As we herald in the new year, and celebrate that we made it into 2013, I am filled with sorrow. Because over the last few weeks, I have come across a few disturbing stories about women and children being raped, abused or violated in some way. In most parts of the world we have come a long way in improving women’s rights and ensuring equality for children and women. But, there is still a long way to go.
Before I start delving into detail, here are some of the stories that drew my attention:
1. During the month of August and November 2012, a 9-year old girl was raped by her stepfather in Hwange, Zimbabwe. The assault ripped her anus and vagina, and left them as one. The assailant has since been arrested and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2. The media has been highlighting the story of a young medical student who was gang raped in Delhi. She has since passed away, as a result of the injuries. These things happen, its not the first gang rape, not the first that has led to the loss of the victim’s life and possibly not the last. This is probably what distresses me the most. As civilised as we claim to be, these rapes / murders continue. It’s not unusual. It’s not unheard of. Perhaps the penalties are too lenient.
3. Meanwhile, in Swaziland, women have been banned from wearing ‘rape provoking mini-skirts and mid-riff tops’. The state claims that this type of clothing ‘makes the work of the rapist easier’. The offence is punishable by six months imprisonment. Yes, really.
4. A dental assistant was fired for being irresistible to her boss, in Iowa (US) and then lost the lawsuit that followed.
It’s 2013. The issue of infringements on women’s rights is global. Every woman faces different challenges depending on where she is born, raised or lives. Maybe we are lucky enough to live in a place where it is never an issue. But, I think its time we all stood together. Men, women and children. There is no room for this kind of abuse of women and children’s rights. We need to let them know. There is no room for the infringement of another’s human rights. Not in 2013. Not in our future. It should be a thing of the past.
This year, I have resolved to make a difference. Will you?