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sexual violence in India, USA & elsewhere


June 2013
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one female student pleads for everyone to understand that men are HUMANS, capable of MAKING CONSCIOUS DECISIONS leading to logical reasoning. her society blames women for being raped. she doesn’t understand why women would even think it’s okay to be raped or feel inferior to men. the rape culture worldwide (not only India) is ridiculous she says, and people only see what they want to see. it’s easier to blame things like entertainment or how a woman dresses than accept that the real blame has been rooted within our culture and our way of thinking all along. read her article : When I say culture I mean the rape culture worldwide, not just India: Rape in India (and elsewhere).

and that brings us to this ‘elsewhere’ problem of sexual violence which IS a systemic social problem in the world!

in france, two girls were killed because they didn’t follow the moral code of a muslim family. sohane benzaine was an 18yr old muslim girl who was set on fire in oct 2002 for her rebellious behavior by a local gang leader in vitry-sur-seine, surburb south of Paris. she was a victim of the kind of hyper masculine behavior to enforce islamist codes of sexual behavior that amara denounces in breaking the silence. or the other young woman, samira bellil, who had courageously spoken out in a book entitled dans l’enfer des tournantes denouncing the violent gang rapes of young muslim women for rebelling against the islamist dress codes and gender –based behavior imposed by their older brothers. the group ni putes ni soumises [neither hookers nor submitted/ defeated/subjected] was formed only because one woman saw that other muslim women in the ghettos in france had no voice. the group was formed also to combat the macho muslim men who constantly refer to young women as ‘all whores except my mother’
and to challenge those french observers who believe that if women are oppressed it is because they refuse to be rebel.

recently, in afghanistan or pakistan two were girls were shot and chopped because they spoke about this injustice or violence. there are many other cases which may not have made news, and go invisible like the women on whom they are perpetrated, but they do occur.

according to jackson katz, the reason people ‘kill the messenger’ of change or call names to those who ask for change is because they don’t like people who rock the boat. this is quite an interesting idea and evident given the dirty names those fundamentalists called the femen women recently [“dirty whores”/sales putes]; or names in the USA like ‘butch’ or ‘dyke’ etc; .

these “enemies” of change who name call, or kill or put up others to kill, are friends and family. how often do we hear statistics that 85% of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone a woman knows/someone familiar, even if it were for two minutes, or all their lives. katz quotes martin luther king’s ‘the silence of friends’ as the single most lethal weapon that makes sexual violence acceptable in society. the silence of those in power or those who lead, and who do nothing to voice violence against women. this silence from men is NOT a women-problem but a MEN-problem! katz suggests that men in power can effect a change in the way other men – who abuse and violate – see  and view women.

katz attacks one women who thanks him for his sensitivity training of sexual violence towards women in the marine corps. he tells her he doesn’t do sensitivity training; why does he even have to teach sensitivity training re women’s violence? why don’t they know this? in the multicultural world which we inhabit, so full of different ethnicities, races, class etc, why do we need men or women to teach sensitivity towards others? doesn’t the very notion of multiculturalism imply that people are different and that because we live in this melting pot we should be able to share space and understand differences? not just in ethic or exotic cuisines.

according to katz we need men with moral integrity to stand up and speak out for women, because it is not a women-problem; men have wives, mothers and daughters who are affected by this violence and male nonchalance that we see and hear about globally when a woman is raped or violated.

there used to be an organization called “men can stop rape” at john jay college, CUNY NY, but it is no longer operable. katz understands well, like the organization “men can stop rape” that the problem isn’t women or what women are wearing to provoke violence like rape etc but men, and their own actions. we could say katz is feminist, but whether feminist or not, he’s got the problem nailed! macho societies need more influential people like him to tell it like it is for change to occur. there are men who can never see or understand a woman’s point of view. sadly, we live in this macho world where only a man’s words have force, in some milieu more than others. a man can say exactly the same thing that a woman has been saying forever, but only when the same is said from another man [in power] will other men listen!

the message – and bottom line – should come from these men and women who should get this message across:
“Any man not invited into your body is not welcome!”


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