To Guatemalan Women

by Susanna Raymundo

You leave behind your teenage years and your dream of youth to be a mother, a victim of sexism, ignorance and customs. Your parents accept your marriage with another child to bring more children into the world, sometimes not caring if he is nearly twice your age. You become a housewife for his family and your own family.

You, my girl, are the one who learns to do all the things a housewife does. While they are already waiting for food on the table your mother sends you to bring water to wash your hands, she sends you to serve coffee and when you grow you get to wash the clothes by hand, and cook for them all, and learn to knit and sew, all to prepare to be a good wife and homemaker. They never talk about family planning, but make sure you are prepared to serve your family. You’ll never select the man who you want because they will choose him you. You’ll never speak of your life to him because you never learned to express your thoughts, feelings and tastes, never knew a life different from the one you have.

The kicks and beatings your father and your older brothers gave you mean you learn your lessons like an animal or worse, like the child with whom you are growing. You cannot say or do anything about it because you cannot compare your physical force with him – you’re small and weak, he is the male, he is your boss, and it’s best if you respond well in bed, no matter your preference, if you like it, if it hurts or if you just gave birth because you depend on him financially.

You, independent woman, rebellious, disturbed and manipulative now you know your rights, you have learned to defend yourself and express your thoughts and feelings, you abuse your ability and your freedom, you think you’re always right and you’re the one who decides everything, after all you become cold and uncompassionate, forget your children and you forget yourself. You get into vicious acts that destroy you.

Woman, you give your life for your children, you’re happy because you love life as it is, fighting for a different world, perhaps perfect, you are a role model for many girls who are growing.

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