Sometimes you just have to use what you’ve got. When Liberia’s 14-year civil war tore her family and native country apart, mother-of-six Leymah Gbowee organized a women’s peace movement. She led sit-ins. She led pickets. And when all else failed, she launched a sex strike.
“What does it take to make those who fight listen to reason?” she asks in her new memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War. “As a woman, you have the power to deny a man something he wants until the other men stop what they are doing.”
Widowed and raped and too often ignored by war, women have the highest stake in it, argues Gbowee, who’ll discuss her book at a free event Sunday, October 2, at 4 p.m. at UCSB’s Campbell Hall.
It’s fascinating to view political unrest from the explicit point of view of mothers, daughters, wives, and lovers. The juxtaposition of the battlefield and the marital bed is startling (one pictures pent-up heads of state imploring stubborn sweatpants-sporting wives for sump’n sump’n). But if tenderness is the opposite of violence, then perhaps shutting down the ole shag factory is a reasonable whack at peace.