The enemy within

2010-09-04 12:31

Whether we like it or not, women are fellow soldiers in a war against a mentality that seeks to destroy us just because of how we were born.

Some time ago, I came across a front-page story in a daily tabloid about some women who were forced off some trains stark naked because they had replaced striking workers.

I don’t want to go into the details. They still make me cringe. Besides, I’ve chosen not to remember them so much anyway.

But what I do remember is how those women were humiliated in a way that was not only degrading to human beings, but in a way that was particularly degrading to women.

Having our dignity respected as women means having the choice to give and withhold the secrets of our bodies to and from whomever we choose.

The right of these women to have that choice was forcefully taken from them, as is done with many women in this country.

But you know what hurt the most?

It was not that men had done this. It was that men had done this with the help of women. Women who know what it is to be able to decide what should and shouldn’t happen to one’s body made the decision to snatch that precious gift from others.

It hurts.

And that is one of our problems as women in this world. Whether we like it or not, we are fellow soldiers in a war against a mentality that seeks to destroy us just because of how we were born.

I’m not saying that the female perpetrators in that horrendous act in the trains should have helped the victims just because they were female.

I’m saying that as females, the perpetrators should have been repulsed to the bone by that act.

As women, we cannot stand by and let other women be degraded as such.

Our silence says something about what we think of ourselves and of others.

And it guides others regarding how they should treat us.

Steve Biko said that the most potent weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

How far we still have to go as women if we have enemies within our own ranks?

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