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Dangerous To Be An American Woman? Not If We Take Responsibility For Ourselves, Each Other

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Vox is telling us that it’s “dangerous to be a woman in America.” (The news is delivered in a creepy video where statistics are displayed via writing on a woman’s body. No objectification there…) They also want us to know that it may take a “nuclear option” to tackle sexual assault on college campuses.

Enough.

In the U.S., 1 out of 6 women will suffer some sort of sexual assault during her life. 73 percent of the time, she will know her assailant. I do not want to downplay this; every assault is evil. However, 64 million girls in the world today will be forced into child marriage. 140 million girls will suffer genital mutilation. 50 percent of women in the EU report sexual harassment in the workplace. 1500 acid attacks are reported annually; the vast majority of the victims are female. Then there are these restrictions on women:

  • Women in Saudi Arabia cannot legally drive.
  • Women in Yemen are considered “half a witness” in court, and must receive permission from a male relative to leaver their home.
  • In Morocco, females who are raped may be charged as being criminally negligent in their own assault.

Still think we American ladies have it tough?

As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and friends, we American women have the duty to teach each other about the dangers of sexual assault. We have the right to protect ourselves. No one has the right to cause us harm in any way. We will not stand for it.

Part of this duty is also to inform young women about the dangers of overindulging in alcohol and how that factors into sexual assault. Ladies, getting drunk and/or being around people who are drunk increases your chances of being assaulted. There are plenty of statistics about this; feel free to look them up.

While sources like Vox want us to believe that American women are constant prey in their own homes and on the streets, that type of sensationalism does no one any good. Be vigilant, yes, but be smart. Fathers and mothers: tell your daughters they are to be cherished, respected and loved. Getting hammered at the frat house and walking back to your dorm in the dark is no way to live out one’s dignity. Sisters, be each other’s confidantes and cheerleaders. Teachers, show the young women entrusted to you that each of them has a gift and treasure to share.

American women, you should not live your life in fear. Rather, take the great freedoms we have been granted and use them to reach out to our sisters around the world who are truly in danger. Work for justice. Raise your voice. Demand better for all women.

And stop getting drunk at the frat house. That truly is dangerous, to both your body and your soul.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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