One of latest gruesome story coming out of India is that of a twelve year old girl who was gang raped by an uncle and two of her brothers. According to reports she was taken to her uncle’s house where the rape occured. When she threatened to go to the police, she was reportedly strangled. She was then beheaded and her body was dumped in bushes. The uncle and one of her brothers have since been arrested.
The fact that a child was treated in this manner is mind boggling. To know that the people who perpetrated the act is her own family makes it even more despicable. When, if ever, will the abuse of women and the culture of rape in India stop. One has to wonder if the government is doing enough to protect women and girls. India has a terrible record of sex abuse against minors with over 36, 000 cases reported in 2016.
We need to create a society where a woman is not afraid to use her voice. Too often women keep quiet about sexual abuse because they fear no one will believe them. Sexual abuse against women and girls should not be accepted as a way of life. Men must take responsibility for their actions. Respect women. No means no!
Abuse of women is a form of human rights violation that affects women just about every where in the world. Ironically one of the thing which contributes to abuse is the lack of unity among women and the fact that in some societies women actually take part in abusing other women. In places such as India and Pakistan mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws often beat and torture a new bride if they are not satisfied with the dowry that the family receives. There is no unity among the sisterhood and they see nothing wrong with hurting one of their kind.
In countries where Female Genital Mutilation is practiced, it is often the women who carry out this gruesome operation. In the Cameroon and other places that practice breast ironing it is the women who hurt their daughters and inflict physical as well as psychological scars. Women disfigure and hurt their daughters in what they say is an attempt to protect them from rape and harassment by men. These women fail to grasp the understanding that what they are doing is just another form of abuse. It is a no win situation for many young girls; if the men don’t hurt them, their mothers will.
One of the biggest obstacle in eliminating abuse against women worldwide is the fact that in many countries women have been conditioned to accept abuse as a part of life. Women suffer abuse in forced marriages and do nothing to protect their daughters from experiencing the same fate. So the vicious cycle of abuse is allowed to continue. For many young girls there is no escape, no way out. There is no one to stand up for them and no one to protect them.
The change must start with women taking responsibility for protecting their daughters instead of hurting them. Women must unity in the fight for equal rights for women. Young girls must no longer be denied the right to an education and they should not be forced into child marriages for which they are not prepared physically, mentally or emotionally. Women must understand that abuse of any form is not acceptable.
There is a new revolution, the silence has been broken, women are speaking out. Our voices are powerful. Already we are seeing results.
Let us do the same for domestic violence. End the silence, speak up. Don’t protect the image of your abuser; protect your life. Expose abusers, stand up and fight.
The following poem is a tribute to all the girls around the world who still have to endure the horror of breast ironing.
Punished for Being Beautiful
She is beautiful and she is so afraid,
In a perfect world her beauty would be a blessing,
But in her world it is something of a curse.
Boys will look at her,
Men will lust after her,
And for this she is punished.
Hot, searing iron is thrust into her breasts,
Her womanhood has to be disguised,
She is told It is for her own protection.
She carries the horror of this torture in her heart,
She wonders who will protect her,
From the pain of the hot iron being thrust into her breasts.
Who will protect her from the psychological scars
And from the physical pain,
Who will protect her from the distress
When she looks in the mirror and sees
Her scarred disfigured breasts.
She cries silently into her pillow
And she wonders is her pain will ever end.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Let’s get the conversation going.
An Open Letter to Men
From Women Against Domestic Violence
It is with tears in our eyes and fear for our lives that we pen this note to you. Domestic violence has taken the lives of many of our sisters leaving many of our homes broken and our children motherless.
Men we need you to understand that we are not the enemy so stop treating us like one. We give to you our love, our passion, our understanding and compassion, we trust you with our lives and all we ask is that you reciprocate and treat us right. Don’t see our love for you as a weakness, don’t leave us with cuts and bruises, don’t crush out our joy and leave us broken.
Men you need to understand that love is not supposed to hurt. If your love is causing your woman hurt then it means that you are doing something wrong. Any boy can hurt a woman but it takes a man to make her happy. So the next time you raise your hand to hit a woman stop and ask yourself am I a boy or am I a man. Treat women with love and respect….Be A Man!
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Let us take a moment to reflect on the women who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Most of us know at least one person who was a victim of domestic violence.
As I reflect, a former classmate immediately comes to mind. She was a sweet beautiful soul who lost her life in her early twenties. She was in a relationship and broke up with the guy. Her ex got back in contact with her and asked her to meet him to talk things over; they had a child together.
Naively she went with him to a hotel room where her forced her to drink poison and later checked out leaving her dead body behind. This promising young woman’s life ended before it even began. She was the last person I expected to die that way. Her ex was charged and convicted for her murder.
As you reflect think of anyone know who is presently in an abusive relationship and encourage them to seek help.
In certain cultures women are denied the right to choose their life partners and any defiance on their part can caused them to be murdered by their own family. One of the most horrendous cases of Honor Killing took place on December 7, 2012 when 22 year-old Nilofar Bibi was publicly beheaded by her own brother in Kolkata, India.
Bibi was only fourteen years old when she left home in an arranged marriage. She alleged that she was tortured by her in-laws and returned to her parent but disappeared days later. Her brother Mehtab Alam 29 at the time found his sister living with an old boyfriend. He stormed into the house and dragged Bibi into the street in broad daylight.
On that fateful day passersby watched in horror as he cut off his sister’s head saying that she had sinned and had to be punished. He left his sister’s body lying in a pool of blood on the road and calmly walked to the police station with her head in his hand to surrender himself. At the station he placed his sister’s head and the butcher knife he had used to decapitate her on the table in front of the police officer. It was later reported that the family expressed support for Alam saying they were proud he upheld the family honor.
Years later nothing has changed and women continue to be murdered in the name of family honor.
One of the signs to look for that might serve as an indication that your man may be setting you up for abuse is isolation. A man who loves you and have your best interest at heart will not force you to choose between him and your friends or your family. If he does this it is for an ulterior motive.
I recall the abusive boyfriend of a friend bragging to me that her family was telling her to leave him but she wouldn’t. He said that she didn’t care about her family, that she loved him and would do anything he told her to do. He was gloating….so proud of himself.
This is the mindset of some abusers, they want you all to themselves so that you are cut off from both family and friends. When he starts to abuse you there is often no one left for you to turn to. Women empower yourselves, watch out for these signs and don’t ignore the red flags.
Keep the Conversation Going
An Open Letter to Men
From Women Against Domestic Violence
It is with tears in our eyes and fear for our lives that we pen this note to you. Domestic violence has taken the lives of many of our sisters leaving many of our homes broken and our children motherless. Men we need you to understand that we are not the enemy so stop treating us like one. We give to you our love, our passion, our understanding and compassion, we trust you with our lives and all we ask is that you reciprocate and treat us right. Don’t see our love for you as a weakness, don’t leave us with cuts and bruises, don’t crush out our joy and leave us broken. You see men you need to understand that love is not supposed to hurt. If your love is causing your woman hurt then it means that you are doing something wrong. Any boy can hurt a woman but it takes a man to make her happy. So the next time you raise your hand to hit a woman stop and ask yourself am I a boy or am I a man. Treat women with love and respect….Be A Man!