I am currently reading ‘Cassandra Speaks’ – When women are the storytellers, the human story changes, by my friend Elizabeth Lesser.
You may or may not know the story of Cassandra, so here is an extract from the book:
Cassandra was a princess from the city of Troy. She was the most beautiful of King Priam and Queen Hecuba’s daughters. As such, she had many suitors, both mortal and immortal. Zeus, the king of the gods, was after Cassandra, as was his son, Apollo. To woo her, Apollo gave her something only a god could give – the coveted gift of seeing into the future. But when he tried to seduce her, Cassandra refused his sexual advances. This enraged Apollo. Instead of just taking the gift of prophecy away, he grabbed her, spat in her mouth, and put a curse on her. “You will remain clairvoyant, Cassandra, ‘he said,’ but now no one will listen to you, no one will believe you.”
In Australia this week, there have been roughly forty marches in various states to protest the lack of attention and action on gender-based violence. Women (men and children) were demanding to be heard by our current government.
The last few weeks have bought to the spotlight the prevalence of women not being heard, and if they are listened to, they are diminished, or not believed.
On the morning of the marches, the organisers were invited to meet with the prime minister in his office. They refused the meeting saying that it would be more productive if he came out and listened to the women on the streets and listened to their stories. He refused their invitation.
And the women marched.
And they told their stories.
Some from the stage.
Some from the street.
Some silently in their hearts, because that is what they have done for decades; kept their truth silent in their hearts, their bodies, their nightmares.
Some have blocked out their stories; life is more liveable that way.
Some have chosen not to live.
Cassandra was the first woman whose truth was dismissed.
And here we are today, roughly 2,700 years later, still cursed.
As a survivor of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, like many women this week, I am reflecting on the situations, scenarios, and stories woven into my life.
I have learned to hold compassion for myself, and I feel grateful that I can use my experiences to hold compassion for others.
Others cannot give themselves that compassion.
We are all wounded in our own unique ways, and our wounds can heal others if we can heal them for ourselves.
Ask to be heard.
Ask to be believed.
Ask for support.
Ask yourself what you need to heal.
Wishing you a weekend of compassion for yourself and others.