The powerful exploit the weak. That seems to be a universal phenomenon. Perhaps exploitation is an integral part of nature. And anyone who can exploit does exploit. This rule is prevalent among animals and humans alike. Regardless of the details, whoever has more power will exploit and abuse the weaker ones. I will not go into the details of why this is so or the politics, sociology or economics of the concept.
I believe that the capacity to control this urge is what distinguishes man from the lower members of our kingdom. We are capable of co-existence, we are capable of sacrifice, we are capable of vision, we are capable of understanding the dangers inherent in a life of exploitation, or……are we?
Even in the 21st century, aren’t cases of children being abused by adults, the poor being exploited by the rich, servants beaten up by masters so common that more often than not, we don’t even notice them? Exploitation on the basis of power that comes from age, wealth and social status speaks for itself of how depraved a species we still are. But what is most alarming is exploitation / abuse of women by men, simply because of a difference in gender (which depicts a difference in physical strength and in a culture like ours social status and consequently educational opportunities).
Violence against women has been around as long as women have been around. And the fact that it is still as prevalent (if not more so) than ever is cause for shame. Where human beings, being supposedly the best of creatures should have been expected to have done away with all kinds of exploitation and abuse by now, we instead live on with a type of abuse that, at least to my knowledge) does not exist any other creature (haven’t heard of a male plant or animal abuse its female). It is shameful.
There can be only two ways out of this mess. Either educate men to humanize them, or empower women so that are not the weaker ones anymore. For either of these to happen, the women will have to speak out. They will have to stand up for themselves and their future generations. They need to come out and show that they care, so that others can begin to care too.
Eve Ensler is one woman who cares. The founder of One Billion Rising; a campaign by women for women to stop violence against women. It is about the courageous survivors of violence which number around one billion. The organization has called for such women around the world to come out of their homes and offices and join in a protest on the 14th of February, 2013 (anniversary of V-Day). It is an opportunity to stand up for themselves, to show that they have not given up, to show that they want change and are willing to fight for it.
It is the time for women who have survived violence, abuse and exploitation to come out. To show that they have the strength to fight. For themselves. And for the billions who will enter this world after them.