Saturday, 4 August 2012

Female disunity is an underlining problem.

Tahrir Square in Egypt, once a plain old square straddled in the heart of beautiful Cairo reveals a two- fold picture. On one hand, the square has become a symbol of defiance against a repressive system, a symbol of breath taking strength, hope and faith. On the other hand, the revolutionary square has opened its arms to heart wrenching bloodshed, sectarian violence and equally disturbing in my eyes, the barbaric violence perpetuated towards women.  Graphic images of women utterly violated have flooded the net and our screens. We have witnessed fully veiled  women  from top to toe, half veiled women, women with no head scarf and females from other countries in countless numbers been sexually molested and stripped off their outer dignity, dragged through the square as if they were mere dirt or an unwanted dead animal about to be disposed of in a garbage container.  

A girl named Natasha from America who was sexually brutally attacked at the square, made me think: Men are often to blame for repression against women and rightfully so in many instances. Nonetheless, rarely do we examine a woman’s role in inciting such behavior.  Before I go any further, this is an excerpt from Natasha’s blog about her ordeal:

Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.
Hundreds of men pulled my limbs apart and threw me around. They were scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way. So many men. All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.

A small minority of men, just a couple at first, tried to protect me and guide me to a tent. The tent was crushed, its contents scattered into shards all over the ground. I was barefoot as they stole my nice new shoes. I was tossed around once more, being violated every second. I was dragged naked across the dirty ground. Men pulled my blonde hair.

I looked up and saw a couple of women in burkas scattered around. They looked at me blankly, then looked away.

I reached the tent and saw my friend Callum. Muslim women surrounded me and frantically tried to cover my naked body. I fell to the ground and apparently temporarily lost consciousness. 

When we read about her horrific experience, many in highly industrialized countries report without a wink of an eye on how Muslims have no concept of equality and humanity.

But many who utter these comments fail to blame females in their own countries, females in Egypt and elsewhere for being bystanders and even supporters of such heinous acts – only a few women have been willing to overcome culture through courage and sisterhood. Something that also Natasha highlights in her blog.

It is underlining truth, we birth these so called animals, we nurture them, and we influence them, we watch them do terrible things to other woman. But after all this is said and done, we asked ourselves: don’t these women have any heart or compassion? But we fail to ask ourselves from the other side of the pond, where are our hearts and compassion in helping women sidelined by indifference to act and perceive more compassionately?

Poverty, culture and male dominance in many developing societies and developed societies have unfortunately given birth to heartless women, bystanders, but should we let this continue to happen?  NO.

Let Tahrir Square and the suffering of women in every part of the world vividly and fervently remind us that if we want to build a respectable and safe society for women in particular, we must begin to join hands as women and really lend our hearts, minds and resources to helping women in need of help. Even though culture and sometimes religion (I speak of all religions) may encourage odd behavior, we as women must learn to rise above it. This is not an easy task, but through women for women unity initiatives catapulting in many places, Tahrir Square episodes will be a thing of the past.

We make up half of the world population therefore it is pivotal that we as women unit in sisterhood and most importantly nature compassion towards one another irrespective of culture, social status and faith lines.

Female unity must be made a priority.

By Charlotte Lazarus
Natasha Smith’s blog: Please God, Please Make It Stop

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