of power in future posts in their own right timing and connection with events in our world.


If you have a penis and cannot use the power of your penis with respect for both you and everyone else . . . then how can you be trusted to use other power well?

Saturday, May 14, 2011: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, allegedly physically and sexually attacked a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel. He was mayor of Sarcelles. He was planning on running for President of France in 2012. He held positions of great power.

But we could ask the same question of many others who have held positions of great power – including Senator John Ensign, former President Bill Clinton, Senator John Edwards, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (who all had affairs, hid them, and lied about them), and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and then trying to cover it up through abuse of power).

Women misuse their power, too! Our focus right now, though, is on abuses we see directed at women, in a world where women are often treated so horribly and often still denied power . . . In a world where attempts to escalate the denial of power – the powerlessness – of women abound . . .  In a world where the patriarchy is not only firmly entrenched (in the minds and hearts of men and women alike) . . . but also in a world where efforts to reinstate and re-strengthen the patriarchy are underway in this very moment . . .

In a world where all of this is sadly, tragically normalized . . .

Today we will concentrate on this. . .

If you have a penis and cannot use the power of your penis with respect for both yourself and also everyone else . . . then how can you be trusted to use other power well?

The power of your physical strength. The power of your mind. The power of your position – in your family, in your place of work, in your leadership in and out of government. The power of money – in your individual life and in any group in which you have the power to utilize money and make decisions about money. The power of the law – on the street, at the police station, in court, in lawmaking bodies, in executive bodies. The power of the truth. And yes, even the power of love.

We all need to ask ourselves these questions.
Those of us who have a penis and do not use our power well.
Those of us who have a penis and, although we use the power of our penis well, we have thoughts and feelings in which we don’t – thoughts and feelings that are signs to us of something needing to be healed.
Those of us who don’t have penises and misuse our power, too – perhaps in relation to adult men who have penises; perhaps in relation to male babies and children; perhaps in relation to other females.
And those of us who don’t have penises and need to discern who to trust and who not to trust.

We have a lot of work to do . . . Will you do your part?

© Judith Barr, 2011