Tuesday, January 6, 2015
I came across an interesting article that appeared in The Guardian recently. The writer, Rebecca Solnit opines on the many ways that in 2014 women were able to voice their perspectives on violence against them. The theme of the article is that women are shifting blame where it belongs, to their attackers. For too long women have failed to speak out or report sexual assaults against them because they carried shame. Something caused a shift this year. Many long silenced survivors were able to speak publicly of their experiences. Women publicly accusing Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them is one example, and others speaking of the crimes committed against them by Canadian radio celebrity Jian Ghomeshi is another. As this blog has reported on several occassions, women are fighting back on street harassment. Click on the authors' names to read the posts by Martha Davis, Lesley Wexler and Leigh Goodmark.
Solnit writes the best account I have read in explaining the performance art of Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia student who carried her mattress through campus following a sexual assault against her that occurred in her dorm room.
The author goes on to review recent history in documenting events where women have been either ignored or silenced following reports of violence against them. She criticizes the media for turning gender violence events into something else and thus detracting from reporting of the real story, violence against women. Solnits article focuses on the positive change that happened during the past year that shifted the focus back where it belonged, on the perpetrators of the criminal acts committed against the women who spoke out.
The heart of Sofit's reporting is her exploration of what she calls the "earthquake" that changed women's responses from barely audible to the strong voices heard this year. Finally women's voices are debunking stereotypes that for so long have kept victimized women silent. The challenge now is to keep our voices strong.
The full article may be read here.