Thursday, November 26, 2009

Violence Against Women

The caption to this News24 picture reads:
SPEAKING OUT: A woman walks with her face partially covered during a march for International Day of (sic) the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Colombia. (Fernando Vergara, AP)
Resolution 54/134 (December 17, 1999) of the UN General Assembly designates November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Article 2 defines violence against women to include, among other forms, the following:
(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.
When South Africa held its Truth and Reconciliation hearings the issue of state sanctioned violence against women was mostly ignored.

Rape as an apartheid tool, for example, is hardly interrogated anywhere in our post-apartheid consciousness.

Can it be that the appalling levels of violence and general degradation that women continue to suffer explains some of this troubling omission?


Ps. In South Africa a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner according to the United Nations Development Fund For Women (see their Fact Sheet for more information).


Dade said...

We have so far to go, Ridwan. So far...

But, as you say, "Onward!"

Ridwan said...

You are absolutely right brother Dade.

Sistas get a raw deal everywhere and alongside kids remain the most vulnerable and historically oppressed.

Peace to you and Maty. Thanks for looking in.

Onward! :)


Eugene said...

Men prefer easy targets. Most men will not take on someone they are matched with or who are bigger and possibly tougher.

There is a whole mindset that needs to change culturally within all alleged "civilized" cultures. Women have their own power that should be loved and respected. Real brave men, in my opinion, should help in protecting, nurturing, insuring the health, teach, Love, care for, etc., women and children. It is not brave or manly to attack someone who is an easy target. Heavy weight boxers aren't matched to 150 pound inexperienced fighter.

I thought it was funny in a chess book that I read written by the female U.S. champion that when she heard the game described as war and thus masculine, she thought the opposite. She thought it feminine because women for the most part have a sense of fairness. Here you have two equally matched teams of 16 pieces. Each player takes turns and moves one piece at a time. Since when, in this alleged civilized patriarchal world is there a sense of fairplay. Men would rather have easy targets. Look at the war with Iraq and Afghanistan. Look at business.

Violence against women is unjust and chicken shit. Men should prove their bravery, IMO, in figuring out how to stop the great systematic horrific monster of alleged "civilization" from killing off the people. Struggle against it. Change it. And INCLUDE WOMEN instead of beating them out of participation.

Many Indian tribes could not go to war unless the women said it was OK. Afterall, it is their families, the children they birthed, that would be in danger.

Ridwan said...

Thanks for a great comment Eugene. You bring light to a very important issue that cuts across the divides of nations and states, etc.

This paragraph (yours) sums it up"

"Since when, in this alleged civilized patriarchal world is there a sense of fairplay. Men would rather have easy targets. Look at the war with Iraq and Afghanistan."

So very true!

The topic of violence against women does not, however, receive enough attention and address.



Cartmanslover said...

Everytime I leave my home, I have to adjust my attitude. I know that as soon as I step out into Hobbes' brutish world, the possibility of war is very real.

It' s an internal dialogue that goes something like this:"Ok, you are going to ignore the crude comments, just stay calm, don' t look at them, don' t respond, try to be as inconspicuous as you possibly can(which is what my mom used to tell me-to my shock- everytime I came back from the shops having been sworn at by some man with a complex)."

But then, there are just days when I' m waiting for a man to grab me so I can make an example of him to others.Remember that short guy with the teeth I told you about Dr.Laher? Ya, that was one of those days fro me. I wanted to deal with that smurf- ukweshwama- style, know what I'm sayin!

This is what I want: to walk the streets without fear or anxiously expecting an attack from a random stranger. But this is Hobbes' world and that just isn' t possible. I don't know what it's going to take for the abuse to stop.

In South Africa, people are still hesitant to talk about it. And while that isn' t happening, them we' re in trouble. Can you please tell me why that particular number"16"? I really don' t know- I' m hanging my head in shame. And why at this time of the year? Why not in August, women's month?

You know, this campaign feels foreign to me. I' m a Black woman- I belong to the most vulnerable population- and I just don' t feel like this includes me. Why is that? Is it me? Am I the problem?

Ridwan said...

Thanks for your comment Cartmanslover.

I think that many women would feel alienated by calling a month, a day, even 16 of them, for the purpose of addressing violence against women.

The substance of the critique is not in the symbol of a day, etc.

I think that many of those same folk who feel removed from such remembrances/ceremonies also struggle daily in real contexts that can't easily be labeled or contained.

Just this morning I was listening to some government official speak about National Aids Awareness Day, which is today.

He started explaining why there has been so much advancement since the Mbeki denialism, etc.

Then he started a sentence by saying "our celebration of AIDS today is much different than .... "


We "celebrating" AIDS now?

The point is that the struggle is lost in the officialdom of labeling events for purposes of owning/framing (appropriating) struggles.

Nothing new.

You are not alone in feeling alienated from this but the struggle(s) is wider and more complex.


Cartmanslover said...

Well in that case, let me take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy AIDS Day! May there be many more to come!

Has Zuma taken his HIV test yet?Apparently he' ll be taking one for the whole country to marvel at today.It' s his way of celebrating AIDS.Much like he did when he rubberlessly shagged an HIV positive woman then ruined her life after that.

The results won' t be made public though. I mean, do we really need to be told his results? Isn' t it obvious he's...oh but wait!He said he' s one of those people that' s immune to the HI Virus! Quite the pres we have! Miracle worker!

Zuma and government' s "symbolism" around HIV/AIDS is really a drag. Where are the ARVs for heaven' s sake? What happens after the publicity stunt? What happens on the 2nd of December?...We go back "celebrating" the "16 days".

Twisted society,

Breathe peace.

Eugene said...

It is possible, Cartmanslover, that men can treat women with Love and respect to where they don't live in fear. I am reading "Gulag: A History," by Anne Applebaum. I just read about a 1954 revolt that lasted 40 days at the Kenrig camp. During that revolt, the male prisoners busted a hole in the wall between them and the women, which was usually done to, you guessed it, rape women. This time was different, though. The men and women mingled, some married, and no women were harmed during that whole revolt. It can be done.

This is a society based on violence, and it can be changed.