All too often, we become satisfied with our own lives and tend to forget about the complete picture – our sister across the street, across the aisle at work and even across the world. I love my freedom living here in the U.S. I am ever so thankful that I live in a country where I can experience the many freedoms that I do.
But every now and then it is important to realize that since we personally may be blessed in some way, it is necessary to recognize others who may not be. I’m a writer, so I write. I’ll write and educate my readers as to the safety and equality issues facing all women. As mentioned earlier, developed countries like the U.S. and others have extended many more liberties to our sex, but this doesn’t mean there is paradise.
The evening news is full of stories telling of violence against women – October is even designated as Domestic Violence Month in the United States. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence lists plenty of statistics to this fact. Some of which are:
Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Eighty-five percent of domestic violence victims are women.
The facts listed above are just for the U.S. alone. What about internationally? Well, one for example, as revealed by Equalitynow.org, is the country of Yemen (a small country located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula between Oman and Saudi Arabia). Although the Yemen government has made headway when it comes to women’s rights, there still are long strides to be made. This was clearly evident when an anti-child marriage bill was defeated due to Islamic law in October of 2010. Child marriages pose obvious physical, psychological and educational harm to young girls. Even if a girl can get a divorce, she may still be forced to repay the dower and then be pressured into further substantial economic hardships or worse.
Or take the country of Morocco, where a judge can authorize rapists to marry their victims. This is true even though as the website Equalitynow.org states, “According to the Preamble of Morocco’s Constitution, Morocco is working to banish and combat all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of sex. There is a general provision in Article 6 which encourages the public authorities to create the conditions necessary for equality between female and male citizens and changes already made to Morocco’s family law have been heralded as an important step forward in promoting women’s equality in the family context.”
Plainly, putting laws on the books and having them applied is a very long process. Uprooting traditions can be a great struggle. So what can be done? What can you or I personally do? If at first taking a step seems overwhelming, start small and start by doing what you can do. For me personally, I am involved with my religious organization. We focus on supporting families that are obviously under attack. Support the family and violence within the family decreases. For you or somebody else, working with a local women’s group may be preferred. And for others, websites like Equalitynow.org are great resources which list “What You Can Do” action steps to give you direction. Please take time to read the information listed on sites like this and get involved any way you can.