I came across a quote my friend posted today that said "well-behaved women seldom make history."
I found out that the author of this quote was author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. She has had six books published including a book titled A Midwife's Tale that won her the Pulitzer Price in 1991 which was based on Martha Ballard diaries, a midwife from northern New England. - I am looking forward to reading this book. People’s histories fascinate me. It is through these perspective that one get’s a deeper account on the dynamics of this world.
This got me thinking. How do we, as women use our voices to make a difference? How do we stop gender based violence in any given situation around the world? It is no longer a private matter, but a public health problem and a human right violation. But yet, despite the research and the increasing awareness, it does not seem to dampen the situation for millions of women who suffer the repercussion of these grave violation of their dignity.
Currently there is a international discourse surrounding UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nearly 200 women and boys were systematically raped in the period of four days within miles where UN peacekeepers were stationed. There are 18 thousand peacekeepers in the DRC, and yet the North and South Kivus where the worse cases of sexual violence occurs are not secure. This incident made the news but situations like these happen everyday systematically by individuals or groups. How can it be stopped?
My take on this, is that awareness is the first step. Of course situations like this are complex and require the assistance of the government, civilians, NGO’s, local organizations, and the pressure of the international community to ensure that security, education, counseling and an adequate health system is in place to offer assistance to those who need it and work on preventative measures. However, amazing work has been done by incredible individuals and organizations all around the world.
I am working on getting a deeper understanding of this issue, and wish there were an easy solution to all of this. So I don’t have an adequate answer to my questions, because I am still asking myself: how? and why? but I believe that I it is those personal biographies surrounding women’s experiences that need to be embraced and told. The importance of stories are very powerful. It connects us to issues and allows us to embrace that human connection no matter where we are located. Our stories and our voices can foster dialogue, discourse and open a space for understanding.
So let’s make history and let our voices roar.