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Abuse and Violence

I’m happy to announce the release of my new book called:  Abuse and Violence:  Reasons and Remedies.  It’s a compilation from the Bahá’í Writings and offers many quotes not found in other sources.  For more information, please go to:  http://bahailifecoach.com/publications#post-1

According to the United Nations one in three women will experience violence during her lifetime and one in six men will be abused.  The Bahá’í Writings teach:  “Among the signs of moral downfall in the declining social order are the high incidence of violence within the family, the increase in degrading and cruel treatment of spouses and children, and the spread of sexual abuse. It is essential that the members of the community of the Greatest Name take the utmost care not to be drawn into acceptance of such practices because of their prevalence. They must be ever mindful of their obligation to exemplify a new way of life distinguished by its respect for the dignity and rights of all people, by its exalted moral tone, and by its freedom from oppression and from all forms of abuse.”

The struggle to end violence on this planet is a battle on four levels – emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical.  It requires every bit of our strength, our courage, our fierceness.  It means speaking out when everyone says to be quiet.  It means going the distance to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, even when we know that punishment does not make abusive people behave better.  It means honoring the truth even if it means losing family, country and friends.  It means developing the spiritual muscle to enter and survive the grief that violence brings and, in that dangerous space of stunned unknowing, inviting the deeper wisdom.

The process of healing from violence is long and happens in stages.

Those of us who have been abused have a responsibility to turn something horrible into something positive, by sharing our stories.   We have to experience our rage, depression and desire for revenge and transform them through grieving and teaching and service.

In every community there are humble activist working every day, to undo suffering.  They sit by hospital beds, pass new laws, write boring proposals, beg for money, open safe houses, demonstrate and hold vigils in the streets.  We have not given up hope, but we are exhausted.  Yet with everything, we still laugh, work and continue to go on.  Despite it all, we still have the biggest, most sincere smile on our faces and demonstrate to others the enormous strength of the human spirit.  We know that compassion is the deepest form of memory.

If we were to hate the perpetrators, the perpetrators would have won.

Inequality is the primary form of violence.  Whether we were molested as children, raped or beaten in North America, stoned and publicly shamed in Pakistan, abducted and disappeared in Chile, suffered female genital mutilation in Kenya, subjected to systematic and widespread gang rape in Bosnia, beaten to death for not wearing a veil in Afghanistan, sold into sexual slavery in Northern Africa, burned with acid in Pakistan, sex-selective abortions and infanticide in China, dowry-related deaths and honor killings in India, beaten for refusing to have sex with a husband in Egypt,  honor killings in Bangladesh and women slowly being made extinct through gender genocide and war in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . the list goes on and on.

Every woman’s story is my story too.  I am a Canadian, I am a Bahá’í.  I am a citizen of the World.  I embrace the experience of women all over the world and I help them realize that we are one, that united we can face anything.  For more information, please go to:  http://bahailifecoach.com/publications#post-1