Margaret Helen Dean – Int’l Women’s Day

“We want to see women rise. But we don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.”
Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister on International Women’s Day.

This week a friend recollected my mum as “an amazing chick” in our phone conversation. Her description made me smile. It reminded me of how modern mum was even though she had been imprisoned within the four walls of an old, oppressive and controlling religious convent for the first twelve years of her childhood.

The photograph above shows her coming up a series of steps within the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Ireland. It was taken more than 20 years ago. As I look back on her childhood I continue to be amazed at what she overcame and how she lived out the rest of her life. It really is a story of incredible courage and determination. She rose out of the ashes of her crushing childhood to produce the very best in many different ways. That’s why I’m honoring her today.

It’s interesting to know a United Nations special rapporteur-Maud de Boer-Buquicchio visited Ireland just last May and met with government representatives, Tusla, gardai and others. She said, “there is a culture of silence in Ireland around issues of childhood abuse and exploitation.” According to her report: “Ireland has made progress in recent years to prevent and respond to circumstances constituting sale or sexual exploitation of children, particularly in the areas of child marriage and ICT-related sexual exploitation. However, enough has not been done to provide information, accountability and redress to those who suffered abuse in the past in institutions and to those who were adopted in a manner that would almost amount to sale of children under international law.”

The special rapporteur also expressed concern that there is a lack of dedicated and integrated strategy to respond to violence (especially sexual violence) against children in Ireland today.

I like this quote. “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotion, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.”

L.R. Knost

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