2015-06-24 Legacies: Does this succeed in explaining the relationship between war (killing) and disrespect for women?
Consider the current debacle in Canada over how women are treated in
- the military
- the RCMP
- on campus (Dalhousie dental students and other examples)
- in the kitchens of some restaurants.
Consider in the light of the appended letter written in 1947.
The letter is father-to-son, following the son’s marriage. It is an inter-generational transfer of wisdom, including how the husband should treat the wife. A couple of terms will be offensive to some, but vernacular evolves – this was rural Saskatchewan almost 70 years ago. The father and son are my Grandfather and Father.
The viewpoint is highly empathic with women. The letter instructs how to treat the woman you marry. But in practice, my Grandfather extended that attitude outside the home – values that he lived.
In the post-war years there wasn’t much in the way of social programmes. (The war ended in 1945; the letter was written in 1947.) “JV” or “Vern” quietly assisted widows in caring for their children (Luseland was his community. Maybe it was because he knew the men who had been killed. These were their wives and children. Maybe he felt a duty? I don’t know . . . all I ever knew while he was alive is that he had friends. I didn’t know that some of them needed help and he gave it. He was energetic in his relationships, which includes with me.)
As was the father, so was the son. My Father, all his life, held men who were disrespectful of women in contempt.
There is a large connection between war and the treatment of women. I think you can gain understanding of the treatment of women in society by looking at the treatment of women in times of war.
THE PROFUNDITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DISRESPECT FOR WOMEN AND WAR (MILITARY EXPERIENCE)
I have been gifted by quirks of fate that barred my Father and my Grandfather from going overseas in the world wars.
The family legacy of respect for women would more likely (not necessarily, but “more likely”) have been one of disrespect, had they been in the killing fields.
A take-away for me, it hit me like a ton of bricks, from Keith Lowe’s book “Savage Continent“:
(it is historically men who go to the killing fields, not women – – I would be saying “men and women” were this not the case)
We should not be surprised, the historical record is abundant with examples: angry men use women (physically weaker) to vent their anger and other emotions, also to try and establish some sense of control over lives gone out-of-control. Women are a valve through which to release violence.
Every soldier who returns from war necessarily brings hidden threads of violence with him. The more people we send to the killing fields, the more violence we are creating in our own country.
People who are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually healthy do not value killing other people.
Men (people) whose values have been betrayed one way or another, whose self-determination has been taken, who have been manipulated or conditioned into hatred, who have been robbed of their strength, who are robbed of their ability to be “providers” to their families, can be expected to extract a toll from their society.
The dropping of bombs has one outcome: increasing the violence in the world, in ways that we know and do not know, reference (2015-06- 06) Epigenetics & Trauma. A further consideration, cellular memory passed inter-generationally.
The violence is a failure of every aspect of our being, except for the force of the brute.
You may understand why I have no love for Mother’s Day. It has been desecrated. It had a noble birth in 1870 as a movement by women to put an end to the practice of sending their sons to the killing fields. If we can do that, we can start to reverse the violence in our society and in others. (2007-05-14 Origin of Mother’s Day, 1870 & Jezile, Son of Man).
EXCERPT, SAVAGE CONTINENT:
Taken from (2015-01-02) Collaborators and Vengeance. Savage Continent, Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe.
. . . Commanders in all the Allied armies turned a blind eye to the excesses of their men; and civilians took advantage of the chaos to redress years of impotence and victimization by dictators and petty tyrants alike.”
. . . Nonetheless, the violence committed in vengeances’s name was appalling and widespread. Women and children were victimized over and over again; the most famous instances involved French women whose heads were shaved by angry mobs because they had slept with Germans or otherwise collaborated, but uncountable thousands of women and children were maimed or killed simply because somebody had the inclination, for whatever reason, to do so.
NOTE: the author of this review doesn’t name rape; the book documents the horrific raping of women in uncountable thousands, in Europe, in the chaotic aftermath of World War Two (systems of Government broken).
As mentioned, Savage Continent is powerful testament to the truth of the idea that disempowered, angry men take out their alienation on the weaker sex.
The Americans have been in wars now, for decades. Non-stop. That means a steady flow of violence back into the U.S.A. Like ebola spreading. A disease, but this one brought upon oneself.
CANADA ENTERED THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. AND NOW MORE WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
The behaviour is terribly regressive.
Derek asked What should be our focus? Maybe we should focus on exposure of the degree to which American foreign policy (war) is being shepherded into Canada? A betrayal of our values.
If my son went to the killing fields, and returned, he would necessarily be burdened with emotional, psychological and spiritual scars. As good a person as he is, it would be very difficult for him, at some time of high stress, NOT to vent the betrayal of his values in an inappropriate action against someone. The family legacy of respect for women would be placed in jeopardy. . . . Here’s the letter from my Grandfather to my Father. From me to my son:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
March 1947, FAMILY LEGACY, FROM MY GRANDFATHER
McCORMICK-DEERING FARM OPERATING EQUIPMENT
CHEVROLET CARS, HARDWARE, GAS & OILS
You have married one of our finest girls and entered into a mutual partnership for Life. There are many pitfalls that create dissension and so often wreck lives and homes. We think both you and Valerie have enough good hard common sense to never fall into them.
The easiest one to fall into is criticism. It is the most senseless of all and most of the criticisms are so trivial as to be not even worth mentioning still they are the one thing that undermines the very foundation of happiness and so often leads to disaster.
We know you well enough that you will always have a common purse. The woman earns one half the salary as truly as the man and is entitled to her share. Some men never divulge their financial plight to their wives for fear they will think them inferior in the battle of Life. What a sad mistake. Many a shipwreck on the shores of finance, with all its disastrous consequences is due to the fact the wife never realized the condition of the finances. No one will be as careful or spend as stintingly as a woman if she knows the true financial status of the family. Never let your wife beg for a dollar. Hand your purse to her and she will never abuse the privilege. They say the humiliation of begging for every dollar has broken more homes than any other single factor.
Differences of opinion will happen in every family. That’s the very spice of Life. Every remark we make in the street is challenged. Just make a remark in a body of people and almost every one has a different opinion. Never build difference of opinion into a volcano till there is an eruption.
If wifee gets peeved and 999 times out of 1000 she is justified, smile, just smile. Come back to the house with a hearty laugh and she will laugh with you. Never sulk. I once had a friend who refused to speak for 2 and 3 weeks at a time. This is the most contemptible, lowest, vilest, meanest form of torture on earth. If that man had come back at supper time singing as he walked up the path, and hearty “hello, Mother” the clouds would all have disappeared and happiness would have flooded into that home like a ray of sunshine and washed away any tears-if there were some. Instead of that it was the opposite and when he passed on, it was a sweet relief and release for the whole family and they did not hesitate to express it.
The woman always has the worst of Life’s partnership. The slavery and drudgery of house work, the same thing over and over again, cooking, washing dishes, sewing, mending, sweeping, washing, ironing, darning day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year—-the long hours of waiting , waiting, waiting, late meals, all the long hours of back breaking toil that are too often thought so little of and too little appreciated.
Compare it with a man’s work, the constant mingling amongst people, the pleasant and lighter tasks of selling, talking, laughing, loafing, the ever changing scene. Outside in the sunshine, visiting farmers, running out to the farm in the car with the radio running—just the loveliest kind of a life while the wee wife is home slaving over a hot stove on a hot day trying to make a pleasing and tasty meal for her husband. Remember her meals are always good—some are better than others. A wife always appreciates a little praise instead of the silence or criticism.
You and Valerie have pushed the boat out into the Stream of Life and the only thing that counts as you drift along in the current is Happiness. Nothing else matters. You both can be happy and it is so easy if both just use your good common sense.
No couple in this community ever started out in life with such a good start and so many good chances. Make the best of it. Smile, laugh, sing as you go, never scold. There’s nothing can blot out the sheer joy of living.
Your mother and Dad’s hearts go with you in wishing you both all the good fortune, all the happiness in the world, good health and long life.
Love—oceans of it
Dad and Mother.