Our sons

May 27, 2015

Our sons

ThistleFarms Sons

For the past twenty years, several of us have raised our sons while working alongside survivors of trafficking, genocide, and addiction. This summer, our sons have all come to work at Thistle Farms, the community we helped build. Thistle Farms is one of the largest social enterprises run by women survivors in the United States. We are so proud that our sons are a part of this movement for women’s freedom. This work reinforces a quality of masculinity that empowers them to stand up against pressures in the world which tell them to give in, turn the other way, and stay focused on their own pursuits, even as many young women suffer violence at the hands of abusive men and communities.

Their presence reminds communities globally that sexual violence is not just a women’s issue. It is a human rights issue and we need our sons to stand with young women as the next generation works to heal the whole community. Our sons understand the struggles of growing up on social media and witnessing the privacy of others exploited with a single click. They grew up in in schools that prepare for mass shootings. They understand things differently than we do, and we need them to help lead us now that they are in college and entering the workforce.

As a mother, I long to help young men step into life with eyes for advocacy and justice and to learn to see love as the most powerful force for change. I want our sons to speak up for their sisters and others who are exploited. I want our sons to know that their voice matters because silence is a form of complacency. I want our sons to experience the labor and tears of women who have survived brutality as they work alongside them. I want our sons to learn to use their privilege as a means of liberation for others no matter how small. I want our sons to know that their daughters need them now, before they are even born —  working towards a world that protects innocence, holds traffickers accountable, and tells on abusers. As a mother, it is sometimes hard to let go. But I promise that it is much easier to follow as they take the lead on some of this work. It’s joyful to watch them laugh and learn while working on heartbreaking truths.

Our sons are beautiful and powerful. They are becoming more convinced that love requires them to advocate, take action, and stand up for those exploited. We pray for them. We pray that an initiation into a life of leadership, deep caring, and honesty, not self-gratification at the expense of others.

My son and your sons have so much work ahead to help us heal this world and grow rich fields of love.   ​

-- Becca Stevens

   Founder, Thistle Farms​

Photo Credit: Taro Yamasaki, Courtesy of the Flerlage Foundation

 



Also in Community Blog

While the Cafe renovates, Donna reminds us to Come Together

March 16, 2017

Donna Dozier, one of the Café’s passionate staff, shares what will make the Cafe feel like home. The Café is undergoing a massive renovation that will allow us to gather more comfortably but with the same hospitality of coming home. During renovations, some of the Café staff have been honing their skills at a variety of local businesses.
Read More
Magdalene on the Inside: A chance to be someone new.

February 14, 2017

Magdalene on the Inside is a program of Thistle Farms that supports incarcerated women through informed care, encouragement towards healing, and a structured place to live after their release. Magdalene on the Inside began in December 2013 at Tennessee Women’s Prison under the leadership of Sheila McClain, a Thistle Farms graduate and survivor-leader.
Read More
From a Father to a Daughter: Love Heals Families, One Day at a Time

January 19, 2017

Love heals women, one day at a time; and, love heals family relationships, one day at a time.Thistle Farms​ ​is the miracle that​ ​my daughter​ ​Rachel needed coming out of prison having lost everything in her life. The miracle she needed provided a safe place for recovery from almost 20 years of substance abuse and addiction​ ​-- years of treatment, recovery and relapse.

Read More