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09 February 2007 @ 10:56 pm
[Day 10] Sexual Assault & Rape  


Last year, rageprufrock wrote about women like the burst-open lips of figs, about how women have worn their history as odalisks and sacrifices and mothers and daughters and victims like jewelry -- she wrote about how despite all of this, we sometimes forget how far we have come, and more importantly how far we have yet to go.

It's 2007 and the third most powerful person in American politics, second in line to take over the presidency, is a woman: Nancy Pelosi -- but half of the coverage she earned after her first State of the Union was about the color and cut of her clothes. Hilary Clinton is a two-term senator of New York and former first lady bracing to run for the Office of the Presidency in 2008 -- and yet people are preoccupied by her gender, by how pretty she might be and how she does her hair, whether or not she got plastic surgery. Women are still being raped and killed in Darfur; the Chinese countryside still has families practicing infanticide despite the country's rapidly skewing sex ratios. Girls are still giving themselves eating disorders comparing themselves to impossible standards of beauty, still acting less intelligent than they really are -- to be non-threatening, to be liked. One in three women will still experience sexual assault in her lifetime. So much has changed and so much has stayed the same.

It's 2007 and women are still odalisks and sacrifices and mothers and daughters and victims -- and we owe ourselves and all other women more than that, we owe ourselves better. We can do more.

V can stand for vagina, like Eve Ensler's groundbreaking monologues. V can stand for violence, under whose auspices all women continue to make a home.

V can also stand for victory.




Sexual Assault & Rape

It's estimated that every two and a half minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., and that one out of every six American women have been sexually abused.

What's staggering is that those numbers are only representative of the United States, and there's no way to know for sure, though it's estimated that 59% of sexual assaults are never reported.

The statistics can tell you it's a problem. It happens in the U.S., in France and the Middle East, in Australia and Africa.

What people rarely talk about is the fact that people who've been raped or sexually abused are more likely to do drugs, drink alcohol excessively, and consider suicide. Rape isn't something that can be forgotten. It's the worst type of violation, and with 44% of the victims being under 18 and the perpetrator most often being a friend, acquaintance, family member, or significant other, it's also the worst kind of betrayal.

People who are survivors of sexual abuse are rarely the same person they were before, but organizations like RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, give support when it's needed most and let people know that they're not alone, that they can and will get through it.
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