Pain is real when you get other people to believe in it. If no one believes in it but you, your pain is madness or hysteria.
The press doesn't stop publishing, by the way, in a fascist escalation; it simply watches what it says. That too can be an incremental process, and the pace at which the free press polices itself depends on how journalists are targeted.
It is never smart, even in a strong democracy, to declare some debate off limits. In a weakening democracy it is catastrophic.
The idea that women are innately gentle is a fantasy, and a historically recent one. Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, is depicted as wreathed in male human skulls; the cruel entertainments of the Romans drew audiences as female as they were male; Boudicca led her British troops bloodily into battle.
Obstacles, of course, are developmentally necessary: they teach kids strategy, patience, critical thinking, resilience and resourcefulness.