My friend, JoAnn and I were sharing a couple of appetizers at a very nice restaurant in Connecticut. We were surrounded by regulars, barflies, and others looking to find someone with whom they would share their night – or their life.

Meeting JoAnn you get the idea she entered life fully formed. Smart, beautiful, and brutally honest, people listen to her, and they should. Her words carry the weight of someone who has walked through the fire  . . . and come out the other side not wounded and fearful, but stronger and filled with wise compassion. You don’t mess with her. Not because you’ll get in trouble if you do, but because she simply won’t allow it. She can’t tolerate anything or anyone who is not genuine. She has that kind of rare courage.

JoAnn doesn’t judge and refuses to be judged. So, she was perfectly comfortable telling me how terrible men can sometimes be to women . . . and why so many women allow it to happen.

She punctuated her point with five words that left me speechless and staring at my calamari like an idiot. “It’s a holocaust of women!”

She struck me with a rare, perfect truth. It’s a holocaust of women.

With those five words I finally saw every moment of history scorched by the fire into which we have thrown women. And it only burns hotter as women struggle out of the molten furnace, an inferno fueled by their purely feminine dreams, ideas, spirits, and hearts.

Men, all men, are guilty of this eternal arson. We started the fire. We fan its insatiable flames. And by doing nothing to extinguish it, we have emasculated our own gender. Men and women have been diminished by our man crimes. All of humanity suffers, yet again, at the hands of arrogant men, men who refuse to see beyond the limitations inherited by our fathers.

Am I being too hard on men? I haven’t even gotten started. And please keep in mind, I don’t give a damn.

How many extraordinary, life-altering works of art, pieces of music, books, inventions, discoveries, philosophies, laws, medicines, sermons . . . and daughters, have been lost to the collective of our human experience simply because they were born of a woman?

All that could have been is lost forever in the smoke of the holocaust of women.

The story of Malala Yousufzai alone is enough to convict men. Malala is a 15-year-old girl who had the audacity to speak openly for the education of females in Pakistan. She was shot in the head for her opinions. It was men who shot her. And as a man, you and I have no right to judge those who pulled the trigger. What I am telling you is that the terrible evil that brought those men to shoot a little girl is in each of us.

Her courage blatantly exposes the cross cultural cowardice carried out by men throughout time, by all of us.

This is not an exceptional case because she is a young woman of courage. There are countless women and girls like her hidden throughout the centuries. No. Hers is a story worth telling because the bullets missed that beautiful young mind.

It is a truth we must face because this time men failed to do to Malala Yousufzai what they have succeeded in doing to women and girls every day since humans became sentient beings.

Perhaps we have finally entered a point in our evolution as a species where bullets cannot kill an idea . . . or the women who boldly express them. The world knows about Malala now. That would not have been true only a few years ago. Now we not only recognize her act of valor, but its place in a long journey of previously shrouded women who were shot, burned, tortured, raped, mutilated, imprisoned or simply ignored for their courage.

So don’t kid yourself into thinking that American men have evolved beyond the millennia of cerebral hard wiring nor strict cultural training that continues the Holocaust of Women.

We are brilliant at MANanipulating women into thinking they must be controlled, limited, even suppressed by the men, or the man, in their lives. They believe they are not complete without one from whom they take their commands.

Certainly, these are not men at all. Not one among this type can truly be described as a man. They are puppet masters, seeking to tie their strings to whatever woman will willingly be ensnared by them. We have convinced women that they need us for all the wrong reasons. From troubled victims of the sex industry who refuse to disconnect from their pimps to professional women who cannot let go of that one man who continues to bring her sorrow and loss, why are women so eager to be enslaved by these charming and destructive males?

Fathers forever set the value of self-worth in the minds of their daughters. As fathers we have become unknowingly brilliant at convincing our daughters that they are only as good as we say they are. It is no wonder that women blindly seek men who treat them as well – or more often – as poorly as did their own fathers. They will do anything to fill the void their fathers created: an emptiness of spirit, an abandoned and fearful heart.

As fathers, we have refused to provide the emotional intimacy our daughters need, and crave, to nurture the greatness waiting within them. We don’t openly kill it, of course. But we do ignore it. The result is the same. It lies dormant until she climbs up beyond our ignorance and discovers the depth of her being . . . or it waits for another man to enter her life and suppress her once again. This, after all, is what we’ve taught her to do: let the man take you, posses you, control you, no matter what you must sacrifice.

The worst damage we do to women is force our own fear and pain upon them. As a result, they become terrified of experiencing the thing they are best at, the most valuable and important dynamic of the human experience: brilliant emotional intimacy.

Each time this happens the cost is yet another life unlived.

Ultimately, men lead her to the fire. There, the flames gladly consume whatever she would have become, whatever love she would have shared, whatever help she would have given, whatever frontier she would have discovered, whatever healing, help, genius, compassion, humor, and courage – her divine gifts – that were so ready to flourish and inspire.

No doubt our world would be a far better one if the women who have been lost to their holocaust – a holocaust started and maintained by men – had been able to stand up and become fully formed. No doubt it would have taken far better men to extinguish those murderous flames, men courageous enough to stand back and let women be women.

 

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