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Standing Up for What You Believe In

2011 August 22

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity. ~Christopher Morley

Stand up for what you believe inFair warning dear readers … this story is about a more serious subject than I usual write about and reading it could result in reactions ranging from mild discomfort to stunned disbelief or possibly even a touch of righteous indignation.

Still with me? Here goes …

Have ever been the only one in a large group to defend someone or something that you know in your heart is right? If so, then you are what the world considers a hero.

Standing up for what you believe in is not only one of the most admirable traits a person can possess, but is at the same time one of the most challenging and self fulfilling. It can also leave you in peril and standing alone in a crowd at times.

Many of us are afraid to stand up and voice our beliefs because it’s so much easier to go along with the crowd. We especially worry about not fitting in or that our friends will be critical and lack understanding.

The truth is standing up for what you believe in requires a great amount of courage, and as much as we like to believe that a hero or heroine will swoop-in to defend our honor, it is extremely rare. There are two things to consider: First, if YOU don’t stand up for yourself or your beliefs, then how can you expect others to? And second, the person who you should ALWAYS be able to count on to stand up for you – no matter what – is YOU.

Throughout history there have been people who have risked their lives to share their voices and beliefs with the world. We can learn a lot about courage from people who have faced more peril than we can ever imagine, all for standing up for what they believe.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

One Night of Terror

The 33 women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for little more than standing up for their beliefs, and by the end of the first night they were barely alive.

Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the women. They beat one woman, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled another into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate thought she was dead and suffered a heart attack.

For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press and pressure was brought to bear to release the women.

Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

What country would allow such treatment? What was their crime?

The ‘Night of Terror’ … unfolded in Washington, D.C., United States of America in the year 1917 when 33 women were arrested and tortured for the crime of “obstructing sidewalk traffic” while carrying signs outside the White House asking for the right for women to vote.

The battle to win our right to vote was fought for many years, and by thousands of women around the world, many of whom suffered similar or even worse indignities all for standing up for their beliefs and our freedom to exercise self determination.

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day. It didn’t happen by accident.

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. 2012 is an election year in the U.S. and we need to exercise this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – please make the time to learn about the issues and candidates and exercise your beliefs by voting.

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28 Responses
  1. August 27, 2011

    Hello CJ….great post. I have always been a person that voices my opinion. I loved your blog post!
    Sometimes it is hard to stand up for what we believe because everyone is not always with us. The story was very moving and it makes me want to continue to stand up for all causes I believe it. All of our voices need to be heard.

    Thank you again…..
    Barbara Harnsberger
    Barbara Harnsberger recently posted..MLM Fire Formula for Success” ….Inferno SecretsMy Profile

  2. August 25, 2011

    Hi Marty,

    Thanks for sharing this powerful and thought provoking article; for helping us keep our eyes open to what has happened, and is happening around us, and taking a stand on our beliefs and values. We can stand alone for what we believe in; and, we also don’t have to stand alone. The beauty of joining with a group is the additional strength and courage it provides. Usually, stronger and more effective action can be taken as a group although this didn’t seem to be the case in 1917 with the ‘Night of Terror’. August 26th is quite special… my son’s birthday… a child who was certainly taught the value of women… and Women’s Equality Day. I shall not forget it!
    Loren recently posted..Anchor Text For SEOMy Profile

    • August 26, 2011

      Hey Loren,
      Welcome back and thanks for sharing your thoughts … it’s hard to believe that it took 72 years for women to “win” the right to vote in America, but I think we’re making up for lost time now :-)

  3. August 25, 2011


    Great story! I never realized how hard the US government fought against women’s rights. That is just deplorable how they treated these women.

    Andy Nathan recently posted..Search Engines Optimization Showdown At The Search Engine Corral!My Profile

    • August 26, 2011

      Hey Andy,
      Thanks for your comments … it is hard to imagine today, but the truth is this kind of thing was happening in many countries – I found almost as many horror stories about the way women were treated in England …. including torture and beatings.

  4. August 24, 2011

    Wow Marty… I never would have guessed that took place in the US! Thank you for sharing it, because even though I’m not an American, Canada is not so different. Thankfully we don’t suffer such horrible consequences now, but there is just as much need for courage today as there was then.

    May we never take for granted what others have fought so hard to protect for us.

    Willena Flewelling
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Mentoring For Free – Is It Really Free?My Profile

  5. Mark permalink
    August 24, 2011

    Shocking story. Had no idea this took place in the USA. My first guess would have been N. Korea, as I have heard similar stories from there (even to this day, and not related to voting rights).

    Just a quick side note: I was a little thrown off by a sentence early in the article — “Have ever been the only one in a large group to defend someone or something that you know is wrong?”

    Are you advocating that we defend something/someone we know to be wrong? Sounds a little backwards.


    • August 24, 2011

      Welcome Mark,
      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts – and I really appreciate you voicing your concerns over that sentence … I will take a look at it right now!

  6. August 24, 2011

    Great post, Marty! I was not aware that these women were tortured so brutally for demanding the right to vote. I knew about Eugene V. Debs getting sent to prison for making speeches opposing WWI the same year, but this is a powerful reminder that our freedoms are an ideal, and we have to fight to make them a reality.
    Steve Nicholas recently posted..Authentic TithingMy Profile

  7. August 23, 2011

    I was taught from a Early Age to be Proud of the Women who fought for my Voice before I was even a thought….My Grandmothers did not have the right to Vote when they were born….My Mother was the first of my line that had this Gift when she was born…She taught me to be Proud of what Our Sisters did for Us from a early age….Elizabeth Cady Stanton is/Was my Cousin. She did not live to see her Dream happen….but because of her Voice I have my Voice. Thank you Cousin…you may not have known I would be born to the line of Brave Women but I know I come from Your stock and Wear it Proud!….Stand up for what is Right! No matter what the rest think, follow Your Heart! Our Voice is a Gift We have to teach Our Children (I have my Daughters) and will my Grand daughters as they come….It took brave Women to take this stand…and not even see the Dream come true before they Passed.

  8. Steve-Personal Success Factors
    August 23, 2011

    Marquita, thank you for the inspiration of this post. We take so much for granted the courageous shoulders of both women and men who have taken stands alone for many years, some not ever seeing the fruit of their courage. The women you mentioned; Martin Luther King, Jr; Nelson Mandela. The list goes on. May we be able to take a stand, alone, unrewarded, when the time comes for us to do so.
    Steve-Personal Success Factors recently posted..Give Me Five Myths And I’ll Give You The Truth!My Profile

  9. August 23, 2011

    Wow Ms. Marquita (Marty) Herald. This story is inspiring. I have felt the harsh sting of police brutality but this intense. In 2009 I got stopped and beat for walking home. The stated I was disturbing traffic because of my yelling! That was a time I had to stand up for my belief in God because I had nothing else.

    Thank you for this story because it brings me to Matthew 5: 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    May God Richly Bless You for Posting something out of the normal and real!
    Justin Hammonds recently posted..Getting Over Mind Numbing Marketing & Marketing Your Message With a Purpose!My Profile

    • August 23, 2011

      Thank you so much Justin for sharing your story … hard to accept the fact that good people such as yourself continue to suffer such indignities, but it’s another example of why we all need to be aware and stand up for our beliefs. Mahalo!

  10. August 23, 2011

    Marty~ I will definitely be passing this along to every woman I know – it is important to know where we’ve come from and to know the importance of standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost. It breaks my heart that this happened, but it is an eye-opening story that we should never forget.

  11. August 23, 2011

    I must say that I am glad that I live in the modern world as it is. I am not sure how long I would have survived back then. I hadn’t heard that bit of history. How horrible. Just the thought creeps me out!

    I know that there are things that happen like that til this day, hopefully not in our country, but in some places torture still exists…

    Thanks for you courage to post this and the info that many people need to hear, so they understand what believers went through to get what we have today!
    Holly recently posted..Is What You Do Considered Physical Fitness Activity?My Profile

    • August 23, 2011

      Hey Holly,
      You know the thing is there are people today who are standing up for their beliefs in the face of real hardships and even violence – we just don’t hear about them often enough, and mostly these days they are in third world countries … and there are very few people telling their stories.

  12. August 23, 2011

    Well said, Marty. Now that, the actions and courage of these women in 1917 in D.C., is true courageousness. I will do my part to Get Out the Vote in fall in honor of these 33 amazing Americans.


    David H. Paul
    David Paul recently posted..Your “Why”: Be Someone’s MiracleMy Profile

    • August 23, 2011

      Hi David! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, always appreciated.

  13. August 23, 2011

    Thanks for sharing that story Marty

    Sometimes it is difficult to stand up for what you believe, especially if you have to take risks.

    Those women took risks and we should be thankful they did.

    Peter Fuller recently posted..How to Retire Early?My Profile

    • August 23, 2011

      Welcome back Peter, always appreciate your comments and observations.

  14. August 22, 2011

    Mahalo Nui Loa Marty ~ You share a very powerful and thought provoking story here. It’s so sad to think that even in this country there could have been such terrible abuse for something that we all take for granted; freedom of speech. I believe that it is terribly important to stand up for what you believe in and to make that known. It would be nice if others could support us in our beliefs but many are afraid even now. Thanks for sharing such a moving article. Hopefully we will make ourselves be heard in this upcoming election year.

    • August 23, 2011

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Jim, and i’m so glad you found the story inspirational. As important as it is to live in the moment, I believe we gain great value and insight by learning from the past and those who paved the way for us all.

  15. August 22, 2011


    Wow! I am amazed every time I read about what those brave women did. I am sure many of their families did not support their actions and probably belittled them. But they did not do it alone. They joined together to build the strength and courage. Often we are alone and it is so much easier to just cave in to the group or our family. Finding support to remain true to your own self and your life’s vision and purpose, can make a huge difference. Letting go of naysayers and joining together with others striving for success is a beautiful way to live.

    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Cheating is a Dirty Word – Beware!My Profile

    • August 23, 2011

      Welcome back Erica and thanks so much for taking the time share your thoughts, always appreciated!

  16. August 22, 2011

    Mahalo, Marty.

    Wow, what an inspirational story. Who would have believed that those women stood up in Washington D.C.? and to think that so many times, people are afraid of what their friends or family might think of them when in fact, that is one of the safest of all environments. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us.

    • August 23, 2011

      Welcome back Linnea,
      So glad you liked the story … I appreciate the importance of living in the present, but I also believe there is tremendous value in learning from the past and honoring those who have helped to make our lives better through their sacrifices.

  17. CJ P permalink
    August 22, 2011

    Wow that is absolute horrible treatment for something now most everyone takes for granted, but as with most things we as people and as a country grow and develop (or at least we should anyways)

    For me personally it doesn’t make a difference if I fit in or not, more often than not I will speak up about something whether right or wrong its my opinion but of course there are those few circumstances that it doesn’t work so easily, and like everyone else has or at least should have an opinion and should be voice rather than just agreeing with everyone else just to go with the flow for whatever the reason.

    • August 23, 2011

      Hi CJ – welcome back and as always I appreciate your thoughts and comments … for the record, I’m with you – I’ve always been a bit of a rebel and wouldn’t have it any other way :-)

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