War on Women Alive and Well … and Living in Our Backyard

A Confederate Yankee

By Bill Mayers

(Town of Sullivan, NY – Oct. 2012) Our parents called it “the idiot box” and “a vast wasteland,” and usually they were right. Usually. But once in a while, the media in question rises above that… but rarely far above that. PBS did so in early October when they aired a two-part special called “Half the Sky.” It’s based on a book of the same name, and it’s not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

It details – oh, how it details – the problem of abuse of women.

The documentary takes the viewer abroad: tales of truly vicious anti-woman behavior in Southeast Asia, Africa and other countries. And we’ve heard it before. We glance at the topic and say “Well, that’s not nice, but those places are far away. What difference does it make here?”

And we quickly brush it off and turn to other matters.

But it does happen here. Estimates by highly professional and well-trained reporters – physician and police agencies – periodically issue reports on the subject. Recently, we’re hearing about young American girls, some not yet teenagers, being trafficked by the tens of thousands. Not a few right here in Upstate New York.

Here in our own communities.

How does one approach the issue? It’s so easy to tell, in gruesome detail, the exact particulars, whether it’s the horrid genital mutilation practiced on a million young girls in a certain region on the African sub-continent or the sexual enslavement of little girls from Utica, Binghamton, Syracuse and, closer to home, enforced through beatings and worse.

Neighbors hear or read about that and they deny and deny … and deny. And finally, they simply stop up their ears and turn away.

“Nobody I know. It’s them others – those of a different color, a different religion, of the 47 percent. Ain’t me. Ain’t my family. Not in my neighborhood and not in my church.”

But it is. Denial ain’t just that river in Egypt.

I’m proud of my military service to this country. Southeast Asia and central Europe were fascinating places to visit, even in time of war. A visit to certain exotic ports offered a far less noble view: almond-eyed girls of 10 or 11, nearly naked, hanging on street corners or crowded into sleazy bars and hovels – cribs – while an older person – sometimes the mother of one or more of the girls – describes in exacting detail what the children will do for the price of a few American dollars.

And if you think your dear, little boy raised in the Christian church, wouldn’t do anything so evil, think again, parents. I’ve seen’em do it. I’ve jammed the needle into their behinds and shot’em full of penicillin after the less-desirable effects of such patronizing begins to show when they step up to the urinal.

Oh yes, your dear little boy does it. Repeatedly, if he gets the opportunity. But he does not have to travel halfway around the world; if he knows who to ask and where to look, he can get it right here at home.

Gruesome. But we’ve heard it all before – yawn. So what are you going to say when it’s your own little girl who’s victimized? Can’t happen? Don’t bet the rent.

America has done a rotten job of raising her sons. It really does not matter that it appears more prevalent far away. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are, by far, not the only ways we put down women in America.

The so-called “War on Women” is real.

We still don’t give women equal pay for equal work. Despite solid, incontrovertible evidence otherwise, many of us insist women don’t belong in the Armed Forces, and certainly not in combat. We still look askance at a woman who chooses to keep her own name when she marries. We question the “orientation” of the stay-at-home dad whose wife earns far more than he ever could.

And a guy who proudly self-identifies as a feminist? Won’t Rush have a fantastic time on the air with that one?

Is this really a topic we need to address? Is it all that urgent? My impression is: yes and yes. We deprive ourselves and our nation of a great many skills and a vast reservoir of talent by keeping women down. We deprive our own daughters – of which I have three – of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when we ignore or, worse, condone the nationwide and worldwide systemic abuse of half the population of the planet.

We can do better – much, much better.

We owe it to ourselves, guys, not just to women.

William Mayers of Sullivan is a retired senior U.S. Army Corpsman. A certified healthcare professional since 1964, he holds two professional licenses, including that of Registered Professional Nurse licensed in New York, Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana. He is the father of three and avid analyst of current events.

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