08 March 2007

every day should be

international women's day, just as many designated days/months should be... but, alas.

this year's theme is ending impunity for violence against women. bring THAT on!!!!

how to? "First is to send a very strong message that in today’s world women…are saying zero tolerance. A real political message that the women are tired of abuse…that anybody who abuses women sexually, battering and other forms of violence, we are calling on the authorities in the institutions to take practical action to deal with this issue. Therefore the whole issue of enforcement of the existing laws becomes very, very important in addition to ensuring that there is justice.” ~Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda

with so many holes in the current system, so little justice being served, and so many women that are victimized unable or unwilling to come forward as a result - here's to hoping that things do change for all of the women in the world. they must. in 1908, 15,000 women marched the streets of new york city seeking better pay, shorter working hours and the right to vote. one down, two to go. but the fact is, we still live in a country where gaining the right to vote is still often framed as something that was given - something that we should be so grateful for that we should pipe down on all other fronts - not a right that we should've had from the get-go.

i found this the topic in a couple of other blogs i frequent, but h/t to pam for linking me the article: speaking of impunity, the dude that decided to cuddle up next to a sleeping woman on a red eye flight out of seattle and ejaculate on her back after lifting her shirt will face a maximum of 6 months in prison. 6. months.

while this may not seem like "that big of a big deal," i beg to differ.

even though this happened close to 13 and 10 years ago now respectively, it still disgusts/angers me every time i think of it.

the first time, i had made a quick stop at a grocery store near my house after getting off work. when i parked my car, it was alone in the parking lot, save for a beat up old multi-colored pickup truck near the street. i remember it vividly, it had a pair of jumper cable handle thingies attached to the broken off antennae. i noted it as i went in, 'cause it creeped me out.

when i came out of the store, he was parked right next to me - his passenger door next to my driver's. i couldn't see anyone in the truck and i assumed he'd gone in, though i felt really weird about the whole thing. i made sure my door key was in my hand. i walked quickly to my car, turned the key and opened the door. as i was sliding in, i looked over into the truck. he was there, all scrunched down with his dick in his hand, going to town. he was reaching for his door handle and i got out of there as quick as i could. i was shaking and i alternated from being scared and pissed all the way home. like i wanted to see that guy's junk. like i wanted him to be getting off on me, on any level, without my permission.

the next time i was at the grocery, i told the manager about it.

"oh, yeah," he said "that happens all the time! mostly on sunday afternoons. they park right by the door and catch all the women coming out. i've not heard of anyone have it happen at night yet."

oh, so it's normal. that's cool. (?!)

but wait, there's more.

the second time.

a couple of years later, i had dropped a co-worker off and was headed home. i noticed that a car i didn't recognize was following me - no matter where i turned. as we approached the stop light, i double checked all my doors to be sure they were locked. he pulled into the turn lane beside me. i looked over to see him making a sex face at me, panting. he also had his junk out and was working it. i turned away and didn't react - this time i was just pissed. i tried to flag down a cop, but he sped off.

the next day as i was getting gas, i saw a cop. i told him what had happened and if there was anything i could do about it. he told me if i got his license plate number they could go question him, and, if i wasn't doing anything later that night, would i like to go have a drink? seriously. what are the odds? on all levels?

a couple of weeks after that, i was again heading home and i saw the second beater-offer pass me as i was waiting for traffic to clear to pull out. he looked right at me. i realized that i had a disposable camera in my bag and got it out. he. was. going. down. i intended on getting up next to him and taking pictures of he and his car to plaster all over town with the story of what he'd done. hopefully, he would have his gnarly junk out again and i would have proof.

i finally pulled out and though he was a ways away from me, i knew i could catch him. he was turning right at the light. i sped and turned too, heading up the hill. next thing i know, i see him parked, headlights off, facing the opposite direction in a parking lot. as i passed, he flicked his lights on and sped off the other direction. HE WAS HIDING FROM ME!

i've always been a little amazed that i had virtually the same experience, years apart, with two different people. could this be far more common than we even realize? in it's own way, though neither man never laid a hand on me - i felt very very very violated - to me, it was an act of violence, being that of an act of aggression.

needless to say - i can't imagine what that had to have been like for that woman, that he actually touched her and ejaculated ON her. and now he may face 6 months in jail? we live in a culture that says it's bad to violate women, yet, when it comes down to it, rarely is anything ever even done. and to get justice is such a battle in and of itself, it stands to further beat down women trying to do the right thing, trying to get justice and insure that what has happened to them never happens to anyone else again.

i can't even bear to think of what it must be like in the rest of the world, in times of war - where women are thought of less than human.

instead today, i have to have hope that things will change - for all my sisters here and in the world.

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