Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Trouble In Guinea

Yesterday in The New York Times there was a front page article entitled :"In a Guinea Seized by Violence, Women as Prey" which described atrocities being committed against men and women in the African country of Guinea during a peaceful protest. The article reported that at a political demonstration opposing the current leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the Guinean army "shot and killed dozens of unarmed demonstrators at the main stadium here where perhaps 50,000 had assembled." It is possible that upwards of 157 people were killed! But the horror did not stop there, these soldiers raped and beat many defenseless women in broad daylight! The article reported that "The exact number of women who were abused is not known. Because of the shame associated with sexual violence in this West African country, victims are reluctant to speak, and local doctors refuse to do so." So, we don't know what will be done to those who did this, or how the victims will be helped. Today's Times reported that the United States is doing it's part in demanding justice- Hillary Clinton, who of late has been fighting against mass rape and the plight of women in the developing world- which I APPLAUD!!!- came out with a statement, and diplomats have been sent to try and get Camara to leave office. This is all good. The international community MUST act and help protect the human rights of the people of Guinea, even if their own government will not.

But, When will this stop?! When will women stop being the victims of horrible violence and degradation? How can this happen? Men who love their mothers, how can they do this? I don't understand it! How can a man dehumanize and objectify a women like that? Sadly, I think a part of it is because ALL of society does it. In my sociology class yesterday we talked about gender and the socialization of gender and we watched a video about the media and advertising's portrayal of women. Women are advertised as sexual objects. In men's magazines women are on the cover- sexy, beautiful women who appear to offer nothing more than their looks; on woman's magazines women are also on the cover- sexy, beautiful women who appear to offer nothing more than their looks- someone for us to look up to and emulate! Ha! Until we as a whole world look at women differently, things like rape, human trafficking, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse against women will continue. That is not in ANY way to excuse those men for their individual choices- they WILL pay the consequences, but it is to say that there is something that we as the average person can do: Speak out! Don't buy the filth, don't watch the filth, don't participate in the filth that degrades and humiliates women. There are many many good men and they are working hard to fix these problems, but I think that we as women have an even greater capacity to help our sisters throughout the world. The first step is being aware and the second, I believe, is to fight against society's incredible power to decide how we feel about ourselves. If we as women decide that WE are in charge and that we have value above that which society values, then I think that we will be an even greater force for good in a world in ever more need for good.


Amy said...

Liz! This is my first visit to your blog! Of course it is profound and beautiful. Thanks for supporting women's rights. Love you!!

Star Girl said...

This is inspiring....I'm currently feeling that my blog is lame and yours is much cooler. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of current events and things that really matter.

Liz "The Best" O. said...

Star Girl- Don't even! Your blog is incredible and made me laugh extremely hard- I cannot get over Lawrence! You are living life and that is awesome!