Machismo

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If women see themselves as possessions of men, it is that much more impossible for men to think of women as anything else. Living in Honduras, where machismo is the norm, is much different than visiting such a country for vacation. I am trying to learn what to understand and accept in this culture and what to speak out against and stand up for regarding women’s rights. I realise that my idea of right or wrong will not always match that of others. Asking questions and listening gets me a lot farther than telling locals what women’s rights look like to me. Change has to come from a desire within each individual based on their own understanding of good and bad. It is the phrase “I am the woman of…” that is most difficult for me. Sometimes a woman is defined by this sentence. Her name is not important so much as what man she belongs to. More often than not the man a woman “belongs to” cheats and lies. If the woman is lucky, he works and helps care for the children. Violence towards women is most likely under-reported with the assaulting of a wife or girlfriend only being considered a crime since 1997. With lack of education, resources, and opportunities, there is very little to empower females to feel they can leave their situation when the alternative is being homeless and not feeding their children. Observing these women, hearing them, you can see that while they have adapted to their situation for survival and continue to be with men who treat them poorly, they find ways to show their dissatisfaction, to have a sense of control in the situation. They are strong in their silence, and it speaks. When I look at these women, I see it is not my job to change them so much as to understand them and show compassion. They want change, and they have the strength to make it happen. All Honduran women need are the tools to make the change they desire in their hearts. And it is in making that change themselves, that they will no longer find definition in the men they are with, but in their own individual strength and self-worth.

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