Memoirs of a New American Revolution According to Z. Budapest! Pt 1. Marie Bargas Guest Blogger
Marie Bargas is no stranger to this blog and she ran across a person of some note who has a relevance to both historical culture and society as well as the evolution of society as a whole. The person is Z. Budapest!
On the eve of the US’ “government shutdown” CNN reported that 800,000 federal workers face unemployment with no visible hope in sight. The gravity of the hopelessness faced by an entire nation is far too reminiscent of the dark days before the Great Depression. And in the beginning of the Halloween season when retailers are already geared up to celebrate the dead and the “undead,” the biggest corpse on the table is the faith of the American people in their own government.
This story was commissioned earlier this year to address the issues of rape and the ongoing “War Against Women”… from the memoirs of a real witch, the legendary Z Budapest.
Z puts pen to paper for Halloween to explain the reality of being a feminist witch in the modern world vs. the preconceived notion that witches function primarily as the “sex slaves” of Satan. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The shutdown of the US government by a political group that consistently vilifies women who have suffered at the hands of a rapist makes this story is even more relevant because it is also a story about a group of women and evolved into the Women’s Movement that changed everything from how law enforcement handles rape cases to the overall public perception that rape victims were “asking for it.” Z Budapest and her Feminist Witches effectively changed the world without the benefit of funds from big business or the blessings of the powers that be.
Now, more than ever, we all need to be reminded that each one of us is not powerless as long as we have the courage, intelligence and heart to speak and act according to our conscience. And so once again, we are retelling the story of an underdog who triumphed against the odds… because today, of all days, that story needs to be retold.
Remembering the Revolution:
My journey as a leader in the Modern Woman’s Revolution began in the year 1971, when being poor was fashionable. We all wore threadbare jeans and t-shirts with slogans on them. The revolution was printed on our bosoms. Mine said, “Sisters give rides to Sisters” referring to hitchhiking. Our idea was that if women gave rides to other Sisters, there would be far less rape.
Sharon who was one of us; a small group of women from all over the country who staffed the newborn L.A. Women’s Center. Sharon rode a motorcycle, proudly revving it up every morning and riding to work on it. Not too many women rode big bikes like hers back then. We often thought about how unsafe that was for her streaking between cars and buses on Hollywood Boulevard, but it wasn’t traffic that brought her down.
Just before she turned off from Hollywood Boulevard at the corner of Whitley, four guys pulled her off her bike, dragged her into a house, gang raped her and then left her unconscious on the sidewalk where the police found her. The rapists stole her bike as well.
The police brought her to the hospital. The doctors patched her up. Back then, there was no rape kit to do. We got a phone call to pick up Sharon, so her friend Dixie went to get her.
It was April. The birds of the Hollywood Hills sang particularly creatively, and all the flowers that could were blooming full on. The scent was intoxicating, jasmines mixed in with wild flowers, orange blossoms, alyssums and roses. L.A. smelled like heaven… but it wasn’t.
A Healing Circle of Women:
We sat on the floor in a circle. Sharon arrived and her face was so badly beaten both her eyes were swollen shut; her lips were bleeding. She could not sit down. We, the women she called Sisters, laid her gently on the floor with a pillow under her head. Her right arm was in a cast.
Dixie motioned us not to bother her too much. She had some serious drugs in her. So we had a meeting at the Women’s Center without her.
“What happened?” We all asked Dixie. Dixie, who was a cab driver and rarely emotional, broke down sobbing.
“Some guys grabbed her and raped her. Beat her up, stole her bike, and dumped her on the sidewalk. It’s horrible. She was almost home.” Dixie sobbed.
Joan, who was working on rape issues already from the Women’s Center on Crenshaw, took a deep breath. “We have to do something.This must stop.”
The statement was unbelievably bold. Stop rape. Walk without fear on our streets. Why that’s civilization!
Nancy who was a nurse and saw her share of horrors said. “Rape is as old as war. I see the women at my hospital all the time. Every day, destroyed lives. Insane.”
All I could say was, “All wars are wars on women.”
Thanks to Marie Bargas for putting together this 6 part series– of which this is part one! Stay tuned for next week’s post!
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