Posts Tagged ‘violence is not just an Indian problem’

The ScreamNow the world is outraged! It is 2103. We  think of ourselves as a modern, civilized people, but a 23-year-old woman has died of injuries sustained during a brutal gang rape on a bus in India.

We are aghast! But not enough.

It is noted in the popular press that India is a country with the world’s oldest religion, the largest democracy, and one of the fastest growing economies, as if old religion or large democracies or strong economies don’t tolerate rape. We know otherwise.

The religious, the democratic and the prosperous — they rape.

Certainly the way things are done or not done in India is part of the problem and should be addressed. Indian law doesn’t recognize rape committed within a marriage. It doesn’t count acts of oral sex as criminal rape. And it doesn’t allow for rape of men. India is slow to prosecute rape cases. Indian law enforcement does not do enough to protect its women from being harassed on its own public busses and streets.

We are offended! We should be. We focus our offence: India has a problem. It does. Indian laws, perspectives and protective measures need to change. But the problem is not isolated to India and it extends beyond rape.

Rape is an act of violence, and we Homo sapiens are a violent species – world-wide. We want to point the finger concerning sexual brutality at India. The statistics point everywhere. I live in the United States. My country is no exception.

The American Association of University Women reports that up to one in four American women experience unwanted sexual intercourse while attending college.

According to Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prison Rape, in the United States, more than 290,000 male prisoners are assaulted each year. Prison rape, says Donaldson in a New York Times opinion piece, “is an entrenched tradition.”

Studies indicate that people in the United States with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to have acts of violence committed against them. Other studies also suggest that up to 68% of girls with developmental disabilities and 30% of boys with developmental disabilities will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. Research suggests that 97% to 99% of abusers are known and trusted by the victim who has the developmental disability.

That’s shocking! That’s not. That is who we are, and that is what we are doing.

Everywhere, in India, and in the United States of America, in our wars, our prisons, our hospitals, our schools and even in our homes, we are systemically violent people, and everywhere sexual violence is semi-tolerated. We are habitually violent. We use force to get what we want – sex, money, revenge and control. And we are calm about that too much.

What we have world-wide is a crisis of violence against persons. Let it be talked about. We humans are habitually, systematically, consistently and brutally assaulting each other! We have a problem — all of us! We have governmentalized, commercialized, sexualized, and sanctified violence. We are violence machines; we know it, and we go with it, on and on and on.

Over 60 million lives were snuffed out in World War II. Over 60 million human beings! In our time, in our father’s generation, in our grandfather’s generation, we trashed and dumped 60 million bodies.

Of course, there were the causes, and the forces that had to be stopped, and the rationale and the reasons and the explanations and the conclusions, and yet 60 million lives, young lives were abused, shot, blown up, diseased, hacked up, experimented on and even incinerated alive.

We can’t dodge this reality! We are a violent species. We have been massively violent, recently — and not only at the level of Indian females.

We are aghast! We are not enough so. We are offended! We should be. World outrage does not match the depth of the affront or drive to the core of the problem. A more appropriate aghast-response is needed.

We should be much, much more offended than we are offended. We are under-offended!

Our aghast-reaction is underwhelming! There is not enough marching, standing up, protesting, lobbying, arguing, researching, understanding, confronting, problem solving and reforming our world’s life-style of violence.

We are under-responding to the insult against women and against bodies worldwide. We are not protecting bodies, everywhere. We must face reality: We have a planetary tradition of insulting bodies.

Aghast, the aghast must not stop, the sense of horror must not be dulled by the neat explanations and the nicely organized war museums and the moving on of popular culture and the unimpassioned explanations in history books and the under-reaction of the news media with their quiet sentences and civilized, standardized reporting and their pointless end-stop punctuation.

We should begin to change this, all of us, now, yesterday! We are too quiet on rape! We need more crying out! We should go into violence-correction mode, with no end stops. We should not stop shouting that the current world-wide violation of bodies is totally unacceptable to all of us.

A world-wide movement protest against rape is needed. A world-wide protest against all forms of violence is needed. The violence we are allowing is simply not acceptable for human beings.

Our very bodies need to cry out for themselves, “Respect us! Honor us. Do not touch us without our permission. Our skin is a boundary that all of you must honor! Leave our women alone! We require that our developmentally disabled live without being sexually assaulted!”

All bodies, sick, well, male, female, disabled, not disabled, foreign, family, friend, near, far, small, large, gay, not gay, religious, not religious, foe, enemy, different, the same — they should be given nurture and care and love and protection – always!

Bodies of the world, unite.