For some time there’s this one thing that’s been bothering me. Ok let me stop kidding myself, there’s a lot that could be bothering me, but there’s this one thing that I've compartmentalized and I keep coming back to, every time I have a spare moment. I do a lot of that these days.
I was part of a Twitter conversation about how women undergo #StreetHarassment DAILY and at one point the phrase, “It could be your sister, mother, aunt…” came up. At this particular point, leading up to some time recently, I vehemently stood by this point of view. My way of seeing it, was that sexual predators never view their victims as close-by relations or as women that they respect or even care for as a result of family relations and if they did, they would most certainly, see the light and turn away from their “rapey” ways. See, I was trying to create in them some empathy by helping them imagine doing the same god-awful things to their sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts…etc
I mean, a little bit of empathy could have you stop in your tracks before doing something as abhorrent as sexual assault, couldn't it?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
Approximately 2/3 of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
28% of rapists are an intimate.
7% of rapists are a relative.
The fact is, not even our homes are safe.
ALL women do not deserve this and ALL women are deserving of dignity. Irrespective of whether they are our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters…, or the lady who took my order at Starbucks and got it wrong 3 times, the little girl with cute pigtails who looked at me all “trusting-like”, the old lady I passed by on my way home from work, my neighbour’s infant; whether it is a stranger or a close family relation, ALL women do not deserve it.
It’s safe to say that I won’t be trying to negotiate with these vile perpetrators by using this argument; the fact is, not only does sexual assault NOT discriminate in gender but also in family relation or acquaintance.
Just a note, I understand that men are also victims of sexual harassment. However, this post was in relation to the conversation about women having to battle with #StreetHarrasment on almost a daily basis and that is why you will see I mostly focus on women being the victims.