I wrote this piece earlier today after reading this article. The article states that 1 in 3 women in the EU will be abused by a man they thought loved them; their partner. Yet the article managed to mention women a lot of times, yet did not mention the men who abused them. The invisibility of the men in this piece is not an isolated incident, regularly articles about abuse of women refuses to mention the men who abused them. It’s almost as if violence against women is a perpetrator-less. And yet it is not.
After reading this article I then went to the gym where I watched Robin Thicke singing about the Blurred Lines between sex and rape and how he wants to give a woman “something big enough to tear her ass in two”. Except the song was silenced, so all that you could see was a music video where fully clothed men gesture at almost naked women who appear to be wrapped in cling-film. Nobody batted an eyelid. Nobody switched it off. I nearly wept right there on the cross-trainer.
Then the next two music videos were of male performers “featuring” female performers. How apt! This is the lie the world tells women. That we are features of men’s lives. Not people, not human beings in our own right.
And through my headphones I heard music that praised Jesus and declared that we are free because of His sacrifice and I looked at the screen and considered how many women, the world over, are not yet free. And I almost wept on the cross trainer, instead taking my rising anger out on the machine, getting faster and faster, to the point I almost fell off.
I arrived home dripping with sweat and wept hysterically on Mr GLW. This is such a terrible world. And I wrote the words below. Mr GLW advised me not to publish them. He said I would appear as a man-hating, angry, feminist if I did. But I needed to. Because this is how it felt to be a woman for me this morning.
And if you read my words and you feel more offended by what I have written than by the fact that 1 in 3 women is abused by a man, or that a man rapes a woman every 9 minutes somewhere in the UK, or that 140 million girls and women are living with having had their genitals mutilated, or that a man rapes a woman in South Africa every 36 seconds, then you need to consider your priorities.
If you read my words and feel I am alienating men, or being harsh, we are in the midst of a genocide, a war against women, and yet the media want us to believe this is about isolated incidents. It is not. Men abuse women because they believe they own them, and are entitled to do whatever they want to them. This is across the entire globe. No woman, in any community across the world is safe from male violence.
I am married to a man and I have a son and so I know there are good men out there. But until we begin to see this as a war against women, and about global gender relations, we will never see systemic change.
The hearts of my sisters and I break. And the world-at-large remains silent.
To the men
Your kind are raping my sisters
Your kind are killing our mothers
Your kind are reducing my value
Every single day.
And yet, as you hear my words,
You do not feel enraged at your brothers,
At your fathers, at your friends.
You feel enraged with me,
For giving men a bad name.
I do not hate you
I do not know you
But I cannot trust you
Because your brothers are raping my sisters
And the rapists, murderers, torturers
Cannot be identified in anyway
Don’t take up this with me, take it up with your kind
My rights are not women’s rights
My cause is not niche
My sisters are they who brought you into the world
While them who birthed all the people of the earth
Are not human.
Then none are human
The screens show mutilated women
Parts, not making up a whole
And your kind have convinced some of my sisters
That to sign up to this mutilation
Is the route to power
In the church
My sisters are sacrificed daily on the altar of unity
In the media
My sisters are altered daily in the hope of being found worthy
In the home
My sisters are more unsafe than in a dark alley
In the state
My sisters’ voices are silenced
When my sisters are laying in the gutter
Broken, chained, discarded
Who lifts them from the gutter?
Who breaks their chains?
Who walks them to freedom?
Not your kind, but the mothers, the sisters, the women.
Yet my words make you angry with me
And not with your kind.
I want to call you brothers
To bridge the enormous chasm
That stands between our peoples
The sisters and the brothers
So listen to my words
Said by a broken hearted woman
Hold your brothers to account
And help us end this war on women