If a Woman Is Doing Her Laundry, Don’t Rape Her

November 23, 2011

“If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her. If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her. If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her. If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 a.m., don’t rape her. If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her. If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her. If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her. If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her. … If a woman is not yet a woman but a child, don’t rape her. If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her. If your stepdaughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.”

Perhaps you’ve seen the longer version of this excerpt, which has been reposted time and time again. It’s made the rounds in the wake of this year’s SlutWalk movement, which brought renewed attention to the issue of blaming women for violence and sexual assault and putting the burden on women to prevent it.

Several recent Washington Post articles bring attention to how pervasive sexual violence still is, including “TSA Employee Charged with Sexual Assault,” in which we learn that an employee of the Transportation Security Administration was charged with “assaulting a woman while he was in uniform and after he showed his badge to the alleged victim.”

The same issue of the Post noted the presidential elections in the Congo, where the November 28th ballot will include Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, an eastern militia commander accused of ordering the rapes of hundreds of women last year. The Congo has been called “the rape capital of the world,” with an estimated 48 rapes occurring every hour.

While the United States observes Thanksgiving this week, November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, an international campaign that originated at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. The campaign ends on December 10 — International Human Rights Day.

As the website notes, the 16 Days Campaign “has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women” by

  • Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional, and international levels
  • Strengthening local work around violence against women
  • Establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • Providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • Demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • Creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

The 2011 theme, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women!, focuses on the “intersection between violence against women and militarism.” Campaign tools include a take action kit, Facebook page, calendar of activities, Listserv, and Flickr stream.

For the next 16 days and beyond, raise your voice and others’ awareness about ending violence against women wherever it happens. Give thanks for all of the survivors, their families, and their advocates. If you’re looking for resources, check out the National Coalition against Domestic Violence and the Pixel Project

In the Washington, D.C., area? Join the National Capital Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for U.N. Women for its 16 Days Event on December 7.

Gloria L. Blackwell By:   |   November 23, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Judith Polizzotti says:

    Women and girls should never be a victim of violence. Yet too often we are abused and raped in our homes, workplaces and colleges. In October, Housatonic Community College Women’s Center co-sponsored a workshop on campus violence with the College Men’s Center, Gay Straight Alliance and AAUW. Our goal was to heighten awareness and recognize the student’s voice in addressing issue. We recognize the importance of involving men in raising awareness and developing strategies in all aspects of campus violence.
    Judi Polizzotti
    Co-President
    AAUW Bridgeport CT

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