#16 days of activism

An amazing idea: to raise awareness of how much violence women still have to face in this world. Is it really that bad that we need a global campaign to remind us?

Yes, it is.

It is something that everyone deals with, but nobody really realises how much it affects women everywhere. These types of violences are considered normal, common or just plain unchangeable. But what if we can change that? What if we all start looking at these acts as non-acceptable, will they change? I believe they will.

But how can we end violence if so many people fail to see what it is? Sometimes aggressive acts are just unregarded and we get along with our lives not knowing that some kind of violence is taking place right in front of us. The sexism, the segregation, the ruling over sex matters, it is all there and we just need to acknowledge it.

Here are some examples of violences committed women without people taking account for.

1 – “Women. We give them free speech and look what happens”

Every time a sexist joke takes place – and that accounts for men just as much -, we tend to generalize that idea and create a stereotype. In this case: women are dumb and shouldn’t be allowed to speak. People can say that, of course, it is a joke. I say that, of course, it is an act of violence. No women would ever laugh at this joke, which means it is made to a specific group of people. It is simply disrespectful, especially when we remember how much effort was taken for women to be able to speak freely, to vote, to be regarded as a citizen.

2 – “Look at the size of that skirt. She was asking for it”

No need to elaborate much on this one: blaming the victim of a sexual assault because she was dressed provocatively shouldn’t need a text to tell people it is a violence. Yet, they do that. Our society faces another cruel sexist fact: women are sexualised in the media and wearing a short skirt is seen as an invitation for sex. People, there is no invitation for sex besides “let’s have sex”.

3 – “I’m getting married tomorrow. Let’s celebrate my last day of freedom!”

Here’s how a sexist joke hurts women: whenever we play this game, men tend to say they are held up by their wives. Women tend to say they need to be in control of their husbands. It becomes a hide-and-seek game that hurts this relationship forever. Also, it makes men look like no-brained animals incapable of playing by the rules they have agreed to, just because they act by instinct.

A wedding is the union of two people that want to share a life together. It isn’t prison. And it isn’t funny to call it that.

4 – “Is this time for a married woman to come home?”

The same way men should not be controlled by their wives, it is very sad to see how many keep trying to take control of their wives’ lives as well. This kind of censorship can also be seen when girls are given curfews by their fathers, whilst sons can come and go freely. There’s no excuse for that. If violence in the streets is used as an excuse, then we are facing the problem below, and that should be the focus of our complaints.

5 – “Hey beautiful! Give me a smile!”

Catcalls are simply disgusting. Women of all ages and nationalities have to face that, which made a lot of people – men and women – come to me saying “come on, that’s just flirting, it is normal and harmless! Stop trying to transform flirting into violence!”. I am absolutely sure all of us, men and women, are capable of distinguishing a flirt from a catcall. Making eye contact with a girl on the subway, receiving a smile back? That might be an invitation to a “hi, I’m James. What’s your name?”. Yelling to a complete stranger passing by that her ass is amazing? Well, I guess you get the difference.

 

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