Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why it matters

It's been a long time - we have all been somewhat buried in a state of semi-hibernation.  Today Lola and I pulled off the small miracle of leaving the apartment for a reason other than work - before 11am! That is a big deal trust me, we've been in no hurry to get outside lately.  But we had a lovely brunch in the Heights Tavern, followed by an equally lovely walk in the park with Hayley.

I would love to detail my recent exploits and excitements and that will come in due course.  I must address the more pressing matter of being told recently in not so many words that feminism is irrelevant.

I feel strongly that the one who told me this was misreading the label of feminism, as so many do.  I am also very concerned that their main argument was that 70% of those in higher education are women.

...that is not quite the point, though.

Of those 70%, 20-25% are victims of attempted or completed rape.  And that's only based on the ones who are reporting it - the FBI estimates that only 46% of victims report it.
Fewer than 40% of 2500 schools (surveyed in 2005) train security personnel to respond to reports of sexual assault.

My opponent also repeated that educating women was the solution.  The solution to the alarming frequency of sexual assault cases on college campuses? Let's educate the perpetrators of the crimes...before those crimes can be committed.

The fact that my opponent refused to take it seriously when I said that I believe that 'rape culture' is an ever-present issue really just confirmed that point.  Whatever statistics can be thrown about women in education and positions of power (still woefully underrepresented, PS, and still earning approx 81% of what men earn, not taking into account what proportion of that is discriminatory and what proportion is evidence of skill/hours/occupation...still though, still) it remains true that over 22 million women in the US have been raped in their lifetime and most of those were under 25 years old.

A UN study found that every 15 seconds, a woman is battered by her partner.  How many is that, in the time that I have been typing?

I can keep throwing statistics and citations...the thing that really underlines just how lightly my opponent took it was when they said, of my having become somewhat immersed in feminist reading, 'what else is a lonely woman to do?'

Ah right, yes, because that isn't indicative of a total belief in something patriarchal.  I was also very interested in some of this person's language throughout our long conversation about all sorts of things.  This person doesn't go to bars and enjoy themselves, they go to bars and 'dominate' them.  Why that term?

They were adamant that violence against women is not the responsibility of individuals but of the system - I find this weak because the system is self-perpetuating only because individuals allow it to be.  On the other hand, this person is pretty strong evidence that yes it is a systemic issue - they themselves are a product of a system that has taught them the things I was hearing - men are dominant, issues men consider important are relevant, men have the last word, men decide what to take seriously and what not to take seriously, men will solve this problem with statistics not with a full understanding of the global problem.  I've only mentioned the sexual assault/violence statistics of surveys in the USA from the last 10 years.  There is also the rest of the world, and if patterns of patriarchal, woman-villifying societies are consistent (oh and they are...do not statistical report your way into denying that) it is to be taken seriously and discussed frequently.





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