Saturday, February 9, 2013

Where is the Outrage?

Why I'm participating in 'One Billion Rising'
in both Second Life and RL

Violence is a global issue. But here are some girls and women I've known during my privileged life as a white female in the First World:

Gail*, a young classmate, asked me if my father beat me up. She wondered if it was normal.   She didn't like it.

My sister’s best friend Mallory was repeatedly raped by an older family member.

My mother was intimidated, bullied, humiliated and threatened so repeatedly by a male boss that it destroyed her self-esteem and changed her life (that’s all she would tell me).

Mrs Connors, a science teacher at my school, was stabbed to death by her husband.

Tif, a high school friend, routinely reported physical battles with her father.

Katey suffered four debilitating years of relentless emotional pounding from her husband (who put on his outside face when around the rest of us).

I rode to university every morning with Dana, whose boyfriend beat the stuffing out of her regularly. She was afraid to leave him.

Virtually every one of my female friends have faced some degree of emotional or physical abuse or threats.

One in three women on the planet will be raped
or beaten in her lifetime-- a billion women.

As for me, I've lived a normal life. By that I mean I have been groped, harassed, assaulted, coerced, beaten, and have escaped attempted rape at least three times. I am on guard every moment I am outside my home. Yeah, this is normal. It’s f*cking time it stopped being normal.

Any kind of bullying and violence is obviously wrong. But the vast majority of painful, violent and criminal assaults on me, my female family and friends and all women, were and are committed by men.

Why are people afraid to say out loud that this systematic, endemic belief that girls and women are somehow lesser, and deserve less respect than boys and men has roots in the patriarchal society in which we live?

My father and brothers are good men. I know many amazing men. They are part of that sea of men in whose power it is to change the world; to make the world a safer place for women and girls, but do not.

How to promote change? Both men and women can:

Listen and open your eyes to what's all around you.
Show outrage at the objectifying, sexualizing and trivializing of women and girls in advertising and media.
Recognize this attitude in your daily life, at school, among friends or at the workplace.
Speak up.
Make it a political issue and vote accordingly.
Stop victim-blaming.
Stop shaming.
Understand the preconceptions and attitudes young girls deal with every day and how difficult it becomes not to believe stereotypes about themselves.
Demand change in the law. Demand
enforcement of the laws we have now.
Stop regarding daily reports of abuse, rape, murder and mutilation of girls and women as

One Billion Rising is about outrage, of standing up and fighting to be heard. Because one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime-- a billion women. Even in the light of this carnage, One Billion Rising on February 14 is not radical or subversive or sad. It is (as stated on website):

--A global strike

--An invitation to dance
--A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
--An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
--A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
--A new time and a new way of being

I strongly believe that a world in which women participate freely, fully and safely will be a better world for EVERYONE. Even you. And you.

One Billion Rising Second Life is joining the global, real world celebration of women and men who demand change.

For the sake of your mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and granddaughters-- and for yourself -- rise up this February 14.


*Names changed.

Second Life photographs by Cat Boccaccio, from Invincible.

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