to celebrate Women, their struggles, achievements and contributions
to Mankind, the theme this year for the United Nations Organization
has been chosen as "Women and men united against violence
against women and girls".
But wait....here's the UNO's theme from two years ago :
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2007
Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
followed by the highlighted words : "Violence against women has yet
to receive the priority attention and resources needed at all levels
to tackle it with the seriousness and visibility necessary."
Secretary-General’s in-depth study on violence against women (2006)
From that same 2007 page, further down, noble sentiments and
Eliminating violence against women remains one of the most
serious and urgent challenges of our time. Every one has a responsibility to
act when confronted with violence. Each one of us has a duty to support
and sustain a political and social environment where violence against
women and girls is not tolerated; where friends, family members, neighbors,
men and women, intervene to prevent perpetrators to go unpunished.
Same old, same old, the fight goes on. When will the violence stop ?
Let's stop and think for a moment, folks. Will the violence against women
ever stop during our lifetime ? The answer is NO ! Not as long as women
are forced to live in those societies where their demands are made invalid
on the grounds of religious and political law. The best of the best at the
UNO and its ilk may have their say, hold a Day, hope and pray but the
violence will never stop.
Rape, Sexual Harassment, Incest, forced Female Circumcision,
Domestic violence and other forms of abuse occur everywhere all the time.
I have female friends and family members whose stories of humiliation and
physical violence are forever etched in my memory. Now add to that the
Internet Age and we see a whole new era of violence emerging. The Free
Speech that we so desire online comes riddled with questions of just how
much may be said without fear of repercussion. I am thinking of the
MySpace 'cyberbullying' case. And of the unstoppable attacks being
perpetrated on women daily by hackers, Moral police and self-appointed
Monarchs who are out to lay down the law, create chaos and ruin via the 'Net.
Lately I was moved to comment after a memorable sentence made by an
Iranian lady, the victim of a recent blinding acid atack
(linked to NP coverage by Tina Kells )
Speaking to Spain's principal Radio station, Cadena SER, and seeking
retribution from the courts of Iran, she was granted a tiny iota of their
version of justice, the removal of ONE of the assailant's eyes:
"They have told us that my two eyes are equal to one of his because
in my country each man is worth two women. They are not the same,"
she told Cadena SER.
That one sentence reminded me that Iran, like all Islamic countries will always
follow its own laws as long as the religious leaders have their way. Leaders who
are laying down the law even in Western countries.
Because many of the oppressed women do not have the resources and the
education to free themselves and are unwilling to give up their family and
religious ties, they must find new means of fighting back. Unseen by the watchful
eyes of society and the media, knowing that they face public humiliation, disgrace,
slander, ex-communication, violent beatings and possibly death, these are the
women I celebrate first on this day International Women's Day 2009.
For by them, and the others who support them in what must be their never-ending
fight, we are forced to learn and share their stories, in the hope of improving
the lot of women everywhere.
Below, a photo and poem by Firoze Shakir, a friend who is quite
possibly the most extraordinary Blogger in the Universe.
Muslim Woman in a Mans World
while they pray
they wont hear anyway
muslim male dominated society
fire and brimstone
a woman has no say
born in a cradle
to her grave
she will go by the way
a sword hanging on her head
either way they slay
a mother a sister
she is a woman
need to repay
made of blood sinews
and a bit of clay
her world stark
black and white
no shades of grey
'Muslim Woman in a Man's World'
~ used with kind permission from Firoze Shakir on Flickr
UN.org statement from 1995
Salon.com on Blank Noise: challenging sexual harassment in India
The Plight of the Afghan Woman from Afghanweb.com
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a leader in the fight for Women's Rights. Amongst the
100 Most Influential Persons of the World, Time Magazine 2005.
news.com.au lists some Famous Victims of Domestic Violence
Culture | Crime | World | International Women's Day | violence against women
| netiquette | domestic abuse | cyberbullying | Tech & Biz | religious laws morals
| UNO IWD 2009 | firozeshakir flickr