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Imagine a World without Violence against Women

The following are notes, taken by Liz Araujo, on a talk given by Azi Khalili at a topic group, “Global Feminism: Violence against Women,” at the April 2021 Contemporary Women’s Issues Workshop.

Imagine a world in which women are fully valued, are thriving economically, have access to health care and adequate housing, are free of sexual harassment, need not be secretive, are not scared to speak out, and are not dominated by sexism—and in which men are allies.

We can end sexism and violence against women. Outside our internalized oppression as females, there is a benign reality in which we feel connected, can remember our power, are not victims, and can fight for a non-oppressive society.

How do you keep half the population of the world (there are four billion women) agreeing to be the subservient sex? With violence and threats of violence. It can begin as early as in utero, and it is pervasive—every girl child experiences it in some form. At least one in three females is subjected to overt violence, physical or sexual. To survive, we find a way to forget that it happened. 

Women are more vulnerable during times of crisis, such as war, economic collapse, and occurrences like COVID-19. 

The violence comes in many forms: verbal, physical, economic, psychological, and emotional. A result is more grief, anger, unplanned pregnancies, and difficulty thinking about our reproductive and sexual health. We have an increased risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. 

Men have been given societal permission to use women’s bodies to feel better about themselves and less lonely, scared, and angry. They have been taught that they can do what they want with women’s bodies. 

As females, whatever our sexual preference, we are raised to accommodate others’ feelings. We are expected to make people feel better, to apologize, to make people comfortable.

In every society, there is a group of women that it’s “okay” to target with violence—poor women, refugees, the lowest castes, Indigenous women, African American women, Turkish women, at times Jewish women. When we allow one group to be targeted, it opens the door to anyone being targeted. To end violence against women, we need a global sisterhood, standing together. 

Imagine a world in which women are not targeted with violence.

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 204, July 2021)

Last modified: 2021-10-20 11:49:39+00