Whisper

Gentle whisper rising in streams of white, expanding frontiers on wings of flight. Floating in thermals of children's laughter, Lining Silver clouds with light, Diamonds seeded in teardrops spent.

Ululo

Wilderness wailing echoes through time, Deep caves holding silence, reverberating sublime, Stretched to capacity, wrought in pain, Twisted into nothingness, everything to gain...

The nature of transgressions violating one’s essence are often stored in places deep within the body. A survival mechanism locked in place. Unspoken vigilance waiting. Silenced by fear. Shocked into submission but tenaciously building through cords of time.

Ululation strikes a chord so deep no words can express. A primeval cry wrought in stirring depths beyond reasoning, touching parts that ride upon the crest of every breathe released. Silently waiting.

 

Statistics

My voice feels like a drop in the ocean being swept away in the torrent when I see the latest statistics released by WHO surrounding exploitation of women. Sexual exploitation is historical however it appears that it is spreading at an unprecedented rate. It has become so woven into the global landscape that it has become normalized. So ingrained that we have now given this monster the title of "Rape Culture".

WHO Stats:

  • Violence against women - particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence - are major public health problems and violations of women's human rights.

  • Recent global prevalence figures indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

  • Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.

 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/

In my quest to understand this culture, I began investigating the underlying structures that enable this exploitation to flourish. I released a series of small collages showing my discovery which you may see under so·cial con·struct - noun: A social phenomenon cultivated by society       http://trish-smith.squarespace.com/work/#/nacht/ 

To say the affects of rape are damaging is an understatement. The questions I raise are;

  1. how are women surviving this global assault?

  2. How do they remain resilient in this rising tide?

  3. What is being done to assist the 1 in 3 women financially, physically and emotionally?

I welcome feedback as I investigate the resilience of survivors.

 

Structures

In my quest to understand the social constructs embedded in our global culture of rape, the following two excerpts have been reverberating throughout 2016 for me. Shocked is an understatement. 

The Women's Crusade by Kristof and Wudunn  (New York Times magazine)

"The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century. The number of victims of this routine “gendercide” far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century." 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html?_r=0

 Dismantling Rape Culture around the world: A Social Justice imperative by Pamela R. Fletcher, Associate Professor of Women Studies, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota.

"Based on our research and analysis of the high incidence of sexual violence perpetrated around the world, we contend that the term rape culture encompasses widespread anti-female attitudes and values, and the resultant oppressive conditions women and children encounter in the global institution of patriarchy. Misogyny and sexism are the cornerstones of patriarchy that enable a rape culture to flourish" 
http://forumonpublicpolicy.com/Vol2010.no4/archive.vol2010.no4/fletcher.pdf
It has further been determined that this exploitation is not unique to developing countries rather in developed nations it is concealed or trivially dismissed as individual misfortune rather than a cultural phenomenon.
How have women survived …?