Violence against women hurts everyone. More than a few men I know have been hurt by it too; some I know very well – they are falsely accused of rape, incest, child molestation or other sexual crimes. They grow up watching their mother’s being beaten. They are told all their lives they must fulfill a role rather than be a human being.
Feminism is a double edged sword. In a world where women do not weld equal power and respect they sometimes weld what ever weapon they have. Women are raised with a double standard and then suddenly discover the powerful rhetoric of feminism. Sometimes, without education, without self-esteem, without emotional support, having been victimized or degraded, they are let loose on the world with words. And some will use them unwisely.
Growing up my parents gave me the best support they knew how. They always told me I could do anything my brother could do. What they didn’t quite know how to do was tell my brother that he could do anything I could do. Of course, it really isn’t true. Men and women have different capacities, but we also all have the equal right to be given the opportunity to demonstrate our capacities. What I have learned most of all from the third wave is that feminism is the wrong word to use. I prefer humanism.
I have a son. I would never want to see him falsely accused, a victim of violence, or, worst of all, to see him become a perpetrator. I have a brother, a father, friends. If we really want equality, we have to behave as equals along with our demand to be treated as such. We have to give what we asks for. We have to teach our boys as much, if not more, than we have to teach our girls. The first place humanism (or feminism) must begin is in addressing violence in all it’s forms; and it is our boys who are most vulnerable to learning agression. When we rise up, we have to make sure that we are not pushing others down or else we become what we are rioting against.
I have a different celebration for you this Valentine’s day, which seems much more appropriate than chocolate and roses. A V-Day celebration. That’s right friends, V doesn’t stand for ‘Valentines’, it stand for Vagina – you might not have one, but it is the path that brought us all into the world.
ABOUT ONE BILLION RISING
- ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.*
- ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY
- ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION
On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.
What does ONE BILLION look like? On 14 February 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.
ONE BILLION RISING IS:
A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being
(If you are wondering what this has to do with food, just try to imagine the history of civilization for one minute without breast milk)