As a young woman this topic brings quite a bit up for me. To start I want to say being a woman in this world is an experience like no other. Looking at the recent news headlines of sexual assault and sexual harassment, glancing at my social media news feed to see personal stories and #MeToo’s worry me constantly. I am a woman undoubtedly outspoken (against my mother’s requests I suspect) about social inequalities, challenging those who choose to stick with the status quo.
Amongst the flurry of assault on women of all kinds from their bodies to their health care something recently stood out, a SNL Sketch. “Welcome to hell” a music video featuring women outlining all the things that have been ruined for women such as walking, drinking, hotels, Uber, vans and much more. Considering the recent scandals some feel that it is becoming increasingly scary to be a male and this sketch validates those feelings but also points out that it has been scary for women too….. like always.
Walking down the street alone is in itself a perilous journey and it is not women who created this to be a norm. At times our own gender reinforces the patriarchal saying “she was asking for it” this victim blaming tactic focusing on things they could have done to prevent such a heinous act e.g. dressing more conservative, being less friendly or enticing. Treating the assailant as ignorant and not in control of their own actions. Which is a ludicrous notion, but seems to stand up in court on more than one occasion.
Which leads me to the fear factor, as empowering as it is to be a woman it’s scary as outlined in “Welcome to hell”. Don’t get me wrong I watch my fair share of Law and Order: SVU and along with my mother’s incessant reminder that I am a fragile young woman in a world full of big bad people out to get me this only fuels the fear fire. Often rendering me hard and cold hoping to deter any potential assailants.
I've read article upon article, story upon story hoping to find the secret solution to never be in a similar situation. But this magical mystical key has yet to make itself known.
What I feel is the solution is radical social change on a global scale. A period of enlightenment that shows women to be just what they are…human. Not property, objects or conquests. Our beauty is for us. Our bodies are for us. Our minds are our own.
Within this social change there needs to be an evaluation of our sexual education. I can’t speak for other countries but the USA in particular. A recent John Oliver segment caught my attention where he discusses the vast differences of sexual education in the different states. As sexual education is decided by the school boards, PTA and administration it can vary from a full understanding of sexual education to strict abstinence and sometimes none at all.
These kids all learn varying concepts of sex Ed, consent, contraception and sometimes nothing at all. Then the parents/ school districts that decided this, unwittingly send these kids off to college like a sexually charged Pandora’s box. Then people are surprised when they hear about sexual assault running rampant on college campuses. And like John Oliver said, “Sex is like boxing.” If the two parties are not on the same page of agreeance the other one is committing a crime.