I saw one of those postcard postings on Facebook the other day and while I agree with it, I am also wondering why it is so exclusive and the sentiment so pervasive. It is a quote by President Jimmy Carter that stated: “The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth.”
First of all, I have not checked to see if this quote is actually real. The Internet, for all its wonderful ability to disseminate information, can also be used to disseminate untruths. Whether true or false, the quote will be fodder for this blog! This quote is one of those interesting dichotomies, a statement that is true and false at the same time. It is also a dichotomy squared as the former president also speaks both the truth and falsehoods, sometimes in the same breath. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is intentional on his part, we all, to some extent, are closed systems, therefore we see things through the prism of our thoughts and beliefs.
As to the former, women and girls are most definitely abused, but I would offer for the President’s consideration that some men and almost as many young boys are too. Children are very vulnerable and it really does take a community to insure that we protect them. I found it disheartening that there was so much media and social attention to the 200 young girls that were recently kidnapped in Nigeria and virtually no mention of the 29 boys that had been shot or burned to death just weeks before. Where was the #saveourboys social media blitz?
Are young girls more special than young boys or is it just the number killed/kidnapped? If so, at what number over 30 does the killing/kidnapping of children in Nigeria become relevant? Is it killed/kidnapped at one time? Twenty school children are killed in Newtown and it dominates the news for weeks, but throughout 2010, 66 school-aged children were killed in Chicago and nothing much was reported. Are killings in school more important that killing children out of school? Even worse, could it be that white children killed in Connecticut and Colorado are more important and worthy of reporting than black and brown children in Illinois?
What I find even more disheartening is after a couple of weeks, all the #saveourgirls had disappeared just like the girls themselves. I do not doubt that there are some still working behind the scenes to help the girls and their families reunite, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the news.
One of my favorite quotes is by Erik Erikson and chokes me up every time I read or say it. He was a psychologist that is most well known for his psychosexual developmental stages. “Someday, maybe, there will exist a well informed, well intentioned group of individuals, that consider the mutilation of a child’s spirit to be the greatest of all sins.” Certainly, women and girls are abused more than men, but do we need to be more concerned about one type of abuse over another? To Erikson’s quote, I would add the mutilation of any person, anywhere, in anyway, of any gender, color, age, or religion!