Some women in the United States believe equal rights for women is an accomplished fact. In other parts of the world, it’s clear the issue has never been addressed. Women continue to be targets of war and rape remains a common act of terror.
In Argentina, tens of thousands of women are demonstrating to protest what they see as an “epidemic of violence.” (The Week, July 19, 2015, pg. 6) By their estimate, an Argentinean woman is killed every 30 hours. The situation has gotten so bad, one woman tweeted: “They are killing us: Aren’t we going to raise our voice?” Her plea started a fire. Demonstrations broke out in the country, forcing the Supreme Court to agree to keep statistics on femicide. (Ibid pg. 6)
Knowing the numbers isn’t enough, of course. What’s needed is a cultural change. Disregard for a women’s life is evident everywhere. An ocean away in South Africa, Oscar Pistorius brutally shot and killed his girl friend after an argument. His defense: he mistook her for an intruder. He was given 5 years for manslaughter. After serving 10 months he has been paroled. The prosecution will appeal the release, but the court’s action represents a wanton and cultural disregard for women. (Ibid pg. 6.)
Farther to the east, in Islamabad, Pakistan, the court has freed 8 of the 10 men who confessed to the attempted murder of Malalia, the anti-Taliban blogger who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to support educating Pakistani girls. Despite the men’s written confessions, the court cited a lack of evidence and let them go. (Ibid pg 7.)
American women may pride themselves for having set a standard for women’s equality but we’re far from the goal. I won’t revert to talk of discriminatory employment practices or salary inequality. That’s old news. But I will insist we have a justice system where law enforcement is applied in a discriminatory fashion. Witness the black teenage girl, who was thrown to the ground, recently, as she left a pool party in Texas. No, American women have no grounds for complacency.