Shaming Sexual Assaulting Militarism : Day ONE -16 Days of Activism

From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World:
Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!

This is the umbrella theme of the 2011 16 Days of Activism campaign, while five sub-issues have been identified as priorities for those working on the intersections of violence against women and militarism. One of the five issues and which i want to address today is that of  Sexual and  gender-based  violence  committed by  state agents,  particularly  the police or  military. An excerpt from the website on this issue reads as:

Militarism tends to  privilege a particular form of  aggressive masculinity, and sexual  violence is one tool that might be  used to assert power over  others. Individuals in positions of  authority may believe they can  commit crimes with impunity,  and this is exemplified by high  rates of sexual violence within  the military, threats by police to  women reporting cases of  violence or assault, violations  committed by peace-keeping  forces, and violence against  women living and working  around military bases.

This thematic issue is timely especially in the past two days where news of the sexual  assault  of Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy by the Egyptian police came to surface. Watch the video below in which Mona describes her assault a few hours after being released.
[youtube=] Mona explains that riot police broke  her right hand and left arm in a brutal beating on Wednesday night, dragging her by the hair and sexually assaulting her as she covered the story on the confrontation between protesters and the Egyptian military. I’m glad that her ordeal was short lived but her experience is symptomatic of how sexual assault and violence is being used as a tool by those in authority to intimidate women, as Mona says, from activism.

I’ve been honored to meet Mona Eltahawy during her stay as a visiting professor at my graduate school and witnessed how much of an inspiration she’s been to my peers who had interactions at depth with her. And in the spirit of the umbrella theme of challenging militarism as one means of ending violence against women, her courage in the face of the ordeal and her will to share and put to shame her attackers is commendable.
On day ONE of the 16 days of activism against gender violence, i salute another brave woman on the front line. In solidarity with Mona Eltahawy!
~ ~
Love & Light

No Comments Yet
  1. I applaud the strength in her voice , her spirit and refusal to shy away from speaking about her experience. She is a model for owning your experience and bringing light to situations that others would prefer to remain in the dark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.