Monday, June 01, 2009

Silent no more

Yesterday night, as my tongue started to swell up because of my allergic reaction to something I had eaten, I went to an emergency room in a nearby hospital. It was a quiet night, and there was only one other person in front of me - a 19 year old girl acting really strangely, together with two older women. It turned out that her drink had been spiked with something, and she was now in some kind of narcotic haze.

It was a quite frightening thing to see, and it's obvious what the intend had been of the person who had spiked the drink. Luckily she sensed that something was wrong with her, and got to a hospital before anything happened to her.

For many woman out there, that's not an option. In large areas of the world, women are routinely raped, while the whole world is silent. This silence allows the atrocities to continue. This is why there is a new initiative to end the silence.

Sheril Kirshenbaum has explained it in her blogpost Silence Is The Enemy

Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why? Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

As I wrote yesterday evening, through the fury I felt at Dr. Tiller's death, Words Have Consequences. But so does the lack of words and actions. Not speaking up when other people are raped allows others to keep raping, not defending someone when they are in danger of rape, allows them to get raped. This is why we should all speak out against rape - to not do so, is to allow rape to continue.

Words, however, is not enough - action is also required. It might seem impossible to do something when you're an individual living far from where the atrocities that Sheril describes in her post happens, but you can still do something. If not directly, then by contacting your politicians, raising the issue, or by supporting organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières, who help the rape victims.

The silence and inaction must end.

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