“While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of empires and the fall of kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.”
The Rights Of Women, 1792
Thousands of women are gathering today for the Women’s March on Washington, and over 600 cities around the world have organized their own marches in solidarity, to shed light on women’s rights. It is ludicrous that we have to say women’s rights are human rights, but we do. Yesterday we inaugurated a man, now President of the United States, who has been recorded bragging that he has the right to, and does, whatever he wants to women.
Violence and oppression against women is not new, but Donald Trump and everyone who voted for him sent a clear message to victims condoning sexual assault. Today victims have a voice.
Who are the victims? Victims are everywhere, they are people you know.
- One of every 5 women in America has been the victim of rape, or an attempted rape in her lifetime.
- Girls ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
- 44% of victims are under 18
- 80% of sexual assault victims are under 30
- Every 2 minutes another American is sexually assaulted
- 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police
- Approximately 80% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.
Who are the assailants? They are among us as well.
- 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance. Most lead normal lives: go to school, work, have families and friends.
- The odds are 3% that a rapist will spend a single night in jail.
- According to the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, the rate of repeat offenses by a rapist is 38%.
The aftermath of sexual assault is different for every victim. Responses often include feelings of: powerlessness and loss of control, emotional numbness, denial, disturbed sleep, self blame, loss of confidence, shame, mood changes, low self esteem, depression, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, hostility, anger, and alienation. Victims of sexual assault are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
Today is about shedding light on this ugliness and standing up to face it. Donald Trump’s misogyny is not “locker room talk,” it is sexual assault and it is not okay.
“First, in the Sexes’ intermix’d connection,
One sacred Right of Woman is, protection. –
The tender flower that lifts its head, elate,
Helpless, must fall before the blasts of Fate,
Sunk on the earth, defac’d its lovely form,
Unless your shelter ward th’ impending storm.”
March on ladies.