It is 3 in the morning in my barracks room and I’m lying in my rack still holding my breath; my head is swirling, grasping to understand. He finally left. All my combat training skills and I didn’t stop him...I just froze...I’m a damn Marine, for God’s sake...I should have hit him...I just froze...I should have pushed him off of the top bunk where I lay...I should have screamed...I just froze...I know how to fight, but I froze...
It wasn’t until recently, 15 years after my sexual assault in the Marine Corps, that I actually acknowledged to myself that it occurred. The mind is an amazing thing when it comes to surviving trauma, and women are skilled survivors. We have a lot of experience with it, but we need to get beyond accepting survival as enough. We need to change the cultures and communities that continue to allow our traumas to occur. We need to stop blaming ourselves...stop blaming each other. We need to become unfrozen!
While serving in the Marine Corps, I learned tactics that achieved change by force. These strategies, based on a masculine paradigm of physical and intellectual power, left me, as a woman, feeling disempowered—at times completely powerless. The military culture goes beyond just devaluing anything feminine; it encourages the complete eradication and destruction of femininity. The only thing feminized in the military is the enemy. The military is a microcosm of the larger, dominant culture, and it is a startling truth to accept that our feminine power and qualities are perceived as the enemy.
Here’s the ultimate paradox: women serving in very “powerful” positions often find themselves isolated in the fortress of masculine structures—from the military to corporations—that cut them off from accessing their authentic power. The more powerful they become, the less likely they are to form and maintain essential partnerships with other women. So, the common definitions of power, as defined by extreme masculine values, divide and isolate us, and keep us frozen in our fear–silent and small–no matter how “powerful” we appear. If we internalize masculine values as “truth,” then we come to believe the very source of our power is the enemy.
But the fierce feminine is powerful and tenacious! When I see the truth of authentic feminine power reflected back to me in my sisters’ eyes and words, that truth wakes up in me like a raging dragon. Its breath of fire melts the ice-cold fear that keeps me frozen.
Our collective spirit–rooted in our intuition and feminine wisdom—will lift us beyond survival and inspire us to challenge the paradigms that keep us frozen. My connections through Pulsewire and other Internet programs are the solutions because they connect me to my sisters across the globe, and remind me that I am not alone and I do not need to fear my feminine power; it is not the enemy. It is the truth of my being and my most essential weapon for change.