Sexual violence is the savage manifestation of female domination – By Mohamed Hamaludin

Sexual violence is the savage manifestation of female domination

By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

A healer to the sexually brutalized and a survivor of such brutality — the Norwegian Nobel Committee selects them for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

The year is 1999 and Denis Mukwege, a French-trained gynecologist, opens the Panzi Hospital to treat women brutalized by war in his native Congo, dubbed the rape capital of the world.

Performing around 10 surgical operations in 18-hour days, Mukwege treats more than 85,000 women, 50,000 of them survivors of wartime rape. In a United Nations speech in September 2012, he denounces  “violence against women and rape as a strategy of war.” A month later, he escapes an assassination attempt because he is not at home at the time and goes into exile in Europe for three months. He returns after women in the area served by his hospital sell their crops to pay for his plane ticket.   

Fast forward 15 year to 2014. Nadia Murad, 19, is a Yazidi student in Iraq’s Sinjar Province when Islamic State fighters swoop down on her community. They kill 600 people, including six of her brothers and step-brothers, and take 6.700 women captive. Murad is held as a sex slave for three months of brutality, escaping through an unlocked door. A family smuggles her out of IS territory and she makes her way to a refugee camp. In 2015, she defies tradition to publicly speak about her ordeal to the daily La Libre Belgique newspaper.

In December, Murad, like Mukwege, speaks to the United Nations, about sexual enslavement in war and becomes an advocate for survivors. Also like him, her life is threatened. She creates Nadia’s Initiative in September 2016, the year the U.N. names her its first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, and publishes her memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State.

A healer to the sexually brutalized and a survivor of such brutality — the Norwegian Nobel Committee selects them for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

 “His basic principle is that justice is everyone’s business,” the committee says of Mukwege.

Of Murad: “She refused to accept the social codes that required women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected.”

The award comes at a fortuitous time, in the midst of the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court hearings and the #MeToo movement, the perpetrators not in fatigues and carrying guns on the battlefield but wearing suits and lurking in corporate suites, academia, the entertainment industry, politics and more.

Wartime rape and the assault on women in everyday life cannot be compared but they both point to the subservient, vulnerable place of women in many parts of the world. Sexual violence is how men dominate and exploit them and their bodies.  Yet, white women were 53 percent of those who voted for Donald Trump, a self-confessed misogynist and accused serial sex-abuser, for president. While 46 percent of women believed Kavanaugh sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford, 43 percent sided with him, Lucia Graves reported in The Guardian. When it came down to a credible woman and a man professing his innocence, even Maine’s “moderate” Republican Senator Susan Collins chose to believe the man. Why?

Perhaps because, according to Kelsey Kretschmer of Oregon State University, women married to men vote as their husbands and families do, Graves reported.  Exit polls from the 2016 election showed that those who voted for Trump included 63 percent white men, the U.K. Independent reported.

Becca Andrews, writing in Mother Jones magazine before the Kavanaugh hearings, may have offered another answer. Describing her experience in the Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, she said, “I was a sexual gatekeeper. Men, we were taught, are burdened by God with insatiable lust. Women, of course, are not, so it makes sense that we are expected to create the boundaries. We are responsible for what we wear but, more broadly, we are tasked with defining consent, as thorny as that may seem.”

It is also not difficult to understand why such women would see it as a concern, as did Trump, for the welfare of young men, not women. Conservative writer Stephanie Gutmann told Graves, “We have husbands and sons and brothers and lovers and they are part of our lives intertwined. I think it’s fair to have the emphasis on sons now because the ball swings back and forth and right now the pendulum has swung way too far in the sort of believe-the-woman-at-any-cost direction.”

Don’t tell that to Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate behavior when they were at Yale University. “As I watch many of the Senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate,” she said, “I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is US Senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior.”

That Blasey Ford would understand. What the Senate Judiciary Committee’s all-male Republican majority did, aided by Trump’s mocking of her testimony, was complete of the act she said Kavanaugh started more than 30 years ago — except this time it was gang rape, even if psychological. Rather than high-five one another about it, they should hang their heads in shame.

___

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who  worked for several years at The Chronicle in the 1970s and in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating to the United States in 1984 where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a commentary every two or three weeks for The South Florida Times, which first published this column. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 13, 2018 at 12:34 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 13, 2018 at 1:07 am

    Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the Palo Alto University professor who testified before Congress in September 2018 that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her while they were both in high school in the 1980s, was the focus of a number of baseless and false rumors spread in an attempt to tarnish her credibility.

    One of the more disturbing smear campaigns centered an alleged photograph of Ford from 1982 that was shared along with comments insinuating that she was too physically unattractive for a handsome young man such as Brett Kavanaugh to target for sexual assault.

    A number of individuals also shared this FAKE PHOTOGRAPH alongside a genuine image of Brett Kavanaugh from his high school yearbook in order to strengthen their flawed argument that “handsome” Brett would never assault “ugly” Ford.

    This comparison did NOT use a REAL PHOTOGRAPH of Christine Blasey Ford, but nonetheless it was widely shared on Twitter, Facebook, internet forums and web sites along with comments claiming that it was “proof” of Kavanaugh’s innocence as he would never sexually assault someone who was “ugly”.

    This picture was also shared by Lanny Lancaster, the Cabarrus County (North Carolina) GOP chairman, with the caption: “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.” Lancaster defended his decision to share the photograph to the News Observer, arguing that he was simply trying to show that the media’s portrayal of Ford was inaccurate.

    The problem with the argument implied here is twofold.

    First, sexual assaulters targets victims based on factors other than physical appearance. The notion that physical attractiveness of the victim is a primary criterion in such attacks is a myth that perpetuates the harmful notion that it is a woman’s fault for being assaulted.

    Second, this photograph does not show Christine Blasey Ford, in 1982 or in any other year.

    This picture is one of an as-yet unidentified person which has been used for various memes ever since it first appeared on the internet in “Bad Yearbook” and “Bad Family Photo” galleries around 2011.

    Blasey Ford’s name was never attached to this photograph until September 2018, when internet trolls began to claim so without evidence in order to tarnish her credibility.

    • Emanuel  On October 13, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      The world knows that Dr Ford told the truth about her ordeal long ago. Kavanaugh is a lowlife. But the slimy Republicans don’t care. The truth doesn’t matter- what matters is their lust for power.

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 13, 2018 at 1:09 am

    A Photo of Dr Blasey Ford in 1982:

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/christine-blasey-ford-1982/

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 13, 2018 at 11:01 am

  • Trevor  On October 15, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Here we go again! The rape of innocent women in Congo is not the same as false accusations by privileged white women in America.

    White women complaining of “unwanted conversations” or “street harassment” that targets Blacks and Latinos comparing their trivial and racist problems with that of brutal incidents such as rape of African women in the Congo.

    But why this Muslim writer supports white feminist theory, that is beyond me, as white Americans generally dislike Muslims because of the inside job of 9/11.

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