This week marks WCU’s continuing commitment to the never-ending battle against violence against women. The Women’s Center and other groups will have done or are doing many projects to raise awareness of stopping the violence against women. All of the WCU community should participate in this vital campaign. Violence against women is the one of the world’s most pervasive human rights violation because it is violation that is most often ignored. Every minute of every day, women of all ages around the world are assaulted, threatened, raped, mutilated and killed.It’s time to see violence against women in the public eye taken as a serious issue by those who continue to be skeptical of hope. It’s time to expose the silence that confronts so many women and girls when they seek justice, safety and rehabilitation. For in this case, silence is violence. It’s time to speak out against such injustices, because violence against women is everyone’s problem, male and female.
Some of you may be thinking, okay, Tony you’re all talk, but what can we do to stop the violence. Well believe it or not, being all talk is key to the solu-tion. It sounds like a paradox, but the first step is all about breaking the silence. Speaking out by telling your story and/or voicing your support for someone who is can help make a difference. For those who don’t feel comfortable speaking, even being present at an event is breaking the silence of apathy. Only then can aware-ness be successfully raised.
So I suggest that you attend an event if you haven’t already, on campus or off. Take action. Challenge government and public complacence about violence against women. Support the cause by showing up. Call for justice and awareness. Also, fight sexism on campus. Even if it’s the slightest violation, dare to make a difference. It works. In fact, I want to commend the group of men and women who spoke out against the “Ram This” clothing. For it raised my consciousness as well. Not to say people were ignorant to the issue, but by having a grassroots base, the goal can be achieved because more people join the cause when it becomes visible. So be part of the solution.
I also want to make the point that the issue of stopping violence against women goes beyond partisan politics. Too often, women’s groups dedicated to fighting violence are associated automatically with the abortion issue. Both conservatives and liberals make this mistake. This assumption is very harmful to everyone, especially when the common cause of fighting rape and violence is at stake. Pro-Lifers (me included) should not feel dispirited to attend these events because other groups which support abortion choice are participating, and in some other cases, running the events. Likewise, those who are pro-choice should also appreciate pro-lifers into this common cause of uniting to take a stand against rape and heinous acts of violence.
Remember, there is hope. Many groups have organized to expose and counter violence against women. In many countries, women’s rights movements have accomplished spectacular changes in laws, policies and traditions. They were able to do this by holding up a mirror to society and exposing the wrongdoings. Violence against women demands a response from governments, communities and individuals. So get involved this week, and join the many in being heard.
Anthony Maalouf is a sophomore majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish Studies.