In case you missed the headlines in New York City, an 18-year old girl was gang raped in a park last Thursday. And surely you've heard about the 516 criminal complaints lodged in Cologne, Germany after women were groped and sexually assaulted by a group of men on New Year's Eve. As I'm processing these latest in reported crimes against women, I'm dumbfounded that the same media that focuses on Black Lives Matter and other important causes, is ignoring that age-old issue of
Womens Lives Matter
Where's the rallying? Where are the banners? How come it's not splattered all over the fucking media? Sure, there's outrage and promises of “justice will prevail.” Indeed, four of the five animals inthe rape have come forward and I'm sure suspects have been rounded up in Germany, but once again the world seems to be yawning at more acts of violence perpetrated against women.
A recent analysis of the World Health Organization in conjunction with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Medical Research Council, found that “globally 35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence” (source).
Let me repeat that: 35% of women have experienced sexual violence.
That same study says that among the risk factors for sexual violence are “attitudes that are accepting of violence and gender inequality (perpetration and experience)” which come not only from society but from the media – a media that largely ignores sexual violence against women.
I'll get off my soapbox in a second, but I just want to reinforce that Womens Lives Matter just as much as anyone else. I'm not trying to playdown or minimize anyone else's cause or struggle, but let's not let violence against women become a ho-hum reality that we all just accept.
It's disgusting and unacceptable and something we need to take action on. How?
- By teaching all children that people's bodies are to be respected
- By reminding our sons that no matter how a girl is dressed or behaving, “no” means “no;” girls are not “asking for” nor do they “want” to be abused.
- By reminding our daughters that they are strong and deserve to be treated with respect.
- By not supporting movies, television, games, etc. that depict women as weak and as sex objects. These should never been seen as the norm.
- By teaching girls to support one another and be heros; if they see someone dissing another girl, they need to stand up and say something.
- By not sexualizing our little girls. Think about how many little girls you saw out at Halloween in inappropriate attire (whether dressed as Bratz dolls or any other characters marketed to girls which are sexually suggestive).
- By teaching boys that they have absolute control over how they treat a people. The whole “I couldn't control myself” is NOT a valid defense in any kind of crime. If you've got a penis or a fist – control where it goes.
Womens lives matter. We think we know it, but with females getting abused every day, I think we need to be reminded of it constantly, especially if we have women-in-training (girls).
Violence, against ANYONE, is unacceptable – PERIOD.