we need to be CONTROVERSIAL
While driving home from university this afternoon I heard an interview on 567 Cape Talk with Eve Ensler, the American play writer of The Vagina Monologue, and the founder of the worldwide ‘V-Day’. In the interview she was speaking about Violence within society, and how throughout her travels she is yet to encounter a society where woman have not been abused. Now I’ve lived a fairly exposed life, by this I mean that I know and have researched the rape and assault of women within war zones, poverty-stricken areas, and in abusive societies – BUT, it was this interview that really hit home for me. A lot of the time when a rape story is publicised more than normal, there is the expected outcry and protests etc. but I generally manage to fall asleep with the same amount of ease at night, and quickly forget about the incident. However, what type of cruel, heartless society do we live in where every single rape, abuse, violent act is not met with mass outcry?
In an article by Slavoj Zizek, The Tyrant’s Bloody Robe, the nature of violence is analysed, and a general conclusion arises – it is not the single act of violence that should be a shock, but rather an act of kindness. We live in a violent society, not a peaceful one, hence any act of violence is to be expected and an act of kindness is to be rare. This changes ones entire outlook on society, and although relatively defeatist, and pessimistic, I think it resonates the essential truth that we are too afraid to acknowledge.
With this in mind, I re-look at the interview with Eve Ensler, and her fact (sourced from the World Health Organisation) that one in every three women will, at some stage in their life, be raped, abused or violated. This means that over 1 billion [1 000 000 000] women will be traumatised and experience violence against their body. To avoid this, or to avoid talking about this, we try to conform. We say what is expected, we act in a certain way, and we take-on the blame when something terrible happens to us. But this is wrong, the expectation and norm of reducing our idiosyncrasies into one sheep-like nature of the female population is wrong. What we need to do is be controversial. We need to show out individuality, and make it known that was is happening is not okay. We need to change the nature of society, its essence, from a violent one to one of kindness. We should not be living in a society where random acts of kindness are rare, and reading about rape and murder are so normal they don’t make headlines.
On a final note, the acts of violence against women results in our bodies becoming a landscape for trauma, making us want to escape our bodies. We consciously remove ourselves to avoid reliving psychologically damaging experiences. The thought that one billion women want to do this is incomprehensible; it speaks volumes for the crimes against humanity. How are we so accepting of this global human suffering which is mentioned to us on a daily occurrence? And what does this acceptance say about ourselves as individuals? Are we not as guilty for letting this happen as those responsible for the physical acts?