This year’s International Day to End Violence Against Women happens to fall on a Friday, so that makes it the perfect Femme Friday topic. These are some books that can help get someone sped up on the history of violence against women. While men do perpetrate violence against each other as well, this day is meant to bring awareness to the fact that there are categories of violence that are specifically targeted at women and specifically for being women. Such acts of violence are things like acid throwing and forced prostitution. Some men may be victimized by these things but they are overwhelmingly targeted at women.
While this book does present a hopeful end that things are changing, it also goes into detail about many of the problems that are gender-based that plague women, including the violence that are assailed upon women. I appreciated a look with a worldwide focus so as to get a bigger picture of both the problems that are universal to women as well as the way oppression and violence manifest differently in different parts of the world. (My Review)
There are a lot of things that people say about the treatment of women in the Middle East and under Islam. This in-depth look at the progress of women in five Middle Eastern countries, the way it waxes and wanes, was eye-opening. I had no idea how progressive some countries had been before women’s rights there were thrust back by one organization or another. It’s terrifying to see how quickly it can happen, but also a reminder to be vigilant about our rights and threats to them. The focus of this book is not only the violence and oppressions that the women in these countries face, but the things that are being done to combat them. There were several interesting passages that include the way some women are using Islam to fight against extremist beliefs. My Review
Not the best picture, I know, but this is from BookLikes and it’s linked for the convenience of my readers. I read this a few years ago now but I particularly enjoyed the involvement and treatment of religion in this book. Religion is either is essential to stopping violence against women or instrumental in causing it according to most people, but this book takes a look at how it skews either way. Also that it goes into many religions rather than blame one or two on all of women’s problems. Like the books mentioned above, there is time devoted to what people can do about this problem, things that have worked, and things that haven’t. (My Review)
The problems that black women in America face today are still a problem, to say the least. I’m no expert on their lives, but I’ve read a lot about how the intersections of race and gender make it so that they encounter discrimination more because of both than either black men or white women on a daily basis. It makes mathematical sense that it would work this way. This book was eye-opening on not just the history abuses against black women, but their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and more. For more recent activity, I try to follow a few others bloggers and this is my favorite: Sublime Zoo. The posts on Luke Cage were amazing, particularly the women about black women on the show, as well as the post on Riri Williams. (My Review)
As these books will tell you, there is lots to be done and lots that we can do from almost anywhere to help out. If all you have is extra cash, you can donate to organizations that actively help women out of oppression or actively work to change the structures that oppress us. If all you have is a little extra time, there are places that need volunteers and ways (such as Charity Miles) to get some extra money for organizations. Also, never underestimate the value and importance of speaking up on your own when faced with (be it done to you or to someone around you or associated actions being discussed as if they were okay) mansplaining, discrimination, bragging of violence and harassment, silencing women and more.
There is actually a pretty strong correlation between talk and action that has been substantiated in lots of publications and a few documentaries that I’ve seen. Places high in what has been thrown around as “guy talk” since the election events are known to be higher in actual sexual assault in rape than places that don’t tolerate that behavior, just watch the documentary on rape in the military (from on Amazon here). Rebecca Solnit also does a great job in her book, Men Explain Things To Me, of explaining where the line is between well meaning talk that still silences women and violence perpetrated against us. So, if all you have availability to do is speak up, then you are a part of ending violence against women!