There have been three really upsetting stories all over the news in the past few weeks having to do with men kidnapping women and little girls in order to rape them. The first was the story about a ten year old Austrian girl, kidnapped and held prisoner for eight years during which she was presumably raped, though she at this time does not wish to discuss the sexual activity that went on between herself and her captor. The second is a story that happened just days ago here in West Lafayette. A 37 year old Purdue studentkidnapped, raped, and tazed a woman for 15 hours last weekend. The woman, who saw the man stumbling in the street, assumed he was drunk, and tried to help him home is already being scrutinized for being "unwise" in her choice to help him by many people I know. Always blame the victim, no matter how innocent she was. The man forced her to watch child pornography (which he was seen participating in) and even claimed he had killed all the children he molested. The third story is one that just came out today. A 14 year old was kidnapped, raped, and held in an underground bunker for 10 days by a suspected child molestor.
Something has to change...
Today in one of my women's studies classes, we watched the documentary Killing us Softly III by Jean Kilbourne. Kilbourne highlights examples of magazine ads and commercials aimed at the promotion of objectifying, sexualizing, beating, and raping women. A men's shoe ad, for example, showed the dead body of a model in a body bad with the shoe they were trying to sell placed on her neck. A skateboard ad showed a male teen reading a magazine in his arm chair while resting his feet on the back of a girl who is pictured on all fours in only her bra and panties looking seductively at the camera. An ad for the perfume Fetish gave this tip: "Apply generously to your neck so he can smell the scent as you shake your head 'no.'"
My point with all this? Every day men are being told that it is a girl or woman's greatest fantasy to be raped and tortured. Every day, we are fed images of male dominance and female submission. Every day women are systematically dehumanized and deamed only in existance for male pleasure. These images and the horrible things that happened to the three above (and countless others that we don't know about) are inextricably linked. We have to stop being beaten, stop being raped, stop being reduced, stop being labeled the "lesser sex."
"Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman." - Jewish Orthodox prayer.
How true. Sometimes it's just too much to bear.