How Far Back Do We Have To Go?

How far back do we go to when men respected the rights of women? When was it possible for a woman to say ‘no’ to a man, about anything? Is there a time when women had the ability to stand up, say no and not be brutally punished for it in some way? The answer to any of these questions and many more is, there was not ever a time when that was possible, until the brave women of the Women’s Rights Movement began their crusade.

The first Women’s Rights Movement, also called The Women’s Suffragette Movement began in the United States July 19-20, 1848 when a summit was held in Seneca Falls, New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton from Johnstown, New York and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker abolitionist, organized the beginning of a long and arduous journey of women to be able to say ‘No’ and have a chance to not lose everything.

It wasn’t until August 20, 1920, relatively speaking not that long ago, when women were given the right to vote. Much more recently we are still working on the premise that men do as they want, women do as they’re told.

To this day, the value of a woman and her rights to say ‘no’ and ‘I don’t agree’ are less than any male. The idea of #METOO as a movement has been a very long time in coming.

The history lessons are there for us to find answers as to why this occurred. Before Women’s Rights, a woman had to allow her husband to have full ‘control’ over her, her body, their children, property and finances. When will women find the support to stand up to a man? This idea of #METOO is finally having merit in the evidence that allowing anyone that much power over another human being will always lead to disaster.

This is not a movement against the male population. These ideas of entitlement have been passed down through the generations since the beginning of time. How far back do we go to recognize when men behaved in an intolerable manner toward women? We can go as far back as there have been men and women.

Let’s go back to cavemen times. Were women treated acceptably then? Was the value of a woman held in high regard during those times? How about through the ages? When could it be definitively said women had rights to be treated fairly?

How difficult was it for women to be heard, to be considered as deserving of acceptable treatment from men? Imagine a man’s initial response to the idea of ‘Women’s Rights.’ We can see the scoffing; condescending attitude men had and still do.

This movement of #METOO is not just in this generation, it has been ongoing since the beginning of time. In the beginning of the Women’s Suffragette Movement, men fought against the rights of women so fervently that women advocates were jailed, had their property and children taken away from them and put their lives in peril.

How many men go into divorce court stating that their wives deserve to get far less out of the settlement than they do because they were the one bringing in the money, or if both worked, the man made more than the woman. Almost every divorce court case will begin with this premise that since the man worked, he deserves much more than the mother of his children as well as those children.

Has this view of men to women changed? As a therapist, I see the impact of the punishment men deal out to the woman who dares leave him because his behaviors are less than ideal.

Has much changed since caveman time? No, not really. What has changed, slowly but surely, is the ability for women to defiantly state “No!” and “I don’t agree!” Many women don’t put up with that unacceptable behavior any longer. Often, when they marry and have children they see right away how much has not changed with male attitudes.

Again, this is not against male or female. The topic of ‘Let’s Talk About It’ would be better served as the entitlement of men to use any woman, or more sickening, young girl for their own pleasure without consideration for the person. How far back do we have to go to find if there was ever a time when men were considerate of women where male needs are concerned?

Consideration was and is the first to go when a combination of alcohol and male pride are concerned.

Let’s talk about it.

Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact:

#womensrights #METOO

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