Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Violence Against Women - The Abalone Woman

Abalone Woman

A Native American Legend: Abalone Woman 

Abalone Woman lived on the ocean coast. She passed time sitting on the beach, shinning her most beautiful stunning colors in the sky. Several elders told Abalone Woman, "Your beautiful colors are a special gift, which must be handled with honor and loving care."  

A man from the North saw Abalone Woman's beautiful colors in the sky and said "I must find her, the woman who makes beautiful colors in the sky".  North Man set out on his journey, he traveled great distances to find the woman who made beautiful colors in the sky. 

North Man finally found her!  There she sat, on the beach, shining her beautiful colors in the sky!  North Man approached her, they met and fell in love. In the beginning, North Man was very kind to Abalone Woman, treating her with honor and loving care.  

North Man's kindness reminded her of the words spoken by her elders, "Your beautiful colors are a special gift, which must be handled with honor and loving care", so this encouraged Abalone Woman to continue shining her beautiful colors in the sky, for North Man to see and enjoy.  

As time passed, North Man began to treat Abalone Woman with disrespect.  He became very mad and cruel towards her.  Trying to make North Man happy, Abalone Woman would shine her colors brighter, brighter and brighter but her efforts did not change matters with North Man.  

Then one day on the same beach where their love began, North Man hurt Abalone Woman so very deeply.  North Man hurt Abalone Woman in a way which, no human hands, could ever heal.  North Man's hurt was forever.

In Abalone Woman's deep hurt, she looked up to the blue sky and began to cry-out in terrible pain. Like a stream leading into the ocean, Abalone Woman's tears fell down her face.  

As her tears of hurt and pain touched the water, the water began to shine the beautiful colors of Abalone Woman.  You see, her tears turned into beautiful abalone shells!  As Abalone Woman faded into hurt and pain she, too, transformed into the abalone shells. 

Abalone Woman became our beautiful shining abalone shell.  The shell is a reminder that women have a special shining gift.  
Women must care for and respect their shining gifts and men must also respect women's gift of shining.  Most importantly, for love to not be in vain, men and women must handle each other with honor and loving care.   

*This legend, or similar version, is told by various coastal indigenous peoples.  We share this legend in an effort to end violence against women and in homes across the world.