The Real War

The last two episodes of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” that I saw really got to me. Both started with rapes – one particularly violent and disturbing because it took place in a mental hospital.

Maybe I’ve lost my spine because, lately, I’m having trouble looking at such things — and that means I can’t tolerate a lot of television these days. Most of the prime-time dramas start out with a woman being stalked, beaten, tortured, kidnapped, or murdered. I won’t even mention the misogynistic lyrics in rap “music” or the treatment of women in the videos.

It seems that society is at war with us. Many young comedians think it’s just dandy to mock us about our weight, how we wear our hair and what we’re like in relationships. And just look at YouTube and the proliferation of videos posted where men are making fun of us, telling each other how to get sex and then dump us and so on. People wonder why little boys are now committing rape on little girls? It’s what they see all over the place!

Recently, a friend posted a story about a young girl who performed oral sex on a boy while his friends recorded and posted the video on YouTube.  The young girl was appalled that the recording was online and she begged for it to be removed; she didn’t want that video to destroy her young life as it undoubtedly already has. My friend asked us to help the girl by speaking out in her defense. While I was reeling at the thought of a 13 year old even having sex at all, I was upset that it had ever been posted. But what really blew me away was the sheer number of men who verbally attacked my friend for defending the child and the horrible names they called the girl. One man even threatened my friend with violence. But again, what made those children think that doing something like that was all right?

It used to be that men defended us. Women chose men whom we thought would protect us and love us and shield us from harm. I worked for a shelter for battered women and I know that domestic violence is one of the biggest causes of death among women. So now we know we can’t even trust the men we love to protect us. I read that a pregnant Occupy Wall Street protestor in Seattle was kicked and sprayed with pepper spray and lost her unborn child. By a policeman! We can’t even depend on them to protect us.

Make no mistake, ladies…we are at war. Our enemy has us surrounded and we are nearly defenseless. I am sure that you, like me, are more guarded and defensive than ever. I don’t trust any man I meet and he has to prove himself to me before I feel comfortable with him. Some men get offended but I have to think of my safety. It’s a good bet that he isn’t.

In a perfect world, we could turn to our government for help. We could trust them to pass laws that will give us solace. They would want to protect us from being assaulted or stalked because they would think ‘what if it was my daughter/wife/mother?’. They would strengthen the laws to make sure we didn’t have to be afraid. They would recognize the terror of being stalked and ensure that men who do it are punished. The police would be on the corners watching us as we went about our business and be there fast if we needed them. We could trust them.

We wouldn’t be forced to have babies we don’t want and we would be able to get financial support in emergency situations if we don’t have it. We would have a safety net. We would have the choice of using birth control if we need it and not have to pay a fortune for it. If we chose to not have a baby, we would be able to do it without interference from meddling outsiders who know nothing about our personal situation. We would have better health care and wouldn’t have to worry if taking hormones after menopause will cure us or kill us. Yes, in a perfect world, that is how it would be.

Instead, the conservatives are steadily attempting to strip us of our rights as women. They don’t want us to have birth control or abortions. Instead of helping, they come up with ridiculous notions like ‘personhood‘. While Congress has full health care coverage, they let the idea of universal health care languish — they fight tooth and nail to deny the same privileges to us. They want to close the low-cost clinics that help many of us; it is clear we don’t matter to them. It is unlikely that politicians will do anything to protect us.  They are more interested in pontificating and playing the obstructionist as they live in their own little fortified world, looking down their noses at us. We don’t have jobs and we can’t afford to go to school. We are losing our homes and unable to retire till we are truly too old to work. The people we voted to help us have turned their backs on us trying to ensure they can stay in office.

So, the question is, why do we keep electing people who don’t care about us?

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Brenda Joyce Thompson is a Chicago-based writer and educator who lives a full life penning fiction and promoting the written and musical work of various artists. Brenda is a peace-loving not-so-reformed hippie who misbehaves every chance she gets.