I often talk about Women’s Rights, violence against women and girls, the struggles of women of color. I read a lot about it, I try to learn a lot about it. I share the information with my friends (female and male), whether it’s information that can educate us further or that can empower us.
I have no idea what it is that provokes certain men so much about women who try to end gender violence and/or empower women, who try to make a space for ourselves and each other. But I can’t even count the times that I’ve been called sexist and anti-male. It’s always “masked” under the pretense that they are indeed for gender equality – the problem is that women have taken up such a big space that we are now oppressing the men (even though males, especially white males, are the least oppressed throughout history). It reminds me of Debra Leigh’s list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors, where she quotes Rush Limbaugh:
“The civil rights movement, when it began, was appropriate, valuable, needed. But it’s gone to the extreme. The playing field is now level. Now the civil rights movement is no longer working for equality but for revenge.”
Leigh explains that his comments “are loaded with white people’s fear of people of color and what would happen if they gained “control.” Embedded here is also the assumption that to be “pro-black” (or any other color) is to be anti-white. (A similar illogical accusation is directed at women who work for an end to violence against women and girls. Women who work to better the lives of women are regularly accused of being “anti-male.”).”
Limbaugh’s comment is very similar to what these guys are doing – they often say that the feminist movement was a good idea when it began, because of course women should be allowed to vote!, but that now it’s mostly just about teaching each other to withhold sex from their men, or being sexually promiscuous (do you see the logic here, because it keeps eluding me?) …
That they present themselves as supportive of our cause, at the same time as they are bullying us and diminishing our efforts creeps me out. Violence against women and girls is becoming worse every day – all over the world. If this, in itself, isn’t enough proof that women are still discriminated against, then I don’t know what is. If this, instead of making you want to join us in ending this injustice, makes you want to discriminate us further, then that’s on you. But you are wrong, and YOU are on the side of the oppressor you claim that you are working against.
- Gender-based violence both reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims. It encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual abuse of children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, trafficking of women and girls and several harmful traditional practices. Any one of these abuses can leave deep psychological scars, damage the health of women and girls in general, including their reproductive and sexual health, and in some instances, results in death.
- Violence against women has been called “the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world.”
- Gender-based violence also serves – by intention or effect – to perpetuate male power and control. It is sustained by a culture of silence and denial of the seriousness of the health consequences of abuse. In addition to the harm they exact on the individual level, these consequences also exact a social toll and place a heavy and unnecessary burden on health services.