30 Oct We Must Say “NO”
Over the last several weeks, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about the treatment of women by men. Much of this has come about as a result of comments by a presidential candidate, but the conversation started long before that with reports of sexual assault by famous men in entertainment, sports and politics as well as the abuse of women on college campuses. The truth is that most women, at some point in time, will experience some form of mistreatment whether it be blatant disrespect, domestic abuse or sexual assault/rape.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled “You Can Say No.” It was a reflection on Queen Vashti in the book of Esther. I will not repeat the post here but I encourage you to go back and read it. In that post, I focused on the fact that we, as women, have to demand respect and to say “no” to things that don’t fit within our values, beliefs or priorities.
In the story of Queen Vashti, we find that she loses her husband and her position as queen because of her “no.” She refused to submit to the king’s demand to attend his party of drunken men so that he could show off her beauty. The king and his male advisors became upset. They viewed her refusal as disrespect and were concerned that it would send the wrong message to the other women in the kingdom. In their words, “there would be no end to the disrespect and discord (Esther 1:18)” once the other women had found out what Queen Vashti had done. Sadly, this mentality has not changed in many countries of the world where women are still considered inferior with no voice. Even here in the U.S., many men still get upset and refuse to hear a woman when she says “no.”
Ladies, we must continue to say “no.” We must say “no” to being called out of our names. We must say “no” to being viewed and treated as mere physical objects. We must say “no” to anyone putting their hands on us without an invitation or request (and then only in a manner that we deem appropriate). We must say “no” to ANY form of physical, emotional or mental abuse.
Our “no” must be loud and unmistakable. It cannot be a quiet whisper or a “no” stated as a question. We must shout “NO” to any form of disrespect or abuse that we hear, see or experience.
Queen Vashti lost her crown when she refused the king’s order but she gained a robe of honor and dignity. It is time for us to fully embrace and demand the respect and honor that we deserve. We must say “no.”