Am reading for exams this week and I can tell you one thing, it’s not half bad. This semester I am taking this unit called Women in The Legal Process. I took it because it sounded easy not that am a feminist or anything but I sure am glad I did now. It is really interesting.
The most interesting part however as it turns out is for me was on sexual violence. Maybe am a little weird for liking the discourse but it speaks to me. It really all makes sense now.
Violence against women comes in many forms: physical, verbal and psychological. We have all seen it in our lives and we probably all experience it everyday without even knowing it sometimes. Thanks to the articles I have been forced to read for the exam I have come to understand myself as a woman in ways I probably wouldn’t have. Take this one example for instance; I found an excerpt that speaks of perceived attractiveness as a form of inequality just as much as rape and battery are. Isn’t that just sad? That because we all want to look like a certain kind of woman and we go through thick and thin to achieve that look we are just as bad as someone who has been raped. That was truly eye opening for me.
But the part I found most interesting of all was this excerpt on rape:
Just to get through another day, women must spend an incredible amount of time, life and energy, cowed, fearful and colonized trying to figure out how not to be next on the list. Learning by osmosis what men want in a woman and trying to give it to them, woman hope that being the wanted image will alter their odds. Paying attention to every detail of every incident of a woman’s violation they can get their hands on, women attempt not to be her. The problem is, combining even a few circumstances, descriptions, conditions and details of a sexual abuse reveals that no woman has a chance. To be about to be raped is to be gendered female in the process of going about life as usual. Some things do increase the odds, like being black. One cannot live one’s life attempting not to be a Black woman. As Black women well know, one cannot save it that way either.
Do you see it how I see it now? We all know someone or at least heard of someone who has been raped, especially in the family scenario by relatives they trusted with their lives. Even after it happens to you, you still think somehow it was your fault, that you must have done something wrong… it turns out that we all did. We are victims because of something that we had no choice in: being born FEMALE.
I am still not a feminist even after reading all of that but one thing is for sure, now I know why I have a reflex action, why when you hear someone was raped at a certain hour on some street, you make a point of avoiding it without even thinking twice about the matter.
Being a woman is definitely not the easiest of things to be. We are victims just because we were born like this, and if we are ever raped, the guy that raped one of us still had a blast and most often than not he got away with it.
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Wacu Mureithi is a part time law student, full-time mother and all-time dreamer. Her work can be found on seriouslypoetic.blogspot.com.