In 2000 the UN released it’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and promised to achieve them by 2015. Now almost half way through that time there is some reviewing of the movement going on.
“None of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved without gender equality. We cannot let another minute go by without acting decisively and urgently. Unless we do, we will be condemning millions of girls to a life of poverty and hardship.” Graça Machel
Girls aged 15-19 account for 50% of victims of sexual assault worldwide
Birth complications and unsafe abortions are the leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19
Seventy per cent of the 1.5billion people living on less than a dollar a day are female
Stunted growth in estimated 450million women as a result of childhood malnutrition
Approximately 7.3million young women are living with HIV/AIDS, in comparison to 4.3million men
Two thirds of 15-19-year-olds newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are female
Sixty two million girls are out of primary school
Meanwhile, as we know, sexual violence isn’t just about developing nations and there has been some promotion of the idea of “Rape Resistance” rather than “Rape Prevention”.
It is more accurate to talk about rape resistance. The term rape “prevention” misleads women.
First, it gives women the false message that there is a way to “prevent” sexual assault from happening. There is no such guarantee. Secondly, traditional “rape prevention” information leads women to believe that they are responsible for preventing sexual assault. Our culture encourages women to be careful about what they wear or what they do in order to stop it from happening. The focus is on women and, as a result, many survivors of sexual assault end up blaming themselves. Offenders, however, are always 100 per cent responsible.
From Hamilton Spectator
The idea of rape resistance is simple – we all have a toolkit (which is referred to as a backpack as tool kit is seemingly too masculine) which contains strategies for resistance which will help keep us safe(r). And unlike rape “prevention” ideas they don’t rely on us staying home after sunset (as if most sexual violence was “stranger danger” which we also know to be untrue). However the image of the backpack also highlights the dual-nature of the safety strategies:
On the one hand, the backpack is necessary. When women sense danger, they have some strategies to choose from. On the other hand, the backpack weighs women down and restricts their freedom. All women, to some degree, carry this burden.