I am largely inured to stories of people’s suffering. Too many years spent in the trenches with poverty, disease and exploitation have left me pretty cold. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s the truth. But I had the misfortune of reading two articles lately that stirred my conscience: the first was about sex trafficking in India and the second about mass rape in the Congo.
The continued, large scale violation of women and girls infuriates me, sickens me, inspires in me a desire to DO SOMETHING like few other issues still do.
But what to do? Can a liberal Western woman do about male sexual deviance in a faraway part of the world? (Or even closer to home?) The Congo article was asking readers to sign a petition to demand a better judicial system in Congo: a noble but absolutely risible concept. As though the rapists would be apprehended. Or tried. As though the threat of punishment would even begin to serve as a deterrent to their crimes.
For me, it’s akin to the the role of male sexuality in the spread of HIV/AIDS – a reality that few are willing to take on. Is it possible to have public discourse about the role of men’s sexuality in disease and suffering? From what I can tell, the answer is no. We prefer to set up “systems” rather than get to the heart of this manly darkness. But until we acknowledge and address the willingness—no, the desire—of men to violate women and girls,there will be no justice.