By Martha Ramos
MEXICO CITY: Every now and then comes a woman with a terrible story that includes violence, injustice, rape, kidnap, abuse. Each one seems so personal it really hurts.
Being a reporter for 23 years makes you strong. But last Saturday, I found myself crying.
One of my best friends is going through a terrible divorce. It’s been four years and still she can’t get rid of him.
As it usually happens, they tried to stay together for too long, and when they split, there was hate all over. So it was better to hurt each other than to go through a civilized process?
They have two kids — a teenager and a 10-year-old. Both girls.
Suddenly, my friend was the guilty one. Her husband told the judge that she was a terrible mother. She fought back and hired a lawyer. In the process, he decided not to give her any money for the children’s school, doctors, even for Santa’s presents. He yelled, insulted and humilated her every chance he got.
He is losing, of course, because we have laws in Mexico City that protect the women. I still don’t understand why it has taken so long, but that’s their lawyers’ problem.
On Saturday, I found out the girls want to go to live with their father because my friend has been in a very bad mood. She’s jumpy, angry, works all day to get money to eat, has to deal with that guy, two daughters, her parents, the lawyer, her boss…
But it is not acceptable.
I know that when the girls move in with their father, I won’t see them as often as I do. I love them… but it’s more than missing them.
Why is my friend paying for it?
Why do we feel we have to protect the father’s image in front of our kids, even if it means turning against us?
Why it is not still accepted to be proactive in these situations, and be the one in control?
And even when we do, how come we are always compared to the evil ones?
I know there are better laws to protect women, but we need more than that. We need to be considered on our own merits. Not for the role we play or for how strong, sweet, brave we are — like it is now.
Consider these questions:
What’s sweeter, a single father walking with his baby or a single mother walking with her baby?
What’s worse, a father that leaves home and forgets about his kids, or a woman in the same situation?
Who is worse, the father that talks dirt about his ex-wife to get his kids, or a mother who works her soul out to get food enough for her children?
We need to change this. It’s not a new law or a new social support group. It is education.
Think about this when you talk to your kids, when you yell “don’t cry, you’re not a girl”, or “stop playing football, you’re not a boy”.
Every phrase, decision, action we do has to be an extension of what we are: a strong, independent woman that has to be recognized as one.
Pleas, do it, ’cause we need it.
Learn more about Martha:
I’m Martha Ramos, born 43 years ago, a journalist during the last 24 years and a mother since 1998.
I believe in the power of friendship, and the wisdom of children. I defend women as a basic element in every society, every group, every family.
I recognize journalism as the most important tool of a democratic country and the imperfect way of getting to the truth. Now, in the era of journalism 2.0 and 3.0 I really thank you for the possibility of talking to you and hearing from you.
Aside from Latina Lista, I also blog at my blog, and another one at Ejecentral.