A lot at CSW, I’ve been asked why am I here? Why does what’s going on here concern me? The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, is an event mainly attended by many females activist, policy makers, faith organizations, and a few male allies who are all trying to achieve gender equality. And in order to solve inequalities, both sides must come together. With that being said the question quickly becomes, not why are they’re a few men here, but why aren’t their more men here?
I quickly learned that no matter what country you’re talking about, the number one focus area is gender based violence, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault/rape. “Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.” “Every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.” And sadly, that number may be a lot higher because domestic violence and rape often goes unreported. Madonna recently stated in an interview, that she didn’t reported being raped when she was 19, because she was scared, and that is often the case of many, scared of being judged, scared of retaliation by the abuser, scared of having to relive the traumatic experience numerous times in an attempt to obtain justice. There is a huge misconception that only rape happens only to “bad women”. It can happen anywhere to anyone, such as over a family member’s house, on the way home from work, at the doctor’s office, or even at church.
One of the six attackers in the New Delhi bus rape, said “When being raped, she (the victim) shouldn’t have fought back. She should of just stayed silent and allow the rape to happen, if she did she would have lived.” Just be silent and allow injustices to happen? When an unarmed black male is killed there is outrage, when the terror group ISIS commits a beheading there is outrage, when a politician or CEO embezzles millions of funds there is outrage, but when a women, our mothers, sisters, and daughters are being failed by her society, there is silence…..
Men are needed to break this silence, and the first thing to do is to become aware, a problem can’t be solve it you don’t even know it exists. Recognizes that women are being oppressed not just through violence, but also through the glass ceiling that prevents access to higher positions. Be aware of the 32 billion dollar industry of Human Trafficking, which IS also going on in America, with the average age of girls being sold into prostitution is 12-14 years old. Learn of the oppression through media, and the negative role gender norms can play. After you become aware, take a stand and say that you will not be a part of the problem. Role model positive behavior. And finally, pass the message on if you can just reach one person, you have already changed the lives of two people. “No society can truly flourish if it stifles the dreams and potential of half its population. Empowering women is more than a moral imperative it is essential for building a strong, prosperous, healthy future we all can share.”
R. Adkins 3/12/2015