Thursday, 11 April 2013
LETS NOT FORGET HER.
This story about this beautiful young girl is heart wrenching and sadly all too common. And right now there is a lot of outrage at everyone that was involved. But the thing is, we are all at fault. It's so easy to point fingers and blame the police, teachers and the parents of the boys that committed this awful act. Some even blame her. But the responsibility lies with all of us. We objectify and sexualize women. We are constantly bombarding our children with images, video, and literature that portray girls and women has sub serviant sexual beings. If you watch music videos you know that it is like watching pornography. Pornography is available at the click of a mouse, and pop ups and adds for young girls offering sex are common place. And because of this constant stream of images it is giving these pornographic portrayals of women and girls a sense of normalcy. We have become complacent. Instead of being outraged when we see a young girl bumping and grinding, crawling around on the floor in a music video, we are desensitized to it. It's become, normal. This is what our young girls and boys are constantly subjected to. Everyday, all day. Magazines at the cashier, bill boards, TV, Movies and Internet. We have, as a society allowed it to happen. You may say, no, not me, I hate that stuff, I don't watch it. But, I ask you, have you done anything about it? I'll be the first to say, I haven't, there fore I am partly responsible. We all are.
As the mother of a daughter and sons, I am so very scared for them. I know I will have to constantly warn my daughter about the dangers. Don't walk alone, don't be alone with a boy, always travel in groups, don't dress provocatively, don't trust anyone. The problem with this is I will be putting the onus on her to keep herself safe which will draw the conclusion that should anything ever happen it will feel like its her fault when it isn't. But I don't know any other way. My conversation with my boys is, don't get yourself in a position where it can get out of hand, no means no, intoxication is no, no does not mean yes, respect women. And yet, I know none of this can save them.
If you ever sit down with a group of women and have a discussion about sexual assault, inappropriate sexual behaviour or abuse to name a few, almost each and every one of us will have an incident or a story. It is that prevalent. And it is enshrouded in shame. We feel as if its our fault. When I had something happen to me as a teenager, I carried it around with me for so long. I didn't tell my parents or anyone, because I felt it was my fault. I put myself in that situation. How could I be so stupid? And even though, through the help of a friend I was able to get out of the situation before it went as far as it did for the young girl in the article, it was close and I could have easily been her. It is so important to speak out, to not feel shame. It isn't our fault when something happens. But here's the thing. After all these years that have passed, when writing this today, that sense of shame still lingers. Because for a brief moment, it crossed my mind to go back and delete the part of this that was about me. That same feeling of judgement is still there. What will people think?When we are victimized, it never leaves us and I can't even imagine what it was like for her to be re victimized over and over, blamed and judged. Horrific.
So now everyone is outraged because this horrible story had such a tragic conclusion. She was bullied and humiliated. There was no help for her, and people ridiculed her for something that wasn't her fault. No one stepped in to help this beautiful young girl and now she's gone. And we will all shake our heads and push for justice. We will cry for change. But soon, the story will fade and be replaced by something new in the media. We will forget about this life that was cut too short. The perpetrators will continue on with their lives, maybe to rape and victimize once again, and we won't stop them. In fact, we all enable them by being complacent. All the individuals that shared the photo through social media were guilty. All of us that are allowing the sexualisation of our children are guilty. We are all guilty of not putting a stop to it once and for all. But we don't. The sex trade industry continues to grow leaps and bounds, child pornography is out of control and girls,boys, women and men are exploited for sex. We still live in a world where women are forced in to marriage, beaten and raped, and have no freedom. Why? Because we don't do anything about it.