One f-word has been used to terrorize women.

One f-word has been used to terrorize women. A word that at one point meant freedom and defined a movement is now stereotype synonymous with man hating. Local political actor Jan Griesinger calls out to all women to join the ranks of feminists and reclaim the word. As a major part of this struggle Jan, with her partner Mary Morgan, founded the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Unrest Home in 1979 to nurture a safe women only environment. The 150 acres of land offers hills to hike, nature to enjoy, a pond to swim and a community kitchen.

“If women were not constantly harassed and beaten and paid less at work and a whole lot of other things there might not need to be a women only space. But those things still go on,” said Jan. As opposed to the competitive nature in today’s society, Jan believes this women only environment allows women to feel at ease and empowered.

“I had had a break up with a long term partner and our plan had been to buy a farm in Northern California. So I started actually looking for intentional communities in northern California. And then saw SUBAMUH and it had a ton of things that I was looking for along with a consensus based government structure and being a non-profit and things like that,” said resident Crissa Cummings. “I saw it was in Athens County, which was where I had a farm as a kid. And so I totally laughed out loud and thought oh my god this is some sort of cosmic aligning.”

One of the newest members of the community, Crissa Cummings has lived at SUBAMUH for 3 years. She enjoys doing work around the grounds reminiscent of her childhood growing up on a farm and says she feels more empowered being able to learn all the new skills that come with maintaining the land and living intentionally.

Michelle Miller, SUBAMUH resident, crawls under a car with Cynthia Schemmer to point out where a tire jack should be placed while demonstrating how to change a tire.

“The focus of benefit that I see as important is that women end up learning non-traditional skills in order to take care of the land,” said Crissa Cummings. A few weekends every year the residents at SUBAMUH hold workshops on several skills not traditionally assigned to women.

“After we settle in and probably go down and make a fire tonight and sit outside. Just kind of hang out and chill and just kind of just enjoy the evening,” discusses Karlene Kelley with partner Brigit Elizondo. Karlene being more of an outdoors person than Brigit, choose to spend their 12th anniversary at SUBAMUH. As soon as they saw the rolling hills and waving grass they both agreed that they planed on coming back.

“Since I've moved here I have learned how to use power tools for the first time in my life and love it. It's like very empowering thing to do and it feels very satisfying to see things I've built on the land,” said Crissa. After a long winter this dock three women and Crissa built last summer still stands strong in the pond at SUBAMUH. Visitors jump at the chance to work on these sorts of maintenance jobs around SUBAMUH for a chance to construct something of substance on the land. Crissa believes that through these projects visitors gain a sense of empowerment that strengthens them as women.

“We have um, 3 purposes; the feminist education, providing safe space for women to stay here and then affordable living space for women. The feminisim and the women only space is probably our unifying principle but there is a lot of things that are sort of attached from those principles that get practice here. Like the environmental sustainable is definitely a big one that we all share,” said Crissa Cummings. Self-sufficiency practices guide the lives of the residents at SUBAMUH in an effort to empower women.

Rene Slusser, a frequent SUBAMUH visitor, says goodbye to friend Crissa Cummings after a weekend retreat and workshop session. “The sense of community in connection to other people and doing something meaningful gets feed by living at SUBAMUH,” said Crissa Cummings. Other visitors agree that the women only space offers a stress free environment in which they can experience with other women. This experience allows women to bond and empower each other.

“So it’s the idea of the sum of use are greater than the individual parts definitely holds true. It has a really nice sense of meaning to my life by being here,” Crissa Cummings.

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