men dia pre’zhiuro

I swear . . . that I shall turn to no man for protection.

In an ideal world, or a less troubled one than this, a woman can live by her desired principles without sacrificing her well-being.

I take as my example the Oath of the Renunciates, credit to Marion Zimmer Bradley. Though it was designed for fiction, it resonates with me, and I find I like myself better when I live under those precepts. I am of value as a woman, the way I am made, and not held above other women if I take on male traits. I am a person; I deserve to be treated as a person; I deserve to interact with others as if we are all equally persons.

Therefore it pains me when I find myself in situations which demand that I violate the Oath. I despise myself when I require specifically the protection of a man. I read the above not as a withdrawal from the protections owed me by society, because the police employ women as well. (I hope there are genderqueer police. I do not know enough about it to say one way or another.) The only viable alternative, when I feel threatened by a far larger individual, is to seek safety in numbers. I could look to my partner, but he is male, and then I must be certain I am asking him as my beloved, as a dear person who happens to be six-foot-something and at least twice my size. I can swear it — will anyone believe it?

Best to avoid the need. But sad, because then I miss out on activities I might have enjoyed. But not so sad, because if a group is willing to prioritise reputations over safety, is it a group to which I would like to belong? But sad all the same, because now a resource is closed to me, one which might have allowed me to better understand people whose company I quite enjoy.

I can only be so “prepared to defend myself by force if I am attacked by force” and preparation is no guarantee of successful action. I can be all the kinds of prepared I can think of and still freeze up or turn tail and run, because instinct overrides all best intentions. Therefore my preparation must also allow for my humanity, and “allegiance . . . to the laws of the land as a free citizen must”. Thank goodness for the loophole in the language. My defense may well be the force of a loud voice, or the force of a dead weight making it harder for my assailant to move me, or indeed the force of flailing limbs that make me a difficult beast to grab.

My safety has to be my priority, because the best defense is not putting myself at risk, isn’t it? All the same I’m sorry there’s such a risk at all, and ashamed of those who make it dangerous for anyone to move freely where she will.


2 thoughts on “men dia pre’zhiuro

  1. The thing about how that works is that in Darkover, if you were a Renunciate then in all but a very tiny handful of circumstances you would be in the company of other Renunciates – guild-house at the start at least, and in any of the more dangerous situations, they generally went about in twos and threes. Which doesn’t work so well if you’re in an isolated rural situation where others don’t think the way you do.

    I wish the Renunciates I know weren’t so scattered around. I am in need of some community right now, seeing as how I just had to leave my faith community because of some boys running amok and some adults refusing to acknowledge that this is occurring. I no longer feel like I can safely bring my kids there, and if I can’t bring my kids I shouldn’t be bringing myself either, and *headdesk*…

    • Maybe that’s a starting point for my Blog Action Day entry: building a community where there isn’t one, physically. I wish there were a workable virtual guild-house, but eff me if I know how to set that up. How scattered are we talking about and how many are online in any capacity?

      I am so sorry about your faith community. Being a good mama shouldn’t shut you out of anything, especially anything like that. Is there anything you need from me, help-wise? (Even just a listening ear?) I thought I was on the verge of finding one, but they turned out to pretty much be mashing up a bunch of different North American tribal traditions, and that sits so badly with me. So it’s independent eclectic witchery once more, with a side of Sunday morning Mass.

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