As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have always pondered why most people think rapists and sexual abusers are “the boogey man,” a scary, terrifying, stranger who lurks in alleys and dark parking lots stalking their next victim, the unwitting stranger.
Statistics show that most sexual abuse victims know their abuser and most abusers appear to be just like everybody else. No one would ever suspect the abuser because of what he looks like, his type of job, the amount of money he makes, or having what many consider to be the picture-perfect family.
Sexual abuse is not a sexual act. Rape is a heinous act of aggression for reasons other than sex, often out of jealousy or a control freak need to prove something — the worst kind of power-trip. Women have been on the receiving end of systematic sexual abuse since the rise of patriarchal religion and governments and have often been powerless to get justice due to the religion or regime’s indifference to the victims’ plight. The victims had no rights.
In fact, rape and sexual aggression have long been viewed as the right of the male, “punishing” his wife as he saw fit, just as he could beat, whip, or kill any other piece of property he owned. Or worse, after defeating an enemy on the battlefield, raping the enemy’s women was just a part of the victor’s spoils of war.
In the 21st century, 40 years past the women’s movement, continued outrage over the Catholic Church’s pedophile priests, and the outing of bullying against LGBT youth, one area of awareness that has yet to see the light of day is the widespread sexual abuse within the United States military. The cover-up of the abuse is pervasive, and the victims have been shamed while their rapists received promotions and medals of honor.
The women who join the military do so to contribute their skills to protecting our country and to provide for their families. Our military is supposed to be the defender of the United States’ Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our laws, and our ideals of freedom, justice, and liberty. These women did not join the military to be abused or ridiculed when they reported the abuse. No one ever suspects that the “boogey man” is the man working beside you, or your boss, or a respected member of society, such as a “war hero.”
The new independent film, The Invisible War, has lifted the veil off the United States military’s cover-up of sexual abuse within the U.S. military branches — a true “War on Women.” With a country that is tired of war and suspicious of government officials, The Invisible War exposes the extent of sexual abuse in the United States’ military with video testimonies from the victims juxtaposed with the abusers’ being awarded accolades and promotions — jobs and pay raises all paid for by our tax-dollars.
Having won the 2012 Audience Award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, this film should win the Academy Award for “Best Documentary.” If you get the chance to see this film, DO IT. See it. Share the clip below on every social networking platform you are on.
The Invisible War opens in select cities today including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and most appropriately, in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The film will open around the U.S. throughout the summer. For cities and theater listings, visit The Invisible War’s website.
Raping a woman is not a man’s “right.” Ever.
I’m a stage person, not a video person, so I don’t have all the fancy equipment to do video. I had to use my phone (held by my fabulous daughter!). I’m also still losing my miserable-marriage-weight, so video has been the last thing on my to-do list!
And yet, I’ve been wanting to do a weekly video round-up of news and blog posts but have been too self-conscious. Maybe now, I just won’t care about what I look like on video and do the weekly vids anyway.
So for what it’s worth, here’s the video of me giving the nutshell version of my stance on why I work for Women’s Rights.
A current series on BBC Two is shaking up the bubble of religious misogyny that the Catholic church and fundamental conservatives don’t want you to know about.
Bettany Hughes, anthropologist and author of The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life and Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, has appeared in several programs for the BBC and PBS highlighting ancient history and women’s place in it: Helen of Troy, The Minotaur’s Island, and When the Moors Ruled in Europe.
Hughes’ latest foray into the world of highlighting women’s contributions to world history is the BBC Two series “Divine Women.” She brings to light information about women’s involvement in religion, not only as supreme mother goddesses and priestesses to the masses, but goddesses and women as true forces to be reckoned with (think Kali), when women were revered for their ability to both create and defend themselves and their loved ones as they saw fit — essentially, these females were in complete control of their bodies and their own desires, a great reminder for women today!
Women’s independent nature has repeatedly been attacked for centuries in the form of witch trials and anti-suffrage movements. The inherent fear and jealousy that many men have toward women was first cultivated by the patriarchal, imperial regimes of antiquity in the original #waronwomen that we are fighting to this day.
Hughes’ soft-spoken, well-educated British delivery lessens the blow of shockingly empowering information, that heretofore, only we Pagans and heathens seem to have known. Elevating women to the status of not only equals in religion, government, and society, the evidence shows women were actually viewed as superior to men just as female goddesses overshadowed male gods. This may come as a surprise to religions that forbid women to be priests or governments that refuse to allow women to fight on the front lines of battle — all because we have vaginas, the part of woman men love and fear simultaneously.
In reading a review by a clueless male UK writer, he thought the first episode was slow, meandering, and overall lame. When I confronted him on Twitter, I substantiated my arguments with facts (and passion), and he accused me of being a “bot.” I guess that’s the social media version of when women are “emotional” or “high-strung,” we’re just experiencing the effects of being “hormonal” at “that time of the month.” He again proved that the average man simply cannot tolerate an empowered, strong, kicking-butt-taking-names woman — similar to the insecure men who banded together to erase women from history and religion, relegating women’s only value in society to giving birth to healthy sons and cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking meals, raising the kids, and laying back for lackluster sex whenever the husband was horny.
Whether you believe in a duality of a higher spirit or not, the time has come to re-write the his-story books that erased women from its narrative. We regurgitate the names of male generals and the battles they waged and call it “history.” We revere the “Founding Fathers” with no regard for the women who were our “Founding Mothers.” This series, “Divine Women,” is a brilliant step in the right direction of getting accurate information about women’s true role in the history and the her-story of the world.
For now, UK audiences can watch it on BBC Two. When it hits the DVD section of Amazon, I am definitely buying it!
Agree or disagree? Leave a comment!