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2013 VOF Week 4

My personal vision for my life, my community and the world starts with challenging the world with the idea that men should “act like gentlemen, but think like women”; the idea that no girl is too small to have her voice heard; that no woman should be confined only to dream of achieving well-being, and to be limited to subsist, rather than exist at her maximum potential.
My personal vision of my community is one where boys are all taught that what makes a man truly be a man is not the number of sexual encounters, or at what early age they become sexually active (sometimes with a sex worker). That the adult men in their lives will teach them to honor and cherish women, as they honor and cherish their own selves, so that an affront against a girl or a woman in the streets, or in both private and public places should be addressed as if the affront was against their own self. That learning begins at home, and that if one out of every two women in our country is subjected to domestic violence, that there is something wrong with us as a nation because not even the laws have been able to change this shameful statistic. My vision of my community is that we accept that which is wrong with us as a collective, not for the sake of shaming each other, but for the sake of healing and shaping the generations to come.
My vision for the world is that we regard each other not based on our differences, but on what makes us the same: our humanity.
In the past people have told me I should write my story. I have often wondered about the purpose of writing a book about my life. What would it serve? Plus, in El Salvador, where half the population is under age 18, most people do not engage in reading for pleasure or for guidance. Evidence of that is in the two most common university degree programs: business administration and law. Most people are in survival mode and generally limit themselves to reading newspapers, or short narratives that do not take up much time and energy. Such is the way in my country. With that said, I have noticed a trend that has been a deviance from the norm: online reading. People have responded well to reading online, and mostly where they are opportunities to interact with others, including the author(s). The anonymity that the internet affords is a two-edged sword: some people may respond honestly and constructively, others may only engage for the sake of folly or even to further violence only, as is the case of cyber-bullying. I believe that corresponding online through a program like Voices of Our Future would be positive because of the nature of the networks involved. It would serve as a platform to create the messaging and engagement necessary to tackle topics that often cannot be addressed in person, perhaps because of safety concerns.
The beauty of this is that it goes beyond borders, both physical and conceptual. For example, most recently there has been a considerable amount of activity on the web about a Salvadoran woman named Beatriz who will die because of a high-risk pregnancy. The activity online has focused on the need for Salvadorans to have an urgent discussion about abortion. As I mentioned in my first post, abortion is illegal in El Salvador under ANY circumstance, even if the mother’s life is in danger. Beatriz will die without a therapeutic abortion, and cyberspace has been lit up with activity, including campaigns asking Salvadorans to answer “what if Beatriz was your daughter?” A similar case brought Ireland’s stance on abortion recently too, but in the case of Savita Halappanavar, it was too little, too late. So, whether it is Ireland or El Salvador, whether it is abortion or violence against women, the possibilities to raise awareness and find common ground to catalyze change are exponentially greater for someone who has the skills to do this. That is why I want to be a Voices of Our Future correspondent.

Comments

mikabo's picture

VOF Listener

Dear Susanncruz,

Thank you for your essay. When you write about what it is like in your country, people who have never been to Latin America learn about your world from your perspective. When people can hear/read what you have to say they are learning about your world from a "first hand" experience. There is no other way to learn about the truth of your country. This is a great responsibility. If we study El Salvador in books or online, chances are we will have an official story of what it is like. If we have access to women who do not presume to be PROFESSIONAL WRITERS but rather who have stories to tell, we will finally be seeing the REAL El Salvador. This is why you might want to write a book.

Today, writing a book means also having the ability to format your story for blogs, online journals and much more. Writing your experience is important because only you can write it and it is authentic. We, in America, are starving for authentic stories of true inspiration and survival. We want to know what is happening in the world! I can only imagine other countries are similar -- we want to know so we can relate to you. In this day and age, women need each other more than ever. Being conscious of your concerns will help me to navigate the choices I need to make.

I enjoyed your essay and learned a lot about your country but relatively little about you and your story. This is where you can really teach us about life in El Salvador. Don't discount your experience! It means a lot and if you learn to write about it honestly and deeply, you WILL change things for the women in your country.

Thank you for your aspirations and your actions. we are only beginning to see what the internet can reveal about our world. I am glad you are doing your part. Please share you story with us!

Sincerely,

MiKaBo

William's picture

The plans for your life

Dear Susanncruz, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I really must agree with MiKaBo about sharing more about your own life in writing. I am a published author in the US and have taken many writing courses and if you want people to turn the page you must involve yourself in your characters. Learning to write effectively takes time, practise and guidance. Don't give up your dream of helping to change the world. Blessings on your work.

Dear Susan

How difficult is for us women do not belong our bodies, our futures and our own decisions? As you may know abortion is also illegal in MExico; just imagine how many Beatrices wihout access to internet there are. You are very aware of these issues and how they are being neglected for religious or social reasons. I really hope you will be one of the voices of the future; we need your strong voice in the region.

Recibe un fuerte abrazo
Klaudia

Klaudia González

Yours is a voice that invites others to see your vision and to act to make them a reality. You stated the issues and the solutions eloquentlly. What a safe world it will be if all men respects women, if all people are treated fairly; if women are provided with reproductive health care services in every stage of their lives; if we respect and celebrate our diversity.

Hundreds of Filipino women experience the same fate like Beatrice, only because the government do not have political will to provide reproductive health services to women and young people. They are influenced by the Catholic church. Does religion interfere with political decisions in your country?

Tell us and write more. Good luck Susan!

susanncruz's picture

Thank you!

Hi Paulina,
religion definitely plays a role in political decisions in El Salvador, so much so that even though the Catholic faith suffered a blow in membership during the Civil War, the rise of a mix of Christian sects, mostly Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal, has not changed the status of women for the better.

Thank you, all, for your words of encouragement. It really is inspiring to read about what each of you does and that we share a common goal, and in some cases more than one! I look forward to staying connected and in touch.
Best,
Susan Cruz

Susan Cruz

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