Eve Ensler and the Radically Transformative Power of Apology

Stress warning: This episode contains conversation about sexual assault and violence.

This week on Inflection Point, I talk with Eve Ensler, award-winning playwright of The Vagina Monologues, about her new book “The Apology”, in which she writes in the voice of her father to apologize to herself--from him-- for the years of sexual and physical abuse he perpetrated upon her.

You will be blown away by Eve’s resilience, by her self-knowledge, by her strength of character, and by her deep well of compassion and empathy. Her ideas for political and social reform, as well as her profound insights into the human soul, make her a true radical, and radically empathetic.

This week, we discuss the anatomy of a true apology, and the transformative power that apologies hold for the apologists themselves and their recipients. We discuss why punishment never leads to rehabilitation. We discuss the roots of abuse, and how we can start shifting the paradigm.

A must-listen for anyone frustrated at the lack-luster apologies precipitated by the #MeToo movement. A must-listen for anyone infuriated by the Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford cases. A must-listen for anyone who needs to apologize for something. A must-listen for anyone who has ever needed an apology, but didn’t get one.

I also spoke with Eve in October of 2016, about a year before the #MeToo movement took off. Her words were prescient and I encourage you to listen to that conversation too.

If this conversation is important to you, please support our independent production with a tax deductible donation. Inflection Point is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

Photo courtesy of The Commonwealth Club of California. Photo by James Meinerth

Photo courtesy of The Commonwealth Club of California. Photo by James Meinerth

Photo courtesy of Eve Ensler

Photo courtesy of Eve Ensler

Are We Teaching Our Girls Too Much Empathy? - Emily Abad, The Mosaic Project

Empathy is often seen as the magic bullet against intolerance. But when we take on too much empathy for others it can be difficult to create emotional boundaries when it comes to our own needs. At the same time, when we put up emotional walls, we’re judged as being selfish, cold or “bossy.”  

Emily Abad is someone who was raised to always put others’ needs ahead of her own and not speak up for herself. She’s always struggled to find that perfect balance between empathy and assertiveness. When her religious father refused to accept her after she came out as gay, she was at a loss as to what to do.

Then she began working with kids at The Mosaic Project, an experiential education program addressing issues of diversity, empathy, and conflict resolution. Hear how teaching kids the power of speaking their truth from a place of love helped Emily to find her own voice.

Listen to the episode, and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

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How to Get Through The Worst, Together - Dr. Kelsey Crowe, Co-founder of Help Each Other Out

Most of us don’t know what to say when we are grieving or how to reach out when the people we love go through something awful. Dr. Kelsey Crowe’s own experiences with grief helped her realize that so many people suffer alone because the people around them don’t know what to do or say. So Kelsey actually shifted her career focus to understand what grieving people want, and what they don’t. She surveyed 900 people about their experiences with grief, founded Help Each Other Out to provide empathy bootcamps, and wrote a book about what she learned. The title of her book sums it up: There is No Good Card For This: What To say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful and Unfair to People You Love. Lauren talks with Kelsey about what she learned and how we can all help each other out.

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