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A Women’s Workshop in Melbourne, Australia

A women’s workshop, led by Louisa Flander,1 was held near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in May 2013. The following are comments from some of the participants:

I realized that working on one’s patterns in relation to the big picture of male domination is more effective than working on them one by one, at random. The sense of liberation is more visible, and the effects are more widespread. —Rie Shiraishi

I learned that the world is ours—we can’t wait for men. We have to back2 each other. Capitalism and sexism teach us to compete with other women—for example, via the beauty industry, marriage, and the sex industries. Owning-class men make huge profits off of this. —Debra Icely

Our mothers were girls going about3 their own lives when motherhood and the associated oppression came upon them. Mothers deserve no blame for the conditions that gave rise to our patterns. —Joani J.

I led a mums’4 support group. It was clear how well we had all done as mothers. And our mothers also did their best, which was bloody good5 considering what came at them when they were young. —Yehudit Koadlow

This workshop gave me an opportunity to notice the women I would like to have in my life and to fight against internalised oppression and claim my relationships with them. —Kelsey Dalton

I enjoyed each woman having three minutes to share a skill with the whole workshop. It was a wonderful way of seeing each woman shine. —Susan Moss

My goal is to stop judging women (which is what came at me) and instead put my mind on all the ways I appreciate them and want to be close to them. I also looked at what it was like to live on Wurundjeri land.6 I discharged on being in someone’s home uninvited and what it would be like in my white Protestant suburb if someone did that to me. I’ve decided to meet the original peoples from my area and build relationships with them as a contradiction to my racism. —Cynthia Johnston

I was reminded that I don’t want to be comforted in sessions or about my life choices but rather supported, as I was this weekend, to clear my innocent self of unasked-for patterns. Our world, our minds, our bodies, our mothers, our lives are all significant and worthwhile. We can claim them as our own, from this moment on. —Rachel Steinmann

Louisa gave us a picture of the many ways we are separated from each other because of sexism and male domination. I realised how I have been colluding with the oppressive society in the way I have thought about myself and other women. —Anne Barton

I now better understand how we collude with and prop up the system that hurts all of us. We women, separated by our internalised oppression, and racism and classism, often collude with the oppression to get some “benefits.” We leave each other, blame each other, and settle for truncated lives. We need to link arms, face our oppressor patterns and opportunism, give up settling, and risk discomfort—for a life of no limits. —Christine Marnane

I can choose and go after7 women, even and especially if I am restimulated by them. I am clear now that all restimulation is from old hurts. Discharge discharge discharge discharge! I am not as hurt as I like to think I am. Yay! Phew!8 Celebrate! —Natalie Krasnostein

These are no small matters: sexism, women’s liberation, and male domination. But we gathered and had a crack at them,9 a hopeful thing. How odd that some of us still don’t get together as women to “unpack” the hurts from the big issues that affect us every day, such as marriage, reproduction, and standards of beauty. I can see more clearly that any feelings about my mum are intertwined with the hurts of sexism, and that there is no path that dodges sexism and male domination. I can see that the most hopeful way forward is to discharge on what it takes to get closer to all women and that every woman can give me a hand10 to feel less isolated and live the big life I want—even if she doesn’t look like it to me! —Alex Hilvert

Reprinted from the newsletter
of the Melbourne, Victoria,
Australia, RC Community


1 Louisa Flander is the Area Reference Person for the Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, RC Community.
2 “Back” means support.
3 “Going about” means engaged in.
4 “Mums’” means mothers’.
5 “Bloody good” means very good.
6 Wurundjeri land is the land in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The traditional owners of this land are the Indigenous Wurundjeri people.
7 “Go after” means pursue, reach out to.
8 “Phew” is an exclamation that expresses relief.
9 “Crack at them” means chance to work on them.

10 “A hand” means some help.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00