The pervasive oppression of women and girls is humanity’s greatest travesty.
- One out of every three women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime.
- Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women.
- Women and girls ages 15 to 44 are more likely to be maimed or killed by men than by malaria, cancer, war or traffic accidents combined.
- The children most at risk of attempted abduction by strangers are girls ages 10 to 14, many on their way to or from school.
- Every year, 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school.
- In some parts of the world a girl is more likely to be raped than to learn how to read.
- Only about one third of countries around the world have laws in place to combat violence against women, and in most of these countries those laws are not enforced.
- Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
- 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
And the reward: Women work 67% of the world’s working hours, yet earn only 10% of the world’s income.
If the statistics aren’t sufficiently shocking, these stories drive the point home:
13-year old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was stoned to death in Somalia by insurgents because she was raped. Reports indicate that was raped by three men while traveling by foot to visit her grandmother in conflict capital, Mogadishu. When she went to the authorities to report the crime, they accused her of adultery and sentenced her to death. Aisha was forced into a hole in a stadium of 1,000 onlookers as 50 men buried her up to the neck and cast stones at her until she died. LINK
On January 27, 2007, with his parents downstairs watching TV with the door shut and his infant son in the other room, prosecutors said, Michael Ratley put on a pair of thick black gloves, grabbed a heavy-duty hammer and went into the bedroom where his wife was lying down after taking some medication. He lifted the hammer and “savagely and brutally beat her on the head over and over” — at least seven times, said Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda. LINK
A 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl allegedly raped by a much older cousin has died after being publicly flogged for adultery, media reports said. Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save her. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70. Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later. LINK
When Amy Rezos went to meet her estranged husband to talk about a divorce, she never imagined what would happen next. When the couple separated, Chris got a hotel room. On July 2, 2004, Amy thought she was meeting him in the hotel to finalize the details of the divorce. Instead, she was walking into a carefully planned trap. As the couple argued over the custody of their two boys, Chris snapped. “I just remember seeing a look on him that I had never ever seen before in my life. It was a look … like a monster,” she said. Amy was savagely beaten… LINK
Against this backdrop, the Republican Party has mounted a full-blown assault on women’s rights. In June of 2011, I published a post titled Axiom: When Republicans are elected, women pay the price, where I quoted a stunning fact:
It’s almost an unbelievable figure — 916. That’s the amount of legislation that has been introduced so far this year, in an attempt to regulate a woman’s reproductive system, and we’re only in April.
Exacerbated by a wildly radicalized 2012 Republican primary, the list of transgressions kept growing:
In March of 2012, Nicholas Kristof wrote about the madness in a bluntly-titled op-ed, When States Abuse Women:
Here’s what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion.
Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen. She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion.
“It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced.” “The state of Texas is waging war on women and their families,” Dr. Boyd added. “The new law is demeaning and disrespectful to the women of Texas, and insulting to the doctors and nurses who care for them.”
That law is part of a war over women’s health being fought around the country — and in much of the country, women are losing. State by state, legislatures are creating new obstacles to abortions and are treating women in ways that are patronizing and humiliating.
The New York Times spelled out the real world consequences of the GOP’s assault on women’s reproductive rights:
Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County, which is on the Texas-Mexico border, has closed four of eight clinics, including the one in San Carlos, and trimmed services. The closest clinic to San Carlos is 16 miles away in Edinburg. There, a receptionist informs callers not to expect appointments soon. Wait times have grown to up to four weeks. Many San Carlos patients struggle to reach Edinburg from their homes in impoverished neighborhoods called colonias. Maria Romero, a housecleaner with four children, who had a lump in her breast discovered at the San Carlos clinic, has no way to get there.
2013 has seen its share of horrors committed against women, from India to Egypt to Brazil, where in one incident, “an assailant held a gun to the head of a 30-year-old woman while raping her in front of passengers on a bus as the driver proceeded down a main avenue.”
UPDATE: In the first six months of 2013, legislators enacted 43 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion.