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87,000 “isolated-incidents” epidemic U.S. ignores, India responds to rape


Rebecca Solnit’s Longest War: the war against women
Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

Rape and other acts of violence up to and including murder and threats of violence are the salvo some men lay down in their attempt to control some women, writes author and activist Rebecca Solnit.

“Fear of that violence limits most women in ways they have gotten so used to that they hardly notice, the public hardly addresses”; and the chasm between men and women’s understanding of the scope and far-reaching effect of this human rights issue is enormous.

Solnit cites a situation of a college class in which students were asked what they do to stay safe from rape and the young women described intricate ways.

They stayed alert, limited their access to the world, took precautions, and essentially thought about rape all the time ─ while the young men in the class gaped in astonishment.

Paradigm in violence disconnect

There is “a pattern of violence against women that is broad and deep and horrific and incessantly overlooked,” Solnit says. Incidents of rape are “everywhere in the news [but] no one adds them up and indicates that there might actually be a pattern.”

There is a chasm between the worlds of young women and young men, Solnit says, but in the class cited this chasm of two worlds “had briefly and suddenly become visible.…

“There is something about how masculinity is imagined, about what is praised and encouraged, about the way violence is passed on to boys that needs to be addressed.”

The rape and gruesome murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi, India, in mid December last year was treated as an exceptional incident but in the United States of America a rape is reported every 6.2 minutes. One in five women will be raped in her lifetime. As headlines screamed the case of the rape in India ─

The story of the alleged rape of an unconscious teenager by members of the Steubenville [Ohio] High School football team unfolded.

Gang rapes in the United States are not unusual [isolated incidents, rare occurrences, class or culture or race bound].

Some of the 20 men who gang-raped an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas, were sentenced in November.

The instigator of the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Richmond, California, was sentenced in October.

Four men who gang-raped a 15-year-old near New Orleans were sentenced in April.

Six men who gang-raped a 14-year-old in Chicago last fall remained at large.

Years seeking redress, lesson from India

The rape and murder in New Delhi of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey who was studying physiotherapy to better herself and help others and the assault on her (surviving) male companion “seem to have triggered the reaction that we have needed for 100, or 1,000, or 5,000 years. …,” Solnit writes.

“We have far more than 87,000 rapes” in the United States every year and each incident has invariably been portrayed as an isolated incident. Dots so close they are “splatters melting into a stain, but hardly anyone connects them or names that stain.”

In India, however, people connected the dots and named the stain, she says. “They said rape is a civil rights issue, a human rights issue.” No isolated incident, it is unacceptable and everybody’s problem.

ALL VIOLENCE, global and domestic, inside and across nations, is violence against women ─ a chronic abuse of human rights in serious need of ongoing attention, adjudication, and correction.

Sources and notes

“The Longest War is the One against Women ─ A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year: hate crimes in America (and elsewhere)” (by Rebecca Solnit, © 2013 Rebecca Solnit, published on Thursday, January 24, 2013 by, January 24, 2013,

Activist and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, Rebecca Solnit is author A Paradise Built in Hell; Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics; and (with her brother David) Wanderlust: A History of Walking, The Battle of The Story of the Battle in Seattle


“Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City … Steubenville, Ohio, is a place where ‘everybody knows everybody,’ a judge said.” (By Juliet Macur and Nate Schweber, published: December 16, 2012,


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women:!/bennetts2ndstudy

Posted by Bennett's Study at 3:15 PM
Labels: all violence violence against women, Jyoti Singh Pandey, Longest War is the One against Women, rape and violence against women U.S. and worldwide, Rebecca Solnit,Steubenville Ohio



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