Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

05 December 2012

16 Days Guest Post: Stop blaming women for VAW!

Thanks to Erin McKelle from Ohio and Fearless Feminism for today's post.

Gender based violence is such a huge problem in communities everywhere and it infuriates me that most refuse to acknowledge it. 1 in 3 women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime, 1 in 3 will be the victims of sexual violence and 1 in 4 the victims of sexual assault.
Women are told by society to be careful. To not be one of these victims, to protect themselves. We are told to not dress slutty and not get too tipsy. We are constantly being blamed for our own victimization. This message is seen everywhere and is internalized to make us fearful.

I think most women would agree that there is some level of fear going out alone at night or going to a rough neighborhood by ourselves. This comes from the media telling us to always be scared. That crimes happen randomly to women and that you'd better watch your back. The consequence is that women are living in constant fear and uncertainty. Their presence is made smaller, since they don't feel the freedom men do to come and go as they please. It is almost like we in the United States do live like those in what we consider to be gender oppressive countries (taking the spotlight away from our own) where women have curfews and can't be out past a certain hour. While this may not be a formal structure put in place, isn't it an informal one? If you see a woman alone walking down the street at 1 AM, doesn't it arose some sort of curiosity? Doesn't it make you wonder, at least a little?

We need to stop doing this to women. Making them the victims of our societies aggression problem is causing the deep-seated stress and fear in women everywhere. We need to wake up and realize we don't live in a progressive gender-equal society. If we did, we wouldn't have to tell women how to behave because there would be no fear of anyone getting hurt! Women would be women and men would be men and we'd be treated with the same respect and all have the same expectations from society. It's really as simple as that.

 
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