September 6, 2008

Invisible Women

There's a great article over at Alternet today about how widespread violence against women goes mostly unnoticed by the media and society in general, and it had a lot of statistics that really surprised me.

* Every day, so-called "honor killings" of girls and women -- often by members of their own families, and even when they are victims of rape -- are unpunished, and even lauded, in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations.

* In Africa and parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, each year an estimated 2 million girls are genitally mutilated -- another "moral" tradition that not only kills but exacts a terrible lifelong toll of disease and sexual dysfunction from those who survive.

* In China and India, millions of baby girls have been killed or abandoned.

* Indeed, female infanticide, selective female malnutrition and medical neglect of girls, common in many world regions, can be so severe that, according to a U.N. Human Development Report, girls ages 2 to 4 die at nearly twice the rate of boys in India's Punjab state.

* According to a World Health Organization report, 20 percent of women have suffered sexual abuse as children.

* According to another U.N. report, thousands of girl children are enslaved -- often offered for sale by members of their own families -- in the global sex industry.

* Even in these United States, more women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends than by automobile accidents.

* And domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Why is all this allowed to go unnoticed? And how in the world do we fix it?

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