Let me tell you a story about hope, vision and courage. Meet Hasna Kandatu, a seamstress from a small village called Damo in the Philippines. Since the 1970’s Damo has been a community rife with violence and unrest. Such conflict made everyday living difficult for the women of Damo as attacks against them were a very real and dangerous threat. If a woman cannot walk through her community knowing that she is safe from aggression and violence, how can she go to the market to get food for her family? How can she sell goods at the market and make a living? How can be secure in the knowledge that her children are safe at school? How can she live her life in peace? Hasna Kandatu asked the most significant question of all; how can we create a better world?

Hasna understood her power as a woman. However, she also understood her limitations. Societal and cultural dictates would not allow her to express her voice. Yet, Hasna’s answer was simple in the face of such opposition. Her idea was to unite the women of her community and encourage them to withhold sex from their husbands in exchange for peace. Hasna understood the language of men. What’s more, she understood the power innate within a collective group of women. Hasna’s ‘Sex Strike’ strategy worked instantly and peace began to emerge within her village.

Some may think that the men forged peace in order to supress the withholding of sex. Yet, perhaps Hasna and the women involved within the strike gave the men an opportunity to reflect upon their actions and realize the consequences of their violence and aggression an terms of how it affected life throughout the wider community.

Hasna Kandatu through her vision of a better way of life, her courage and her spirit of fearlessness brought peace and stability to her community. She is a true leader and a true exemplifier of the power of womanhood.  As Women, we may at times struggle with embracing the power within us. In times of injustice, inequality and aggression remember this story. Remember Hasna Kandatu. Most importantly, remember that you too have the ability to create a story of hope, vision and courage.

Note: See link for an interview with Hasna Kandatu at: http://www.filmannex.com/movie/no-sex-unless/28562

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