Originally Posted Here. I’m sharing this blog post on FindingFelicity because it speaks about a larger issue. Yes, here on FindingFelicity we focus on bringing awareness to patient autonomy, AML and bone marrow donations. But there is merit in awareness and activism in other social issues, such as violence against women. I had a conversation recently about feminism coupled with International Women’s Day, and the gentleman (very eloquently) stated that he was tired of the whole argument. “Sir,” I said, “While there is awareness, and you may hear about it all the time in the news, social media, it doesn’t actually mean that change has happened does it? You are a man. It’s difficult for you to see it from my perspective.” He nodded and we continued our discussion. But it caused me to think, and subsequently lose sleep over the world’s perception of a woman and also to think about what the public does with the knowledge they gain from awareness. Now, FindingFelicity was written with a healthcare agenda originally but it has morphed into a platform for social awareness in general. If this little project can bring a smile, and motivate you in conjunction with donating blood, encouraging patient autonomy and provide feminist awareness, LGBT awareness, equal rights awareness (which is granted a hefty agenda, but I’ve always been one to bite off more than I can chew) than that is wonderful. BUT if all of this comes along and no action is taken, then the goal is missed. I hope that is not the case. For all the hashtags and social media outlets out there, something has got to give, and this is why I’ve posted the article again here.
This is the first post in a series of posts I’ll be writing for People Against Violence.
Certain issues around the globe have come to the attention of the average reader, for a few reasons. First for an awareness cause, and then also for the shock factor, but never purely for the sake of action. I’d like to posit that the two go hand in hand. You as the reader are potentially saying, “Of course.” But few people actually take the steps to take actions, posing the argument that they are powerless to do something, so awareness is the best aid they could possible give.
I don’t agree.
I was reading an article from The New York Times about the surprisingly high rates of violence against women the U.N. is still finding. Still. The article states that the evidence is ubiquitous, that despite the many “gains” for women in education, health and political power, violence against women and girls worldwide “persists at alarmingly high levels,” according to a United Nations analysis that the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to present to the General Assembly on Monday.
The article goes on to explain that 35% of women worldwide (more than one in three) said they’d experienced violence of a physical nature in their lifetime. The report says that one in 10 girls under the age of 18 were forced violently to have sex. The topic is under heavy scrutiny as delegates gather at the U.N. to evaluate how well governments have done since their meeting in 1995 in Beijing, China.
Now, here are my thoughts on the subject; while strides are made, only those that have benefitted the middle class have even been remotely successful. Only those women with moderate amounts of money have benefitted from whatever regulations created. I know. I know it, because I lived in an apartment in Beijing, China, under a family who threw out their daughter-in law, simply because she said her husband, their son, was hurting her. BUT how could her husband, the man who brought them their “golden” grandson and the man who was their child beat their daughter-in law. Their logic therefore lead them to believe that their daughter was lying. Out she went.
The family eventually took her back. And then it was as if nothing had happened. I met her in the stair well and her face was vacant, resigned to what she’d have to live with for the rest of her life. Divorce is not popular in China, the woman is wrong. The common belief is that the violence against the women in the home was a problem that only concerned the family involved. Outside involvement mean the loss of face.
Cut to me here, sitting at my computer reading the article about the U.N. finding “alarmingly high” levels of violence against women, and I find a series of photographs:
Pittsburgh-based photographer Allaire Bartel’s series ‘Boundaries’ captures what it’s like to experience male entitlement from a female perspective. The model’s vacant expression alludes to how “how conditioned we as women have become to accept this atmosphere as excusable and even normal.” You can find more photography here.
In respect the above, it is no surprise to me that the U.N. is finding the amounts of violence “alarmingly” high. It’s due to the simple pure fact that we as woman have taken it to mean strength if we grin and bear it. The women who have a little power (money) have the confidence to say something, but even then, I believe they’d sugar coat it. Women who indentify with a lower standard of living, with no prospects, and rely on their husband’s family, have an added difficulty of clipped wings. In China such as, if a census were taken women would say they are treated properly, while most weren’t. The woman thrown out, couldn’t tell her friends, they’d say it was her fault, obviously she isn’t pleasing her family enough, that must be why he beats her. Right?
Of course that’s not right. But these are the facts. It’s going to take more than government sanctions to dim the amount of violence occurring against women. I’d posit, awareness, action, empowerment coupled with government sanctions. But that won’t be enough either if the violence stems from tradition, habit or mindset. The solution? I’d like to say I know. But honestly we’d have to answer the two questions:
1. What goes deeper than government regulation?
2. How do you instil the want in people’s will to follow something which goes against tradition?
*Below you’ll see a three part poem “~toxic”, written about toxic relationships, and the confined space they create.
Thank you and Good Afternoon.