Friday, January 16, 2015

Rape is a Civil Rights Issue

If you care about yourself and the rest of the women on this planet, you will read Rebecca's Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me as soon as possible.

Here are two passages to get you started:

“There are other things I’d rather write about, but this affects everything else.  The lives of half of humanity are still dogged by, drained by, and sometimes ended by this pervasive variety of violence.  Think of how much more time and energy we would have to focus on other things that matter if we weren’t so busy surviving.  Look at it this way: one of the best journalists I know is afraid to walk home at night in our neighborhood. Should she stop working late?  How many women have had to stop doing their work, or being stopped from doing it, for similar reasons?  It’s clear not that monumental harassment online keeps many women from speaking up or writing altogether” (Solnit Men Explain Things to Me 36-37). 

“The New Delhi rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, the twenty-three-year-old who was studying physiotherapy so that she could better herself while helping others, and the assault on her male companion (who survived) seem to have triggered the reaction that we have needed for one hundred, or one thousand, or five thousand years. May she be to women—and men—worldwide that Emmett Till, murdered by white supremacists in 1955, was to African Americans and the then-nascent US Civil right movement.

We have far more than eighty-seven thousand rapes in this country every year, but each of them is invariably portrayed as an isolated incident.  We have dots so close they’re splatters melting into a stain, but hardly anyone connects them, or names that stain.  In India they did.  They said that this is a civil rights issue, it’s a human rights issue, it’s everyone’s problem, it’s not isolated, and it’s never going to be acceptable again.  It has to change.  It’s your job to change it, and mine, and ours” (Solnit 38).  

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