Howl We Do It Revisited

The Howl We Do It / Full Moon Sisters Movement has not caught on (yet), probably a tad too visceral in 2012. But here I am, ten years later, revisiting the idea because it’s in-your-face enough to gain traction.

Excerpts from the first blog post in 2012:

A young mother in Congo, the “rape capital of the world,” offers a detailed account of a horrendous gang rape in front of her husband, who is then murdered. The trauma ends her early-term pregnancy. Her legs are shot so many times that one must be amputated.

This woman, made a penniless beggar by the horrific assault, painfully tells her story with no likelihood of receiving emotional support. A note at the end of the article states that her “identity has been concealed for security reasons and because rape carries strong social stigma in the region.”1 As if there is a place in world where rape does not carry a stigma.

And, from around the world, statistics that vary widely from source to source:

  • A woman born in South Africa stands a greater chance of being raped than of learning how to read.
  • A UK study concluded that between 75 and 95 percent of rape crimes are never reported to the police.
  • In the US, victims 12-years and older survived a total of 125,910 rapes or sexual assaults. (2009 statistics). At least 50% of victims never report to police.

My question: Why haven’t women taken to the streets, raging en masse to end the trauma meted out to them and their sisters around the world?  How could we possibly be cowed into silence?

It makes me wanna howl. I tried it one night. Alone on the rooftop, I ended up whimpering quietly like a wounded pup. To be honest, it scared me to summon that primal noise.  But, when I got with a few other women, at night, at the beach, we could let go. Out there, maybe nobody heard us but we could hear ourselves growling, yipping, barking and howling our pain, our protest. It felt like releasing a grievance that, unspoken, would eventually main my soul.

Think of The Howl as pro-woman activism, as public theater, a compelling aural reminder that women will not suffer quietly the violence inflicted on them. 

The full moon, the symbol of women’s rhythms, is the perfect occasion for The Howl.

Imagine the reaction of urban (or suburban or rural) neighbors to a few minutes of women howling every time the full moon rises. Then, The Howl ripples through time zones around the world.

The first couple times, folks are wondering WTF and perhaps feeling a little nervous. We state our message clearly through public media and blogs and social media and even on street corners: The Full Moon Sisters – a global movement – howls every full moon around the planet until the violence and rape and laws controlling our bodies stop. 

Today – Ten years later:

Howling sounds threatening if you mean it to.  And that’s good, considering the egregious violations imposed on women. Howling rises from the locked room in women’s hearts, the place where we are worthless. Howling asserts we are more valuable than all the shit we endure.

It’s not over when we lose, it’s over when we quit. New tactics required.

Are we ready yet?  Howl We Do It!

Sisters’ Guide to Howling – Part 3

Spend any time last two weeks practicing whimpering?  If you have, you’ve learned a few things about creating primal sounds.  Scary shit.  Also fun in a subversive way.

We’re working up to a howl –  a visceral way for women to join up in commanding public auditory space.  Why?

Well, what sort of pain are you holding on to from some belittling event(s), a rending betrayal of trust, verbal abuse, rape, ongoing harassment, unequal pay, a health system that believes you to be drug-seeking, abject trouble raising money for your organization?  You fill in the details.

Women reclaim power only when we heal, and this is one tool for the process.  The message – “change gonna come” – will live inside the wave of sounds. We’ll set a date for the first public Howl.

Onward. This week’s exercise:

STEP 1    If you’re just catching up,  review Part 1 from my blog Nov 6 on the art of whimpering

If you’ve been practicing, begin sound 2:  The whine. Whine night

A whine is serious business for dogs and wolves. It means something’s wrong.

STEP 2  As before, work up to it.   Find your range.  Get creative

Minimum 20 seconds per day. Your choice  whether or not people are close enough to hear. If you feel the need, give your significant others a heads up.

STEP 3  Continue looking for and connecting with your pack.

Here’s a bit of inspiration for your effort:  “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down.”  Toni Morrison

Till the next installment of the Full Moon Sisters’ Guide to Howling,



“You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.”  Jimi Hendrix