Before we get started here, I want to introduce myself. I am a pansexual Hispanic female in college. I'm also a feminist. I believe that women's rights are still an important issue today because of two very recent events: the stabbing at Jonathan Law High School and the shooting at UCSB.
The brutal murder of a young girl at Jonathan Law High School happened 40 minutes from my home. The community was in shock, people couldn't understand what drove the attacker to violently stab and attack his 16-year old classmate until she died. Then, a student gave his witness account: he stabbed her because she did not want to take him to prom. Because she chose to say no, she never got to attend prom. She will never graduate, she will never get married or have children. Because she said no.
The shooting at UCSB just over a week ago opened a door to the world of "men's rights activists;" a group of men who believe that they are entitled to copulate with women simply because they were born male. Almost instantly, the male population responded with "not all men think that way" and "not all men are crazy." The phrase "not all men" was being thrown around the internet on blogs and in chat rooms. Because "not all men" feel entitled.
Statistically, 1 in every 6 women will be sexually assaulted or raped. Most rape victims are between 18 and 30 years of age and almost all victims of sexual assault will personally know their attacker. These statistics were rattled off in 4 different orientation sessions I attended prior to starting college. They were on posters placed in every residence hall, along with numbers to call if you were a victim. People say that women don't have to be afraid of being raped because it happens to men as well. The chances of a male being raped or sexually assaulted is 1 in 10. #YesAllWomen need to worry about becoming a victim.
I believe in #YesAllWomen because when my sister took a secretarial position in a large office building she was given a can of pepper spray by her boss, another female, to protect herself from men who would approach her in the office.
I believe in #YesAllWomen because we live in a society that still blames the victims of sexual assault and rape. We ask the victim what she was wearing and where she was and how much she had to drink before we ask the attacker why he attacked her.
I believe in #YesAllWomen because college campus are handing women rape whistles and phone numbers for victim support while the males are being handed free condoms at the health clinic.
But the biggest reason I believe in #YesAllWomen is not for myself, but for my cousins who, at 6 and 4 years of age, are already being taught that being teased by boys is okay and that they can't wear certain clothing to school because it's distracting to the educational process. They are already being pressured by society to accept men as superior beings. I don't want to have to teach them how to defend themselves against guys who may or may not want to hurt them. I don't want them to call me one day crying because they were raped, or to hear that they were killed by a man who though he was entitled to their bodies.
I grew up in a society that makes me fearful to walk around at night. I am wary of men who get too close to me on the street or in a store. I carry a small knife whenever I'm going out in case someone tries to attack me. I don't want this society to be the society of my daughters and of my nieces. I want the next generation and all subsequent generations to grow up in a society where women can walk down the street without fear.
#YesAllWomen deserve the right to be respected and to have control over her own body and who she shares it with. Take a stand. Make your statement. Let society know that you are not going to sit back and watch women suffer.
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