We conduct workshops and meetings with young people and doctors and medical students and so many other groups and discuss issues around safe abortion, unsafe abortion, stigma, gender power and patriarchy and sexism.
Sometimes the participants feel overwhelmed by these issues. They say these are such entrenched social and cultural issues and they seem to be so complex and tangled and they ask “But what Can I do??”
“I am just one person and I have very little influence and power.”
“I am only a student, how can I oppose the system?”
“I am only a nurse, how can I challenge patriarchy in medicine?”
Dr Martin Luther King had said the greatest tragedy is the silence of good men. And women.
So, paradoxically, the easiest thing to do and sometimes the most difficult thing to do is simply to just SPEAK UP.
When any one of us speaks up, it amplifies the voices of all women. When any one of us opposes a sexist and offensive post on a Whatsapp group, it will make 10 others think twice before they share it on. When any one of us offers a sensitive hearing to a girl or a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy and help her obtain a safe abortion, we could save a life. When any one of us posts a strong gender sensitive, safe abortion supportive message on social media, it can get a few people thinking about things differently.
When all of us move into public forums, whether offline like the women in Poland on Black Monday, or online like a Tweet-a-thon, we can make all those in power sit up and pay attention.
We can create a critical mass of people who are aware of the issues and understand the gender discrimination and rights violations are issues that are impacting women and girls every day, in every aspect of their lives. We can ensure that abortion is always spoken of and understood as an integral part of a woman’s life.
Together we can create a movement. Together we can make a difference. We can aim to create an equal and just society where women have control over their body and life.
And it all starts with each one of us.