International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

For all the violence imposed on her.
For all the humilation she has suffered.
For the body that you exploited.
For the intelligence that you have condemned her for.
For the ignorance that made you leave her.
For the freedom that you have denied her.
For the mouth you shut, and the wings you clipped.
Stand, gentlemen, now in front of a woman.

(W. S.)

It is for all of us, let us always remember


Who is W.S? Unless I’ve misunderstood, this poem is calling on men to act as a protector of women from violence, shouldn’t we strive rather to change the behaviour of the person being violent so that the woman doesn’t need a man as a hero to save her?


William Shakespeare?


The first lines of the poem follow the structure
For the (…) that you (…) her (…)
and the last sentence starts with “Stand, gentlemen, now (…)”

So I understand that “you” refers to collectively to “gentlemen”. The poem tells gentlemen that their past behavior was wrong and that they have to change it now.

Of course what is suggested (“stand in front of a woman”) may sound too protective in the 21st century (although I’m not totally sure it has to be understood that way), we have to keep in mind that the poem was written 400 years ago. Still, it tells men to change their behavior towards women, which is still applicable today.

Edit: I assumed the text was really from Shakespeare but now I have some doubts.

For all the violence imposed on her
For all the humiliation she has suffered
For her body that you have taken advantage of
For her intelligence that you have stepped
For the ignorance which you have left her in
For the freedom you have denied her
For the mouth you shut, and for the wings you clipped
Stand Gentlemen in front of a Woman.

And this is not enough, bow every time she looks at your soul
Because she knows how to see it
Because she knows how to make it to sing
Stand, Gentlemen, whenever she caresses your hand
Every time she dries your tears, as if you
were one of her children,
and when she waits for you, even if she would like to run
Stand, and remain standing my friends,

When she enters the room singing of love
and when she hides her pain and her loneliness
while having the terrible need to be loved.
Do not try to reach out to help her
when she collapses under the weight of the world
She does not need your pity.
She needs you to sit on the ground beside her
and wait for the beat of her heart eases and
her fear disappears, and the world
continues to turn quiet.
She is the first to stand and to give a hand to pull yourself up
and bring you closer to the sky,
high in the sky, where her soul lives
and where, Gentlemen,
you will never tear off her from.

  • William Shakespeare
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To stand in front of someone does not mean to protect this person. It can mean several things. And it is a bad assumption, in my opinion, that we stand with our back turned to this person. To stand in front of a person, looking at her, can be a big sign of respect and to show how she is above of us, in any aspect we may consider at specific moments. To stand in front of a person, with eyes closed, and maybe even with our head looking to the ground, can also show confidence on her, and that we accept and respect her ideas, decisions and actions. We will accept and do things, not necessarily decide them. Maybe we participate, but we will not decide if we do this.

So, there are several ways to stand in front of a woman, of another person, or in front of anything. And there are many different ideas involving this action, even when our physical position is the same. Other things, like the context, will help knowing what each situation is.

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I am not a Shakespeare scholar or buff, nor have I even read all of him yet, but this quote seems like a spurious attribution. I am always automatically suspicious of any attribution that lacks specificity. Does anyone know the specific source for this (title, act and verse, etc.). I glanced over all the poems in The Yale Shakespeare and found no match. Moreover, the meter and usage seem wrong (or altered). This is not Shakespearean English. A brief online search yielded few sources, all worthless.

I suspect that if Shakespeare had any hand in this, then the language has been modernized (and maybe edited), or it was translated into a foreign langue and then translated back into English.


When I googled the first line of this supposedly Shakespearian poem -“For all the violence imposed on her” ,I got among others these two results:

In 2017 the FB Dorothy Circus Gallery quoted this poem with (William Shakespeare) underneath it. Not clear from that context if WS was the author.
One reaction was from Giuliana Mammucari: The author is not Shakespeare!

This one is from 2020 (three years later). Gianantonio Negretti repeated the poem and added I want to dedicate to all Women these wonderful words of William Shakespeare to caress the soul of every woman abused, used, humiliated by those who should have loved and protected them, because I believe that the word is the first weapon to tell, to denounce and to start living again.

All this may be a weird prank.

Just like @Conrad_Melville I am not an expert, far from it.
But it seems strange to me that an author, who has portrayed many women in his plays mostly in - euphemistically speaking - definitely less than flattering terms, would be used in a context like this (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women).

A joke and maybe even a sick one?


I was going to post the same, the language is off and the fact this OGS thread is in the first page of a google search and there’s no quality results like in some online complete works of Shakespeare website or some academic writing makes me dubious.


Anyway :orange_square:

Let’s be violent on the goban only.


It seems it is an excerpt from an adaption of Quixote by William Bertozzo.

Not sure why it’s being spread as being Shakespeare’s…


Is there a contradiction here?

Didn’t he grant her her freedom when he left, as in “Do what you want; I’m off”.

Bogus attributions arise, I think, because people can’t remember the source, and so they unconsciously attribute a quote to some well-known, epigrammatic writer because they think it sounds like that person. Less innocently, perhaps, they may crave the authority of the name they settle on. Hence, Franklin, Jefferson, and Churchill are the ones I have seen most often. Less often, and usually among older people, it might be Will Rogers, Mark Twain, and Yogi Berra. Bogus quotes are an occupational hazard for editors, depending on the material they edit. (Try telling an “Honorable” that his favorite quote kicking off a speech doesn’t come from a high-profile leader but from an unknown source.)


So you think it’s fair if he says “as long as we are staying together you do as I decide, you’ll be free only when I decide to leave you”?

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Quite so, since it is hard to argue with an established famous person (especially if said person is long dead) and the internet finding that funny and turning it into a meme, doesn’t help much.

Googling “fake quote meme” and hitting “image” can produce some very funny results. :sweat_smile:


There can be limits to freedom short of exercising total control. For example, one may not wish to grant one’s partner freedom to sleep with others and be prepared to leave if that’s not respected. Of course, this is not just a one-way process. There will always be some sacrifices to be made by both partners in a relationship, surely?

Of course I agree with that. The point is that in a relationship, both need to make compromises, each partner should have an equal amount of freedom.

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That would be nice. But then, just how often does the villain have any desire to change? Much easier, I would think, that a good guy wants to be a hero. True?

That is a big social issue that takes time, but it is not that it is “not often” that such a thing happened. It is just so common for most people which is why “villains” are few and far between.
For example, there is a reason why we live in mostly well regulated societies with only a small percentage of crime, even though the amount of police going around is negligible.

That was a “social contract” so to speak, within which people decided that in order to have society and all the good things that brings about, theft and violence should be deemed reprehensible, not just “illegal” and it has worked. Now the issue is expanding that concept a bit further.

Noone in the history of ever considered this as a practical solution: “Hey, we will build a bank, fill it with gold and if pillagers come around, it will be easy to protect it because good guys passing by will protect our bank, right?”

Multiple issues with that:
A) You assume that there are people around to be “heroes” (in most cases where people get the nerve to use violence there is noone around to see them. Crimes rarely happen out in the open. Those people are violent, not stupid.)
B) Even if there are people around you assume that there are “good guys” in that bunch.
C) Even if there are “good guys” around you assume that one of them will gather their nerves, ignore their instinct of self-preservation and decide to be a hero. However being good doesn’t mean that it is “easy” to decide that you are going to risk your life.
D) Even if someone decides to be a hero, you think that it is easy for them to actually do something? The opponent might be armed, in an angry state (known to temporarily elevate the danger that person poses) and/or trained in physical combat.

“Much easier”? Have you ever tried it? :thinking:

P.S. There is an intrinsic issue with slogans, that they have to sound good and logical FAST, so that people won’t sit around to consider them. One such slogan is “the good guy with a gun” which assumes that a “good guy” is always good and that a “good guy” has always good judgement to discern when someone is a “bad guy that needs to get dealt with” and that the “good guy” has “good aim”. How likely is that? Not much. Which is ok if you are spinning the lottery at the supermarket, but not when your personal safety and life depend on it.

To me it seems that Einstein and Gandhi are way out in front by numbers of bogus appeals to their authority, so I liked the meme. A couple of useful resources, if a simple search is not enough, are Wikiquote for simple checks and Quote Investigator for more thorough investigations. I find it deeply depressing how readily the junk spewed out by sites like Brainless Quote is accepted and circulated. Also Goodreads, though not a bad site in many ways, has a terrible quotes section.

There was never any way this was by Shakespeare, though I suppose @ludostek and @Atorrante meant well.