What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Silence Is the Enemy

Thanks to Janiece for pointing this out to me. Here is the article she's referring to.

The ongoing systematic rape and destruction of culture in Africa and SE Asia is a generational crime of untold magnitude. In these areas, the devastation of the ingrained behaviors of rape and "male prerogative" will leave a lasting mark equal to that of AIDS. And the sad thing about this is, it's not just Africa and SE Asia. It's just in those areas, rape has been used as a weapon of war and is now considered (somewhat) "normal" and because it's "way over there" we can talk about it without getting too uncomfortable.

By not talking about it, by not being open, by not shining the light of recognition on this tragedy, we give succor to those who have perpetrated and continue to exploit young women (and boys) this way. Doctors Without Borders is one of the few external aid organizations that has programs to help mitigate at least some of the physical damages caused by this practice. Yes, for my own giving Medecins sans Frontieres is always up near the top of the list (in the top 10).

And, as I said, it's not just in Africa and SE Asia. Here in Ohio, Toledo is a main gateway and nexus in the trade of humans (not all for sex, but all from some form of slavery or indenture). Puerto Rico and Haiti are becoming known for their sex trade (the main cliental is from the US and Canada) just as Indonesia is known in Japan and Australia. Not all the girls (and it's mostly those under 20) and boys join this trade willingly. Those "Asia Massage Parlors" you pass on the highways or by airports here in the US, many of those women are working off debt (either their own for being smuggled into the US, or family debts back in their home countries).

Dr. Freud has been misaligned for various things along the years. Mostly now he is known as the father of psychoanalysis even though his major theories have been repudiated (Penis Envy, Oedipal Complex, analysis of dreams) after his death, they still persist in the cultural zeitgeist. Most people don't know that Dr. Freud was much reviled in his own time and was thrown out of the professional psychologists organizations he belonged to because his first theory of neurosis was even more inflammatory. His original theory, the one he was dismissed from polite society until the time he recanted and came up with dream analysis and his Oedipal and Electra complexes, was that most neurotic behavior and disfunction stemmed from child sexual abuse (he didn't use that word, but his description is the same).

It wasn't until nearly a century later that we had an somewhat open discussion of those issues. In the 80s and early 90s there was a cultural partial awakening over the issues of sexual abuse and rape (mostly against children, but this is also when "date rape" and "marriage rape" started to be understood and talked about). Since then there has been a back-peddling by society fueled by the scandals within the Catholic Church and a "we're just tired of talking about such an icky topic" attitude.

And the problem still goes on. African soldiers thrown out of war continue to see it as their right to rape women, the sex trade on island countries and domains expand their reach, we have Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church, children like Natalee Holloway get taken and sold (my theory, although abductions for the sex slave trade is an ongoing problem here and abroad), and rape is still under reported even though statistics tell us that one in every three women have some experience with sexual abuse and/or rape.

Given how our western culture still labels consensual sex as "dirty" and "doing the nasty" I doubt we'll have a full and open discussion of the problem. But maybe, just maybe, if we keep talking about it, don't let it slip under the conscious radar, and give support and voice to those who have been victimized (and to be fair, most don't want to be public) we'll inch the marker that delineates what is "acceptable" and what is "unacceptable" a little farther along toward what is right and just.

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