Try to imagine a world so different from yours, what would you envision? If every aspect was the complete opposite what would it look like? If one single element is changed, would that world still look so different?
How do you feel about women only communities? Where would your mind travel? Let’s all agree that you are imagining strong women with spears and hunting skills that would put anyone to shame, or so that was what ancient Greek stories told. The Amazons based in Greek mythology were aggressive, highly skilled warriors who were especially adept in war. In short, and in foul language, “They Kicked Ass and were very scary”.
The Amazons mythology interestingly, seemed to have been inspired by real life ancient women. And to feed our curiosity, David Anthony in his book says, “About 20% of Scythian- Sarmatian ‘warrior graves’ contained females dressed for battle as if they were men, a style that may have inspired the Greek tales about the Amazons.” So rest assured, this is only the beginning of this awesome post about women only communities who also, for no better way to put it “kick ass”.
Women who suffered and continue to be victims of abuse, rape and gender based violence are all around us. Many are survivors, and many have yet long battles ahead of them; some women however decided that they have had enough. They imagined a world that was so different from their own and they created women only communities.
JINWAR is an ecological village created by the women of Rojava, who had lived through and successfully resisted ISIS. You may remember the stories of Kurdish female fighters that took the internet by storm in 2015; those women lived on to develop the Jinwar narrative. On the website, a brief bio and concept is described, I quote a statement, “Jinwar aims to provide an alternative, peaceful place for the co-existence of women, free of any and all violence.”
UMOJA founded in 1990 was a response by the Kenyan Samburu women to the abuse they were living. Reports of thousands of women who suffered abuse at the hands of soldiers were cleared and dismissed leading to the destruction of those women’s lives due to the social construct they lived in. The village started with 15 women, who were victims of rape, female genital mutilation and other forms of violence. Their purpose was and still is simple, to live in peace, and sustenance with their children, primarily away from men, by means of selling jewelry to tourists and those who wish to visit the village.
Escape is not simple, especially when it is from everything that you have and know. These women’s journeys away from the normal world of men and women coexisting highlight disturbing truths. Although my attempt at sharing those stories is lighthearted, there is nothing funny about people escaping and creating new communities to feel safe in. Perhaps, this will become a norm and not only a form of dealing with gender based aggression.
Humans, and I do not differentiate between men or women or other identification forms here, thrive in peace. But peace must be present at birth, during infancy, childhood, teenage years, into adulthood and old age. Momentary bursts of peace are not something to pride ourselves with, they are not keys to building healthy societies of acceptance and fortitude.
So, there is something we can learn from people’s struggle to create new space where hope can live and become abundant. Women being at the forefront of so many types of challenges, find ways to accommodate themselves and their children away from the terrors of living a life of victimhood.
Perhaps children of peace will not need war; or so that seems to be the hope of the women of Jinwar and Umoja.