Hi dear readers! It’s been a while since my last post, and I apologize for that. (I post more regularly on the Vagina News Facebook page, so I’d love to talk to you there if you’re not there already. Unless you hate Facebook, which I totally understand.)
Part of the reason I’ve been quiet is that I’m in week 6 of a fantastic online course through Stanford University on International Women’s Health and Human Rights.
We’ve dug into some huge and hugely important global issues like education, female genital cutting, HIV/AIDS, contraception, abortion, maternal mortality, and this week, violence against women. (To combat the potentially depressing nature of the coursework, each chapter in our main text (Anne Firth Murray’s ‘From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice‘) highlights organizations around the world that are actively working to improve conditions in these areas.)
One of our readings on violence against women this week made this powerful statement:
“Violence against women is the most pervasive yet least
recognized human rights abuse in the world.”
‘From Outrage to Courage’ also introduces the question of language when we talk about violence agains women; that we often use the problematic word “abuse.” In addition to minimizing the scope and seriousness of the crisis, it suggests there is an appropriate “use” for women – that’s something I’d never considered.
She suggests, and many in the class have agreed, thinking of violence against women as a form of terrorism. I’m not sure how I feel about that, as I think “terror” has become a politically loaded word largely divorced from its real meaning, but there’s certainly an argument to be made.
Just throwing it out there to let you all know what we’re covering… I’d love to know what you think.