I am a lucky woman. I have rarely felt the abuse of a culture where women are not valued in the same way men are. And yet, when I see posts like the 1 below, I stop and think about how normal this is to me, and how not-normal it should be.
“I attended a workshop about preventing gender violence, facilitated by Katz. There, he posted a question to all of the men in the room: “Men, what things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?”
Not one man, including myself, could quickly answer the question. Finally, one man raised his hand and said, “Nothing.” Then Katz asked the women, “What things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or assaulted?” Nearly all the women in the room raised their hand. One by one, each woman testified:
“I don’t make eye contact with men when I walk down the street,” said one. “I don’t put my drink down at parties,” said another.
“I cross the street when I see a group of guys walking in my direction.”
“I use my keys as a potential weapon.”
The women went on for several minutes, until their side of the blackboard was completely filled with responses. The men’s side of the blackboard was blank. I was stunned. I had never heard a group of women say these things before. I thought about all of the women in my life—including my mother, sister, and girlfriend—and realized that I had a lot to learn about gender”
-Why I Am A Male Feminist (via newwavefeminism)
My personal list of ways I avoid rape:
(Keep in mind that as a white, Midwestern woman, I am far less likely to be a target. I give you the list to show you that yes, all women think about having to protect themselves, even me.)
- having keys out as potential weapon whenever I am alone in the dark
- having my phone out pretending to be talking with someone to avoid being approached
- locking my doors in my car as soon as I get in, even before turning on the car
- not walking alone in Greece, Cuba, or Austria after dark
So I read all these tragic #yesallwomen stories and think about how the patriarchal structure of society perpetuates beliefs that rape is okay, blah blah blah….you know what I mean…and I am sad. And I hope for society to respect women (and men!) more as people and not bodies. However, I also know that rape is universal across time, cultures, and even animal species. Therefore, it cannot be all society’s fault. The ubiquitous nature of rape makes it no less awful, but it does make me pause to consider what “we” (the #yesallwomen tweeters) expect to accomplish by advocating for women’s rights. Perhaps all we desire is for our stories to be heard. For others (men, other women, everyone) to know what it is like to be us. I think that this cause is worthy, and is just as universal a cause as rape is a universal evil. Let’s focus on sharing our stories well and hearing others’ stories, and perhaps this will lead to change in ways we do not yet understand.
p.s.– I’ve also been reading The Locust Effect right now, which talks about how necessary an end of violence is to ending poverty globally, and I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to learn more about global poverty, violence, legal systems and the call on the Kingdom of God to seek redemption and reconciliation. Very related to the #yesallwomen movement and also closely connected to the book Half the Sky, which is on my list.