General Non-Fiction posted May 31, 2014

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Female Genocide

How Many Girls Died Today?

by Spiritual Echo

For North American women, especially those of us who battled on front lines for gender equality and freedom from sexual harassment, the evening news is hard to digest. For the last few decades women have luxuriated in the afterglow of victory to the point that if I tell a young woman what it was like a mere generation ago, she is aghast and takes for granted the protection and liberties we feminists fought for and won.

Before the battle for equality was waged, a man could beat his wife without reprisal from the law. The evening news about atrocities occurring to women, saddens me, but does not shock me any longer. It is more of the same; the only difference being that men in third world countries get away with murder.

In my time, here in Canada, in order to have an assault processed by authorities, the victim had to lay the charges--police rarely did, were not obliged to make an arrest and didn't want to get involved in domestic issues. In fact, the cops seemed to wallow in a brotherhood of silence--nudge-nudge, wink-wink. The notion that the woman 'must have done something to anger her husband' was an acceptable excuse for a man to bludgeon a woman. Women, with children to feed and little hope of employment that would feed and house their family, just 'took it.'

Almost all of my female friends experienced some form of workplace harassment, some blatant pawing, ass grabbing and lecherous comments, and in one case, the woman was raped. There was absolutely no point in reporting these indecencies. In most cases, the woman who complained was quietly let go for trumped up reasons she could not appeal. There was no severance package and there were no laws that required reasons for dismissal--for either gender.

Most decent men would be appalled at women who didn't report a rape. They might even label her a coward, but let's look at the times. There were no rape kits or DNA test to prove the accusation. It was her word against his, and who do you suppose the authorities gave credence to? If a rape victim persisted in pressing charges, her entire lifestyle was examined and used as evidence against her--and she was definitely on trial--including her sexual history. The premise 'that she asked for it' was the norm. Few rape charges ever led to convictions.

I won't even address educational or workplace bias that shackled women into subservient roles, but I will ask you to examine what is happening in third world countries to women and clear your mind of the preconceived notion that women have any status or rights in many parts of the world. I want to remind you of what it was like in our own--not so long ago.

It has been almost two months since three hundred Nigerian girls were kidnapped, taken from their school and sequestered in the jungle. A video tape was released showing 137 girls, dressed 'appropriately' reading the Quran and denouncing their Christianity. Are the others busy servicing the savages or have they been killed?

If not for social media that spread the news of this abduction, the rest of the world might still be in the dark. Nigerian officials did nothing until global outrage forced them to pay lip service to the human atrocity. Has too much time passed in our twenty-four hour news cycle for us to care?

Over the last few days, the news reports that the location of the girls has been discovered, but nothing has been done. This time the excuse is that sacrificing the girls' lives was not worth the scrimmage to retrieve them, stating the rebels would kill their abductees. Really? What about bombing the compound with tear gas and have the army go in wearing masks to locate and remove the victims? Are we satisfied that some progress has been made and become complacent in our outrage, becoming inured to an event that occurred when snow was still on our driveways?

This week in Pakistan a woman was stoned to death by her family because she married illegally, without permission, to a man, Mohammed Iqbal, who was not approved by the woman's family because he came from the wrong sect. The murder occurred in broad daylight on the steps of the courthouse while police stood by and watched--doing nothing. If not for Internet and a video going viral, this event would have gone unpunished. 'Honour killings' are common, so much so that the woman's older sister was also killed in the same fashion without reprisal. And why should we, presumably the more civilized people in the world, give a damn? Especially considering the husband admitted killing his first wife so that he was free to marry Farzana, the victim--his new wife.

What of the woman in Sudan who was forced to give birth to her child while in shackles? She has been sentenced to death simply because she married and converted to Christianity. Married to a US citizen, but she is not, the US will do nothing to intervene. Do we really think we have enough resources to help everyone? Maybe, just maybe, we, as a society, have only so much compassion and righteous indignation to spread around. Or maybe we are resigned to do nothing at all. Has religion become the excuse, the template for justice?

Yesterday a video from India was shown during the news of two girls, fourteen and sixteen year-old innocent females, hanging from a tree. Not only had they been gang raped prior to being strangled, they had been beaten and fucked by the steel pipe that was used to render the girls defenceless. Now, if the word FUCK offends you here, more so than the atrocities, please chastise me, for I will not post a warning. How else can you describe what happened to them? That steel pipe was forced into their vaginas and anuses, ripping out and destroying their organs, debasing and murdering two girls whose only crime was to leave their primitive shack to relieve themselves. What would you call it?

It was only in 2012 when a girl was raped on a bus in India, a common daily occurrence, that social media streamed the information to the world. That publicity gave Indian girls a fighting chance to expect protection, but not much. The rapes continue.

How about female circumcision that is still common in countries all over the world? Is it acceptable to us that this practice of cutting out a girl's clitoris on her thirteenth birthday be treated as a tribal ritual rather than a mutilation?

When social change began in North America, women did not have the same barricades to scale in order to fight for justice. At the very least, we went to school--we knew how to read and write--we might have been oppressed, but we were not chattels. I'll wear my battle scars proudly knowing that I was part of a movement that created opportunity and justice for all women--at least on this side of the world. But what about the girls in the jungle or the women cowering, afraid to want anything for themselves from life for fear that even the smallest shred of decency is all they can expect. To fight back would mean certain death.

And while I will never negate the strong will and determination of women in North America, it behoves me to tell you that in these extreme circumstances it will take men to fight for justice for the women in these countries.

We have some power, even given the thousands of miles that separate us from our sisters. We can boycott all products made in India--including diamonds--a chief source of income in the Indian economy. And our soprano voices will be effective with our own elected leaders. That we can do, should do and must do to help force universal ethics for all people--but especially the most defenceless--the women and children.

Women in these third world countries have only one way to protest and change the course for their daughters--martyrdom. They must die to make a difference--and die publically. Their images hanging from trees or lying on bloodied steps are the only weapon they have, and I would hope, and pray, that we can save just a few.

Apathy is not an option.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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