Open Letter To President Obama Regarding the I-VAWA
Dear President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the U.S. Congress, and U.S. Citizens
The I-VAWA (INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT) is a monumental step towards a global effort of zero tolerance for systemic gender-based violence and blatant human rights violation that exists around the world in the guise of culture, norm, domesticity, and tradition. Your definitive action on this issue will get the global ball rolling. This is a plea for you to please help pass this Act.
- Here is the petition to fill to let your House/Senate representative know of your support for this Act if you are an American citizen http://tiny.cc/jyejg
I am the founder of The 50 Million Missing Campaign (www.50millionmissing.in) that’s fighting femicide in India, and I will explain to you below why your passing the I-VAWA is so critical to the work of Campaigns like ours.
In about three generations, more than 50 million women have been systematically annihilated from India. 50 million women who should have been living in India, are not! They’ve been targeted and killed at one or another stage of life – discarded like trash. They’ve been eliminated through mass feticide, infanticide, deliberate starvation and neglect, dowry-murders, honor-killings, and “witch” hunts. http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue22/banerji.htm
This is a targeted annihilation. It specifically targets girls and women.
And it is a mass annihilation. To give you an idea of the scale, consider this: Take the following countries -- Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal. Now kill every single person who lives in all these countries. That is the number of women that have been annihilated from India.
This annihilation is driven by misogyny -- a blind, irrational hatred, that socially and historically regards girls and women as worthless and unwanted in society. The same kind of blind, irrational, historical hatred that has driven all other genocides in human history.
How would the world respond if the people belonging to a certain ethnic group, or race or religion, were being singled out and targeted? If they were being subjected to systemic violence, abuse, torture, and considered so worthless, that they were being annihilated in the millions?
This would be called a genocide! A violation of international human rights laws! A global catastrophe! The international community would be morally obliged to respond to the situation and take whatever measures necessary to stop it as soon as possible and protect the victims.
- So I ask you -- why do we not respond this way when the group in question are women?
THE RIGHT OF A GROUP TO EXSIST AND THE RIGHT TO SAFETY AND LIFE ARE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS THAT HAVE TO BE MET UNCONDITIONALLY.
THEN WHY DO PEOPLE NOT REGARD THE SYSTEMATIC ANNIHILATION OF WOMEN IN INDIA IN THIS LIGHT?
WHY DO WE NEED TO GIVE REASON AND JUSTIFY WHY WOMEN SHOULD BE “ALLOWED” TO LIVE?
AND WHY IS IT THAT ONLY IN THE CASE OF WOMEN THAT WE DON'T RECOGNIZE THIS KIND OF VIOLENCE AS A GROSS, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION AS WE WOULD FOR ALL OTHER HUMAN GROUPS -- RACES, RELIGIONS, ETHNICITIES?
The reason is – because women as a whole, globally, are not even recognized as a human group
All things that contain the word “women” are put away in the “Domestic” bin. It puts us in league with the dish-washer and vacuum cleaner – domestic appliances, domestic commodities, that the owners (whichever household or nation) they “belong” to, can deal with however they see fit as they would with their other commodities.
SO PLEASE MAKE HISTORY TODAY! PASS THE INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT. DECLARE US WOMEN AS HUMAN BEINGS – ENTITLED, UNCONDITIONALLY, TO ALL THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS THAT ALL OTHER HUMAN GROUPS ARE ENTITLED TO.
In hope and solidarity,
founder, The 50 Million Missing Campaign, www.50millionmissing.in