Monday, 14 May 2018
Yesterday was Mother's Day in North America, a day where mothers are celebrated.
And yet the hypocrisy continues.
There are people in government positions who are working to limit women's rights. Believe it or not, some of these are actually women themselves.
Historically, women have been overwhelmingly depicted in positions of subservience and often subject to grievous punishments for any transgression or behaviour that was not considered proper. The Bible reads "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). Homer's Odyssey contains a scene where a young man tells his mother to get back to her weaving because "speech will be the business of men" (Scroll 1, Line 7). As recently as the 19th century, women who aborted their pregnancies were sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Even today, many women feel that they have to work twice as hard for the same amount of reward that men receive. They are subject to judgment and harassment for their career and life choices. Even their most basic right - to control their own bodies - has come under attack. That's just in North America. In Yemen, women are not allowed to leave their homes at all without male permission. In Saudi Arabia, rape victims can be forced to marry their rapist.
The last time I checked, this was 2018 and not 1930.
In the movie The Color Purple there’s a scene where Oprah Winfrey’s character Sofia was practically ordered by the mayor’s wife to be her maid. Sofia, being a headstrong and independent woman, responded “Hell, no!” She was immediately surrounded and attacked by several townspeople, and when she pleaded for help from the (white) sheriff, he pistol whipped her and put her in prison – all because she defied convention. The experience broke her.
I am a member of several abuse survivors’ groups on social media and the stories are heartbreaking. From sexual assault to kidnapping and gang rape, most of these people have one thing in common: the authorities don’t listen to them when they try to bring their abusers to justice. Instead they are blamed, shamed, and ignored. Many have gone to trial only to see their abuser get a light sentence, or worse, walk free to offend again. Some women have ended up running and living in fear for years.
I too am a survivor: I was subjected to constant teasing, insults, gaslighting, and demands for sex at unreasonable times. Because of that I nearly lost my job, my self-respect, and my sanity. However I never reported him because it would've been my word against his, and he had lied about the situation to everyone who would listen. When I tried to tell the truth to his family, they said "he wasn't raised that way" and disowned me. It took many years before I finally made peace with myself about it.
Abuse victims deserve to be heard and have justice done. Women deserve to not have to live in fear. I've heard it said that vigilante justice should be legal, but the problem with that is that more innocent people could be caught in the crossfire.
Sadly, at the rate things are going, it will take a long time before true equality is a reality.