There’s no doubt that there’s a tide in the affairs of people that taken at the flood leads on to victory.
For countless centuries or millennia on this planet, women have been subjected to brutalizing violence and only seldom do incidents occur that capture the public’s attention long enough to promise an end to the order that perpetuates it. The death from gang rape of the Indian medical student is one such incident.
Others have occurred in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh. But the story of men’s rape of women is not nearly the end of violence against women. All of it must end so I unequivocally support the call for Feb. 14, 2013 as a day of protest against violence against women.
If I were to catalogue all the violent crimes against women, I’d tax the time you have for reading. It would start before birth with gender-selective abortion, proceed through infancy with infanticide, continue in early childhood with female genital mutilation, explode in early adulthood with sex slavery, forced marriages, dowry deaths, acid attacks for refusal of a suitor, and honor killings for wanting to marry the person of one’s choice. Half of life has gone by and I haven’t even mentioned rape.
But if I were to do so, I’d have to mention custodial rape of women who fall into the clutches of “the law,” mass rape of the victims of war, judicial rape by some jurgas in Pakistan – the list would go on and on.
There is nothing more shameful in our history than the treatment by men of women and children. In my years of adjudicating refugee claims, it became crystal clear that men’s treatment of women accounted for a hugely inordinate number of claims. And the viciousness with which women were treated in some parts of the world defies belief.
Female children are denied medical care, bought and sold as slaves, denied education, choice in marriage, and choice of career. The most unforgiveable sin is speaking out against this oppressive order. That can bring even worse treatment than that which is protested – in some cases death.
One of our sources said recently – I believe it was Matthew Ward – that little has happened to address this situation because we believed that nothing was possible. But everything is possible now. The oppressive order that victimizes women will not stand for a minute longer than we collectively tolerate it. If we’re looking for any barrier or obstacle to our collective evolution, I would point at that reprehensible situation first and last.
I leave off attaching a photograph to this story because, if I posted those of acid attacks or similar outrages, you’d feel repelled.
I support Feb. 14, 2013 as the day to end the oppression of women on the planet.