bring back our girls (and young women)



The missing girls and young women is a tragedy that we are all grappling with. Posting our shock on FB seems to alleviate our conscience. We can show each other that it matters and we care. However it feels so futile when I think about angry men with guns, and hatred in their eyes. Even the mournful face of Michelle Obama feels weightless.


I have been wondering when the abuse of females started. Not just women and girls but the planet itself, and all things considered female.


And I remember “be the change you want to see in the world” – and I peer into myself. Where have I abandoned or neglected or abused tender, innocent or young parts of myself. Or even older and wiser and ageing parts of myself? How am I responsible of self abuse?


What I find terrifying about this inner inquiry is how generational and unconscious our suppression and subliminal abuse of all things female is, how embedded in our collective psyche. This can be seen in recent fb conversations I have read-  underarm hair…or even why there are no female master artists in The Bahamas. And a recent conversation about mothers telling girls not to touch themselves. When we peer under the surface of our society and look at the hidden dynamics that cause the consensus, there is a dark undertow, against many things female.

What has this to do with the abducted girls and young women?


Because every thought we have about ourselves as women, and every thought men have about women, shapes our world. If it were unacceptable for ourselves, it would be unacceptable in the world. But every day inside and out, in a million ways, we accept some sense that being female is not quite right. My list is too long, but some examples would be: how we birth children, how we raise children, how we feed children, how we mother children, how we feel expected to look, how we feel about our periods; how we feel about sex; how we feel about ageing; how we view our bodies; how we dress; how we express anger or suppress feelings; how we talk about other women; how we criticize ourselves; careers and money.

To be the change I want to see in the world, I am trying to pause from my habitual responses to everything I feel society expects from me as a woman. And to be open to thinking about these and other issues in a more holistic way- in a way unpolluted by society’s expectations. To find all those millisecond thoughts of self judgement based only on my gender.To reclaim myself when I have abdicated my abilities because of my gender. And to delve into my inner being and find all the parts of me, I or others have found unacceptable, or have been abused or neglected and gently return them home to myself.

As I long, with all my heart, for those abducted young women and girls to return home. And for the men who took them to choose to celebrate all that is female – in all its vast and complex diversity.




  1. judith schmidt

    dear susan thank you so much for this writing….i hear your protest for the abuse placed upon women, by we women ourselves with what we have taken in since childhood, and by the men who are threatened by the feminine, who do not want their young nigerian women to become learned. As an older woman, i have all to do to stand in the dignity of my white hair and my wrinkled face, in all of my wabi sabi self and i am so proud to do so. thank you for the consciousness you give words to!

    on another note, susan, you were much missed in the bahamas dream group this past february…. much love judith

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