The War Against Women

    a.238w women warrant respectEnough! The atrocities against women have to stop. The atrocities will continue so long as you remain silent or are a perpetrator. If you remain silent when aware of a wrong being perpetuated you are also guilty of a crime — if not legally, than morally. Regardless of your “contribution” (silence or perpetrator), the time has long past to put a stop to the War Against Women. It can be done. Wrongs have been righted before. Let’s do it again.

    Some of the biggies include:

    a.234w fgm*Female Genital Mutilation. At minimum this entails a non-medically trained person (often a mother, aunt, older sister) removing the clitoris (usually without anaesthesia) using only a blade (scissors, knife) or razor. In its most severe form (infibulation), the inner and outer labia are removed and the vulva is closed. A small hole is left for urine and menstrual blood. The vagina is opened for intercourse and childbirth.

    There’s a rumor the militant group Islamic State ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. If true, that’s beyond horrific. If not true, there’s still the fact that according to the World Health Organization, more than 125 million girls/women still alive in Africa and the Middle East today were subjected to female genital mutilation between infancy and age 15.

    *Honor killing. Often by stoning (see below). It can also be through stabbing, beating, burning, beheading, hanging, throat slashing, drowning, lethal acid attacks, shooting and strangulation.

    a.236w stoning*Stoning. This is the punishment the woman endures for allegedly being an adulteress. It is usually carried out in public. Often the victim’s family is forced to watch. A hole is dug in the ground, the woman (often dressed in black to hide any blood) is bound and placed in the hole. Rocks are supplied and the onlookers are to toss them until she is proclaimed dead. It is unclear whether the Islamic State did this a few days ago, or it was reported a few days ago. Regardless, this recently happened in Syria. There are reports of it recently going on in Iraq as well.

    *Femicide. Killing females for being female. Reasons vary, the results are the same, death.

    Males being more valued. It is estimated 10-15 million female fetuses are aborted annually as a result of China’s one child only policy. Said policy being in place some 30 years, translates to some 300 – 450 million females not being born.

    “Gendercide.” The United Nations estimates that about 200 million girls (who were allowed to be born) are missing from the world due to this genocide.

    Dowery related deaths. These deaths take place when the new bride doesn’t bring enough to the table, or during infancy when the family knows it won’t be able to afford a dowry when it is time for her to marry. It is guesstimated over 8,000 such deaths occur each year in India.

    *Rape. Rape is a worldwide phenomenon. Rape does happen against men; however, it is most often against women. It is extremely under-reported throughout the world, including the United States. Some say it occurs every two seconds. Some say it will occur to every third woman in her life. Bottom line, it’s a HUGE problem.

    a.235w dalitIndia’s caste system exacerbates the practice. The recent gang rape of two Dalit girls in the small village of Katra in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was viewed as almost a “right of passage” for the Yadav perpetrators. While the Yadav are also low in caste, they are higher than the Dalit.

    Gang rapes aren’t limited to those of caste. The 2012 Delhi gang rape (and later fatality) of a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern made international headlines. Earlier this year a 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang-raped after she got lost and asked a group of men for directions back to her hotel. (Understandably there’s been a drop in the number of women visiting India.)

    The list goes on (including child brides, forced prostitution, human trafficking, etc.), but you get the idea. If you will learn from Martin Niemöller (whose mistake resulted in his spending the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps) and take action now, while you still can, you can take pride in knowing you individually (and we as a group collectively) helped bring an end to these horrors against women. Please speak up. Speak out. Do what you can individually and together collectively we can bring about change. It’s long overdue.

    Before you get discouraged and think the task overwhelming, remember the Chinese practice of foot binding (the ideal foot size being three inches in length) ended because of a combination of changing social conditions and anti-foot binding campaigns. Social change is brought about by awareness. Education. Explanation. All persons deserve to be treated with respect. Women are persons. Pick a cause you can believe in (there are many to choose from). A cause you feel you can support, then support it. We’re all in this together.

    a.237w prisonerMartin Niemöller’s hard-learned lesson:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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    Tammy - August 13, 2014 - 12:51 pm

    Tough topics to tackle, yet you’ve done quite well. It is hard to conceive of the ignorance and arrogance that propagates these crimes against women. Hard to wrap ones head around it. It will take a movement in that country, sustained by support from all of us. At the moment, it would seem that fear is winning. We can hope and work for better.

    Tana Bevan - August 13, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    Tammy~While the terror and ignorance get a lot of press, I’m finding that with a little digging it is possible to find those who are actively working to end these atrocities. It is on those valiant persons I wish to shine a light. I also want to encourage others to seek out these brave souls and join in a cause well worth joining. Women are persons and warrant respect.