So today Eve Ensler (author/ compiler of The Vagina Monologues) is sponsoring an event called One Billion Rising. I heard about it through her interview on BBC Woman's hour. (Her part starts at 22:50.) It's her response (or rather, one of her responses since she has had many) to the prevalence of violence against women. The UN statistic is that 1 in 3 women and girls will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. This is about 1 billion people.
I took a self-defense class, recently, and they reported the same statistic, only this time specific to the US and submitted by the FBI. My instructor rather understated it when she observed, "That's a lot of people."
That is A LOT of people.
And I'd go on to explain how bad rape is, except that I don't need to because one in six people know first hand.
In her interview, Ensler talks about the world's "absolute acceptance" of rape and of the normalization of violence. She's wondering why we're not in the streets over this stuff.
And, really, why aren't we? It's hard for me to escape the conclusion that there is great apathy towards female lives, that we really don't care about women and girls.
I'm getting worked up. Breathe with me for a second.
It's impossible to confront hard things all the time. Hard things are not in front of us all the time. And rape has been with us, has been common, for longer than I want to think about. It takes effort to say, "This isn't right." Or "this needs to change." And what's the point in putting that effort towards a six-billion-people problem that has existed for millennia?
At some point isn't it easier to accept it?
There are signs on the inside of the lockers at my gym that say, "Please, do not bring valuables into the locker room. L.A. Fitness is not responsible for lost or stolen items." I think what the signs should say is, "Don't steal things."
We've taken a similar stance on the rape crisis. Our signs say, "Do not bring vaginas onto Earth. If you do, we're not responsible for what happens to them."
I was a camp counselor for a week for several summers in high school and college. One year, I had my nine third-grader campers sitting and singing around a camp fire. I started to feel a little sick. One in three. It seemed like a cruel thing for me to let them leave camp.
How do people let us grow up when the statistics are one in three?
It seems like a reasonable response -- maybe even a responsible one -- to decide not to have children because this is the case. Would you let your child move to a country where the murder rate was one in one hundred? (There exists no such country. Although, Maria, your country's pushing it.)
Eve Ensler's One Billion Rising is about dancing sometime, today, to bring awareness and to symbolically throw off the box that rape and the likelihood of rape places on women's bodies. But I'm not sure it's my thing -- as you can see, I'm the defeatist type, crossing my arms, never having kids, and refusing to let my third-graders leave summer camp.
But maybe you're up for it. Seems like a good thing.
Maybe, I'll edit some gym locker signs.