I recently came across a story that made me stop and think about the bigger picture on sexual assault. So many times we think about it being something that someone does to another in secret, or at least in partial seclusion. However, there are places in the world where it is almost done for show; or done to set an example for others. I am proud to live in a country where as a female I hold the same value as a male. This is very important to me, and I do not take this lightly.
An article I came across discussed in Egypt in 2011 during the Nile’s revolutionary chaos was an act of symbolism that took seven women and started off by beating them and electrocuting them and if that wasn’t enough began to perform “virginity tests” on the woman. This was done in front of a crowd and the entire public watched on. One girl in particular was also drugged and stomped on. This is a culture where woman are not valued the way that we are here, however why was this ever acceptable anywhere to begin with?
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton called this a “degradation of woman.” This is exactly what it is.
Another example of this degradation of woman, was in 2007 when an Arabic ad where women were depicted as two kinds of lollipops. One, whose wrapper was removed, was covered with flies (male harassment). The other, wrapper still on, attracted minimal insect attention. Clumsy and factually incorrect, this chauvinistic logic uses the Muslim headscarf as a symbol of patriarchy and control, when in fact, one might choose to wear the veil—or not to—for a multitude of reasons. It also erroneously equates conservative dress with an absence of harassment.
Showing these acts in public gives people a generalization of woman that we are “used” or not something of value. Though this article shows negativity among other cultures, we have to stop and be grateful that we do are valued here. Though there are many issues that still need to be addressed relating to our rights and sexual assault, it is important to remember we as people are valuable no matter what. Our choice may reflect part of who we are but they are not the entire definition of who we are.
To view the entire article visit; http://prospect.org/article/crowdsourcing-sexual-assault-prevention
Written By : Ashten Meadows