Today is a special today. We mark the International Day to End Violence Against Women by considering some aspects that are seldom discussed openly, yet grant understanding of the full impacts of violence against half the world’s population.
What are the odds of a little girl growing up to never know violence against her person? Not very good. The facts include that affluence, economic conditions, education levels, social status, living location or professionalism have little to do with a non-violent life. Violence permeates every level of society in every corner of the world at every moment of every day.
There are places in the world that women are at higher risk than in other locations. They are herded like cattle, treated as slaves or possessions, beaten daily, publicly stoned, jailed, tortured, kidnapped, executed and raped with such regularity that it is not considered newsworthy at the local level.Violence against women is not a form of discipline and rape is not a “crime of passion” but a crime of violence. Violence against women is a form of control. The cycle of violence will not change until policies and laws are passed that provide the protection women actually need instead of the window dressing currently delivered. The problem is that the policies and laws come from governments and policy makers that are comprised mainly of men.
Men in power choose not to include women in the discussion about policies that effect women the most. This is because they fear allowing women to have power will diminish their own power and/or masculinity. Abusers accuse women of lacking self-confidence and being weak, yet use these attributes of women to provide self-gratification of violent inner propensities for proof of the same power and masculinity images to their male counterparts.
Why should men care, as long as things continue to work for them as well as things do now? Because REAL men care and love the women in their lives. They cherish their mothers, their sisters, their wives, significant others and partners and especially their daughters. They support, advocate and believe that women should be treated with respect. They are angered by those who do not hold the same values. They have never physically abused a woman in any way, shape or form.
Have you ever spent 24 hours in the shoes of an abuse victim? Do you know what it is to be expected to be violated in the most violent and invasive way possible and then be expected to “get over it?” Do you know what it is like to wonder who and when, not if, you will be abused again? Do you know what it is to wait years for your day in court, to be silenced because your testimony against your attacker is deemed “too emotional?” Do you know what it is to lose your job from the effects of lack of sleep, fear, anxiety and physical ailments as a result of the abuse? Have you ever had past abuse interfere in every relationship of your life, and especially the most intimate ones? Is your sleep ever interrupted by the nightmares as your mind replays the old movies in your sleep?
Look at the headlines. On any given day, you WILL find stories about violence against women. (If you can’t find them, let us know. We will find them for you.)
MALE READERS: As you read, listen or see these accounts, we want you to seriously ask which side you come down on: the men who do the abusing, or REAL men.
FEMALE READERS: As you read, listen or see these accounts, we want you to thank all the REAL men in your life for standing with you against violence. Then ask your closest friends if they are currently in an abusive relationship, and if so, you must help them.
ALL READERS: Understand that things will not get better until this is not a taboo topic and violence is a cycle that can be disrupted. How?
GET INVOLVED! Check out these links, or contact your local women’s shelter and see what the greatest needs in your community are. It is up to us – we have waited far too long for solutions, and all we get is more meaningless lip service.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
ORANGEURHOOD Campaign Details