Trump’s recent proposal of “punishment” for abortions incites reflection on the present treatment of women within democracies around the world.
Another hour, another day and another month passes by, and we find ourselves in April: the month bringing light to sexual assault awareness. Whether widely acknowledged by communities around the world, I do not know. Yet, with Donald Trump’s latest chauvinist and frankly repugnant comments about abortion, I find myself reflecting upon the current state of respect and safety of women within democracies across the globe. Donald Trump, for certain, is not the only egocentric, misogynistic man out there; he is a mere representation of a troop of them.
Whilst the discourse of the American Republican party is profoundly conservative, it baffles me that the fundamental rights of women have not been maintained, nor considered a worthy point of discussion. Rather, our rights have been brushed under the carpet, with as much care as you have for the little specks of dust on your twenty year-old rug. Each republican candidate from the very beginning has screamed and whined, similar to that of a little child, about their fixation with defunding Planned Parenthood facilities. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have all cut each other at the knees in regards to their comments about Planned Parenthood, almost as if it has become a competition as to who can deprive women of their rights more. What an admirable game to play, and more so, a great example to set for the millions of young boys idolising their ‘honourable’ position.
The U.S. president often acts a heroic symbol to countless children across the country, and often around the globe as the ‘leader of the free world’. Girls and boys strive to be like him and become him, but do we want our future children revering a man that is depriving a woman of the right’s to her own body? By depriving the right’s to our own bodies, I mean: the right to take contraceptives, carry out abortions and have ‘no’ mean ‘no’. How can we justify living in a democracy that does not legitimately respect and recognise the rights of women?
The United Nations (UN) has historically acted as the preliminary international body regulating the inherent rights of individuals across the world, in order to reduce crimes against humanity and particular bodies of people. Specifically, one of the major sub bodies, UN Women, is solely dedicated to implementing women’s rights in societies all over the world, which has lately become facilitated through the ‘HeforShe’ campaign. Yet, Front lining my newsfeed several days ago was: ‘UN peace controllers accused of rape and sexual violence’. With most of the allegations of UN peacekeepers taking place from 2013-2015, the rape of another teenage girl was reported in late March. I have always been one to applaud and admire the dedication and core values of this intergovernmental organisation, but I became both appalled and outraged at this seemingly unreported news.
Peacekeeping troops committing non-consensual, violent and obtrusive crimes under an organisation campaigning for the equal rights of women and all – what a dismaying paradox. Sexual assault is an intolerable act of injustice, no matter the power or jurisdiction that your position may acquire. It does not matter if you are the President of the United States, a UN peacekeeping soldier, a white-collar worker, or a bus driver, it is deplorable and under no circumstances should it be brushed off or taken with a grain of salt.
The fact that Republicans in the United States are striving to deprive women of planned parenthood and that UN peacekeeping soldiers are sexually abusing young girls in disadvantaged countries reveals the corrupt nature of our societies and democracies. If relatively half of the world’s population are women, and democracies are ‘supposedly’ representative of the people… then why do we continue to face the atrocities and consequences of sexual abuse, discrimination and degradation every day? When did this become acceptable behaviour?
Perhaps it persists with the supremacy of historical and present male leaders, always taking charge and leading the way, and women concurrently left behind and excluded. Our lack of national and global representation does not appear to be changing, despite the efforts of many notable women. Hillary Clinton, currently front-running the democratic preliminaries, could perhaps be a progressive step for the United States. Yet, it is not the job of all women, or just one. It is inevitably the job of every participating member in each society on this earth. The inherent respect for women is central to the functioning of a world that aspires to become more progressive and equal, with a better quality of life.
Women have fundamental rights, regulated both nationally and internationally. Crimes cannot go unreported, offenders cannot go innocent, and republican leaders cannot dictate the basic rights we have to our bodies. We need an active zero tolerance policy, not a 30%, not a 12% and not 66%, a zero tolerance policy. Women’s rights must be upheld and respected.
It is time for the violent abuses of the personal dignities of women to cease.