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Help pass the International Violence Against Women Act

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Dear President Obama,First Lady,Vice President Biden, Secretary Hillary Clinton and the members of US Government:

Will you bring change if I say that around the world, one in every three women has been beaten, forced into sexual contact, or otherwise abused by men around them. Or can I convince you by saying more than million women are missing- killed by infanticide, feticides, malnutrition or lack of health care? Will you be convinced if I read out to you my questions and hidden aspirations that had given me sleepless nights and headaches, and tensions?
I learnt the different roles women in my community were assigned to in a conservative, male dominated, under developed social context from my mother. Women are in rigid religious and political trappings, created only to undermine a woman’s ability and role. Men are defined by their job roles, military, engineer, kinship or rank, while women are defined solely by their gender roles as wives, servants, mothers, daughters. Growing up as a child in I always questioned myself if religion, culture or what is it that really granted the man more liberty in terms of family, religious and social lives, whereas the women were deprived of the basic rights or freedom that the man was accessible to; devotion, education, decision making, remarriage, sexuality, attire or reproduction. Perhaps, the man was granted the power to be dominant by nature at his birth (created at first by god) to have authority over women or for his physical strengths. This struggle yet remains since the biblical times, where the battle between man and woman seems to never end until the woman realizes that it is of no use trying to win over the man physically and eventually gives up. The man then exclaims over his victory from that moment onwards being ungrateful and guilty to realize that a woman was the individual who had given him a life to rule over the woman as he desires. The woman ‘gave in’ centuries ago and she is still ‘giving in’. Why? Please tell me what is it that really makes you and I different from each other? Am I to be happy at my birth assuming I am one of the lucky ones among the new born female babies who are alive today. Or should I confess of being born to be accused of crossing boundaries from birth?
A man is assigned and granted more space to play powerful, dominant roles as politicians, but not women. She has to go along with the majority and spiritual say whether she like it or not. The women roles create more sympathy in them as we see the struggles they have to face in terms of their marriage, children and family. Men are also granted the opportunity to choose their wives, whereas a woman lacks the choice of choosing a soul mate, restricted from having sex for breeding purposes. She is laughed at because she is uneducated; when the truth is that she is not given the option to receive education. Even if she does it is considered unconventional. Will it be the case if the gender roles were reversed? Nevertheless, women crave to impress their husbands and are possessive of them, whereas men regard women as materials that can be purchased based on their pretty looks for marriage and are there to satisfy their needs at all times. What allows me to question the theory behind the treatment produced to women in different communities. If a man and women were both created or visualized on equal grounds by God, what allowed the man to be distinct among females and enjoy benefits that are restricted to women. Why certain rules only were applied to women and not men and to control man’s sexual desires. What makes a man escape most of the rules assigned to women, if the physical appearance is all what determines their difference. Women cannot rule, hold property or jobs, read, or do anything else that might allow them to become subversive or independent, so as a result can undermine their husbands or the state as man thinks. It is enough, we cannot take this anymore. I feel that by not standing up for our voice when we can; we are setting up the ground work to undermine our own roles; that undoubtedly would grant the modern man to be dominant and repressive over a woman’s role in the society.
What really are the underlying causes that allows woman to be inferior to men and that they are viewed as sexual objects that are good only to produce, take care of household chores and a man even risking their lives. We don’t want anyone to combat change overnight by organizing programs that costs over million dollars. This isn’t what we are looking for. The simplest solution is to give us recognition; provide us the opportunity to be heard. We are not asking for special rights, but the basic rights that would give us a decent and sensible life. Treat us like you treat any other man on earth. Respect us for who we are, where we come from and what we do. Just have a change of attitude, if people can’t do it by themselves, help us to enforce it through laws that is what we are asking for. Just a simple contribution as HELPING US PASS THE INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT!

Bhagya Wijayawardane
Sri Lanka
Asian University For Women- Bangladesh

Comments

jadefrank's picture

IVAWA update

Dearest Bhagya,

Thank you for participating in the IVAWA letter writing campaign and for sharing your voice and your personal testimony with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and members of the US Senate on the urgency of ending violence against women.

We sent copies of your letter in packages, along with your fellow PulseWire members', to these key decision makers, and I am excited to announce that on December 15, the International Violence Against Women Act was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee! Our voices were effective in supporting this bill!

Next step for the bill: Get passed by the Senate and House by the end of the year. I will keep you updated!

In friendship and solidarity,
Jade Frank

Online Community Manager
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