Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

No Place for Your Daughters

Many thanks to The Economist for printing this (Nov 26-Dec 2 2006 issue, p. 58):

"Tuning in around the clock, via satellite or internet blog, to any bout of mayhem anywhere, you might not think the world was becoming a more peaceable place. But in some ways it is, and measurably so. A recent Human Security Report released by the Liu Institute at the University of British Columbia registers a 40% drop in the number of armed conflicts between 1992 and 2003, with the worst wars, those claiming more than a thousand lives in battle, down by 80%. While 28 armed struggles for self-determination ignited or reignited between 1991 and 2004, an encouraging 43 others were contained or doused.

"Yet measured in a different way, from the point of view of the half of the world's population that is female, argues the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, the world is an awfully violent place, and not just in its war zones. Men still fill most of the bodybags in wartime, including in civil wars, even on DCAF's figures, but their sisters, mothers, wives and daughters, it argues in a new report entitled 'Women in an Insecure World', face nothing short of a 'hidden genocide'.

"Violence against women is nothing new. DCAF's contribution is to collate the many figures and estimates--not all of them easily verifiable, it has to be said--on everything from infanticide to rape (in both war and peace), dowry deaths, sex trafficking and demostic violence (in richer countries as well as poorer ones).

"According to one UN estimate cited by DCAF, between 113m and 200m women are now demographically 'missing'. This gender gap is a result of the aborting of girl foetuses and infanticide in countries where boys are preferred; lack of food and medical attention that goes instead to brothers, fathers, husbands and sons; so-called 'honour killings' and dowry deaths; and other sorts of domestic violence. It implies that each year between 1.4m and 3m women and girls are lost to gender-based violence. In other words, every two to four years the world looks away from a victim count on the scale of Hitler's Holocaust.

"Women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more likely to be maimed or die from violence inflicted one way or another by their menfolk than through cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined. Poor health care means that 600,000 women are lost each year to childbirth (a toll roughly equal annually to that of the Rwandan genocide). The World Health Organisation estimates that 6,000 girls a day (more than 2m a year), mostly in the poor world, undergo genital mutilation. Other WHO figures suggest that, around the world, one woman in five is likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime."

Dismal figures, these. My friend barbarafromcalifornia recently posted an entry called "Erasing" History on her blog Women on the Verge of Thinking. Inspired by her own fear that the Holocaust would eventually cease to occupy a place in collective memory as the atrocity it was, she wanted to know which historical event readers hoped would never fade from scholarly accounts of world history. I wasn't sure how to respond until I read this entry in The Economist. I don't fear that this information will evaporate from collective memory so much as I lament the fact that it doesn't even occupy a space there. Ironic, since everybody on earth either is a woman or is related to one. When will people come to understand that everyone, female and male, is a stakeholder in women's health and safety?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why they ask me do I work 4 to 5 nights a week for free. Violence against woman I reply .Oh ,they say and look away.Thanks Kris for posting this Be well, OX's Katie

4:01 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

Kudos to you, Katie. {{{{{K}}}}}

9:18 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Bravo to you, Kris!!!!

You have always been a great source of inspiration to me.

I will email you later today.

10:35 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger cjblue said...

Terrifying report, this. Thanks for posting. It is remarkable the freedoms we enjoy in our place in society (for I know some of this happens on our own soil as well). I try to remind my girls regularly of what they have that others do not, or did not until recently. Violence against women is really a soapbox issue for me, and there's so much we need to do in our own society and culture to empower women.

You're going to be a fantastic mother.

10:40 AM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

*wipes tear* Bless you, Ruth. (Takes one to know one, BTW.)

2:25 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

K, this is an excellent post. This issue weighs so heavily on me.
Earlier this year I read an article in "Oprah" entitled 'Letters from the Edge', stories from women who survive in the Congo. The atrocities against women there will make you sick but its worth a read because no one is going to really help them until we stop turning a blind eye to the torture and murder of women as a regular occurence on this planet.

4:47 PM, December 15, 2005  

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