Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Nevertheless She Persisted: Silenced

I’m continuing with my series of pieces stemming from emotions felt whilst reading this article and also considering the events in my parish over the past 16 years.

I've called this piece Nevertheless She Persisted: Silenced

It seems to me that within the RCC women can be used to do so much of the work in the Church, without which parishes all over the world would fold, and so many people’s lives would be the poorer. Yet when they voice concerns or needs, those same women are so easily overlooked.
In my Diocese, multiple women's writings and opinions can be ignored, but one man's letter of concern brings about some small action from the Archbishop (passing on a letter) and a personal 'phone call from the Bishop to that man! Still nothing is done about our situation – naturally - but he is listened to and spoken to, unlike we women.

Anyway! This is what came from all that emotion! As long as our bodies keep on doing what is necessary for the RCC to survive, the voice can be ignored.
So many male clergy in this Diocese, to varying degrees and in various ways, seem to think nothing of acting to silence women. Whether it be refusing to discuss, even confidentially, a priest who has caused so much destruction because ‘I was at Seminary with him,’ or gently changing the subject and shutting down conversation with ‘oh well, he was like that in Seminary,’ through to hierarchy not only refusing to acknowledge the very existence of some women, but ordering those under their command to act in the same way. Of course, nobody dares dissent from such a powerful man lol! Faith and morals don't come into it - all must obey the command of the Archbishop, unquestioningly! Subtle, or not so subtle ways of achieving the same end – the silencing of women.

What is also truly amazing and perhaps even galling and distressing, is how many women simply accept the treatment meted out to them by such clergy – and in society generally. So many just give up, resign themselves to remaining unheard or unacknowledged. Either walk away to somewhere they hope the grass will be greener (false hope oftentimes it turns out) or remain and absorb the slight, take upon themselves the sadness and merely hope - silently - for better times (which may or may not come, of course).

So, to the lady indicating that she, but also we other, women must remain silent, I added flowers to represent the beauty and ‘harmony’ of women - as described in the article. Then I added a representation of the crown of thorns - for the sacrifices women worldwide make both in what they do and in what they are not permitted to do – including, of course, use their voice. There are scratches and drips of blood from the thorns - scars that may never fade.
The background is rather chaotic, as society, both within the RCC and without, fight for this cause or that, trying to make the world a better place - and yet it doesn't happen fast enough if at all. I kept the colours muted and the piece overall quite dark, to represent the shadows that women must, in such circumstances as described, live within. When anybody is shut down by others, cast aside, and their voice not even heard let alone valued, they are prevented from living a full – and colourful! – life. More abuse.

There is a more prominent ‘ONE WAY’ sign close to her – when these men shut down women, refuse to communicate, refuse to prevent abuse, and instruct others to do so also, there can be only one way – their way.

A few straight lines suggest the box that women are restrained within when their voice is not considered and not heard.

Perhaps a dark piece, or perhaps a positive piece – the woman looks strong to me and doesn’t appear as if she is going to give up! She almost mocks those who think they can shut her up! She's not silenced - yet!
Bernie x

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