It’s not just Rush Limbaugh or politicians who seek to enslave women – they are an international legion from the Taliban to war criminal employing mass rape as weapon against all of a culture and society. They see women as a means and rationalize it by whatever serves the purpose: from theology to expediency. Unfortunately for America, this thinking is not limited to countries weighed down by dictators and ravaging conflicts. Some of the US’s own political and media “trend-setters” are sounding like authoritarian despots and witch doctors.
In the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) rape has almost become routine in certain provinces, war zones. In Bosnia & Herzegovina mass rape and “enforced pregnancy” were inflicted to injure women and the society as a part of ethnic cleansing, genocide. Sexual violence though is not only performed by one group against other, but within the same group, society or even family. This is where the US needs to be a leader.
Empowerment is the best deterrent and defense. Education, career and economic opportunities are a challenge even in western democracies, but they are also critical determiners of empowerment within the political, societal and family arena. This is not a matter of society giving something to women. It has been evidenced that when women control land and financial resources, the whole family lives better as well as land and national economies performing better. See Film for Blog-“Women’s Rights=More Food”
Women/girls need to be those that primarily determine their reproductive options. Or at least be in position to testify and/or advocate for such. However, not only are women being attacked on matters of contraception and sexual freedom, but on their willingness to be advocates and participants in the debate. Rather, current discourse, (if we can call it that), in the media and political forum frequently calls upon old stereotypes, men who cling to such and who presume the dominant role in lecturing and even abusing.
Rush Limbaugh and his words of insult hurled at a Georgetown female law student, Sandra Fluke, became the visible part of an iceberg directed by a new regressive religious right in the US not that fundamentally different from the Taliban. If women/girls could not be pushed into the back of homes and offices by logic, theology and a perverse attack upon their chastity/morality would be employed. Of course “Hate Radio” by many wannabe Rush Clones is not only focused on women, but generally targets “the Other.”
The haters in the US, Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, East Asia, Latin America tend to fire at each other but also feed on one another’s mutual fear and dislike. However, women frequently have been the silent target condemned to suffer the wounds quietly. Speaking out though undermines the whole devised cycle of hate and counter hate. After all, men cannot afford to ignore women as a whole-mothers, sisters, daughters or spouses. That is why women no longer silent and no longer absent in the debate undermines the whole infrastructure of hate politics.
Women’s empowerment thus has produced a primal counter-reaction. An advocates for women’s rights is sexually assaulted in Uganda. Girls/Women are locked up in Russia for expressing anger at politics dominated by church and women are disfigured by acid for refusing a man’s proposal for marriage in Pakistan. Thus, a women being called a slut by Rush Limbaugh for advocating a view, really any view, is the wrong message for the greatest democracy to direct at the evolving democracy of our shared civilization. Most Americans cannot personally recall when women gained the right to vote, but in this less than a century it is clear no gain is secure until there is a global recognition in home, society, enterprise and politics of an endowed equality.
The United Nations has reestablished UN Women to help developed consensus regarding criteria and efforts to insure/promote women’s rights/issues. (See Film for Blog Report – “UNWomen”). No state, including the US can dictate. However, the US must be both an advocate and model. Otherwise, as oppression and repression of women still haunts much of our global community in various forms, if we Americans do not act to confront and counter the war on women our society as whole will be tagged again hypocritical when we seek to speak and lead in promoting free societies.
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Top Photo - UN Maternal Care Ivory Coast
Bottom Photo - 2005 UN Security Council Debate on Women in Afghanistan: Sweeta Noori, Country Director for Afghanistan of Women for Women International, addresses open debate on women, peace and security. (Film Annex & Francesco Rulli are already leading the effort in Afghanistan Development, for Afghan women & building schools in Afghanistan and Afghanistan Internet - See Afghan Development Initiative)