Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Violence Against Women

       In honour of UNESCO's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is recognized on the 25th of November, I have come to blog about violence against women. 
Photo: Alice Pasquini / Italy / 2012:

               I haven't much to say, so this should be rather short because I wouldn't want to waste your time repeating all the usual things about stopping violence now and gender equality etc. despite their importance. However I do come to make two points.
              The first, is something you all may know already; the way a man treats his mother is the way he'll treat you. I find it so necessary to bring up this point, because I feel that a lot of young ladies these days blindly go into relationships and end up with the worst end of the stick. The reasoning behind this statement, is that a boy spends his whole life with his mother and by extension, his sister/s and while growing up he can either respect them as equals or treat them like shit. However he treats these important women in his life, is how he will treat his future wife as these customs and this behaviour have been apart of him forever and qualities like that hardly ever change, and it takes very little to send them back to their former selves if they do 'reform'. So I beg, that in our struggle to eliminate violence against women, that young ladies keenly observe their future spouse and ask questions to truly know what they are getting themselves into. Trust me, it's not always obvious, as I know a guy, Zack, who pretends to be a nice guy. He's only 15 and has the worst temper, and often explodes; he curses his mother and hits his sister but if you ever hear him talk on the phone with his girlfriend, you'd wonder if this is the same monster. And his devious mind is surely at work as he pretends to be a loving and caring son and brother only while on the phone with his girlfriend to put on a show. What a good show indeed, because she's surely fooled by his trickery and wouldn't listen to a good word of mine.
            And that brings me to my other point; I have told you the previous story, which by all means is completely true, even though it was embarrassing for me to type and inform you all that I know such an arsehole. In preparing and thinking about writing this blog, I truly had an internal battle of whether to state this or not and even how to state it because I was embarrassed and I'd like to think that along with fear, embarrassment is what also keeps violence going. The embarrassment of knowing an abuser and of being abused is really tremendous, and it coerces you to keep it a secret. It's being consumed by the shame that one could be so weak to let someone take advantage of them, and the fear of being judged for letting this happen. But I want to say that the time for fear and embarrassment must come to an end, and it is time for a revolution. Why should those who have been abused be embarrassed, when those who abuse are much worse. Abusers are the ones that should be cowering in shame to show their faces, they should be afraid of people knowing the horrible acts that they are capable of. It is the fear of the abused that keeps abusers going and keeps them thinking that they are strong and in complete control, and this must end. It is a cycle where the abuser is afraid of letting people know what he does, that if the abused does say something, the abuser will strike again, leaving the abused in greater fear. It's a complicated topic that is beyond my resolve, but I do believe that if we create a loving and understanding environment for those that are abused, they could be more comfortable in disclosing their stories. Let's not move backwards in time and have women cowering in the shadows of their male counterparts but rather let us move forward where equality is real. Let us reform our society, free from stereotyped roles of masculinity and femininity, so that we can be equals amongst each other living without violence.

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