It's one of the many memorable lines in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
Of course, those of you who've read this amazing book know that already. For those of you who don't...
I have to confess, I'd never read the story until a few weeks ago. I'd seen the movie, renting it from one of the video stores a few years back. It all seemed too weird, and I dismissed it.
Then came my increasing worry about what is popularly called this country's War on Women. The election added to my concern. While reading the comments on the major newsites, I came across several that mentioned The Handmaid's Tale - that we're headed for that kind of government here. I decided to get it.
Its parallels to what happens in patriarchal societies was chilling. More disturbing is what I continue to see happening in our country. Women's rights being questioned and challenged - as if that should even be a possibility. Women still being treated like second-class citizens in many ways. Just listen to what male politicians say on a daily basis.
Having recalled a part of the story from the film, I knew there would be violence in the book. However, the scene that literally took my breath away was when the heroine Offred (literally Of Fred - Fred being the guy who owned her now) couldn't take any money from her bank account. At that point in the story, the theocratic government hadn't taken over. The US was still supposedly a republic, even though the Constitution had been suspended because of purported terrorist attacks that killed the President and members of Congress. Offred calls the bank; she tries to get answers. That evening she learns that a law has been passed that women no longer have the right to their own money. If they needed any money, they must ask a male relative for it.
I felt myself shaking as I continued reading. Not in fear, in anger.
With lightning speed, other rights are taken away, one of which is the right for women to read. One of the male characters muses about education for females, then states, "We won't be making that mistake again."
Every woman needs to read this book - for herself, her mother, sisters, aunts, daughters, granddaughters. History has shown that freedoms fought for are often lost. What seems impossible today can become reality tomorrow.
We can't let that happen to us.