Reba caught her employee stealing and fired her. The ex-employee took her to the CCMA, a South African court for labour disputes. “What?”, bellowed the judge. “You fired her for stealing R3 000? Why, there are people a lot worse of off than you! I would respect you if you stood up for victims of the Antwerp Diamond Center robbery! Or the Schiphol Airport Heist! Or the Central bank of Iraq robbery!
I heard similar things often in the last few days. Here is a Facebook quote attributed to Michelle Scribellito:
I do not feel I am a “second class citizen” because I am a woman…
I do not feel that I “don’t have control of my body or choices” because I am a woman…
If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not have the opportunity or means to have their voices heard.
Here’s some places where your energy might be better spent. It’s a long list. You have plenty of choices.
Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive, no rights and must always be covered.
China and India: infanticide of baby girls…
Guatemala: the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa….
So……… when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don’t have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast in their plush hotel and it’s like a vacation away from their regular weekend routine……….
This WOMAN does not support it.”
As an aside, she said this with regards to the women’s marches against Donald Trump. These women (plus men) marched for a variety of reasons, some with which I agree with and some with which many of us would disagree. If millions of people participate in something, they tend to not all have the same motive. Madonna, for example, may have participated and landed on TV, but that does not mean everyone in the march endorses her views. It is not like marchers, say, voted for her to be president.
But the topic here is not the marchers, rather the Christian attitude towards protesters of real or perceived injustice, political or not. I regularly hear that feminism has no place in America, or whatever country, because women elsewhere have it worse.
I think – correct me if I am wrong – that since God is just, and we should let his kingdom come on earth, we should be the first to speak up against – and even march against – injustice.
We should hate injustice and certainly not vote for it. To mention an example, I am South African. It is embarrassing to admit, but my country has an accused rapist – Jacob Zuma – as a president. This means that South Africans prioritize women so lowly that the majority of them will vote for an accused rapist. The USA also has an accused rapist as a president, but at least the majority of Americans did not actually vote for him: He got 46.1% of the vote, his main opponent 48.2%, and other candidates 5.7%.
Any given Zuma/ Trump voter could reply he does not believe the accusations, but the point remains the average voter who does not believe a rape claim against a politician does it for the simple reason that the voice of the accuser matters less to him than the voice of the accused.
Michele S testifies that she does not feel she does not have control of her body. If she never felt that, she is really privileged. Did no man ever touched her or rubbed against her in any unwanted way? Did nobody ever say anything that makes her feel sexually unsafe, as if someone else wants to take charge of her body? Nobody ever hit her, or forced her to go anywhere she does not want? I’m sure she has never been in the not-quite-rape-not-quite-bodily-autonomy* position where she would move in with a guy, and call him a “boyfriend”, just to avoid homelessness.
Even then, she could still speak up for other women who are raped and assaulted. It may not have happened to her, but it happens all over the world. In luxurious mansions. In sparsely furnished apartments. In middle-class Western homes behind picket fences. In corrugated iron shacks. Chances are that it happens to someone on her street.
How about speaking up, Michele S, for the people who are not as fortunate as you? I know, someone in Guatemala may have it even worse than the women around you. But Jesus called us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means caring about them, at least listening to what they have to say. We may not be able to do much for women in Saudi Arabia. They and their oppressors probably do not speak our language and do not regard our religion as a motive to change. But we can shine a light where we are, and work for justice where we are.
Yes, we could say that our countries already have laws about female equality. Whereas the US makes the top third of the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report list as 45th/144 countries, South Africa does even better: Despite our rape rate, 15th/144 puts us into the top 1/8th. (The list does not use rape as an indicator of inequality.) But laws are not everything. As long as men rape women, women are evidentially seen as objects and not equals. As long as women fear for their safety, they are not free to go where they want. As long as people vote for rapists, they say women don’t matter. As long as we do not speak up for equality, we are not standing up for the least among us.
Even if I, personally am okay, I need to stand up for my sisters.
*not-quite-rape-not-quite-bodily-autonomy: Some people may take issue with this description. If rape is defined as sex without consent, this is not quite raping because a circumstantially forced consent is given here. But autonomy is making your decisions free from coercion, and a circumstantially forced consent is not that. Which is why feminists call for, among others, uncoerced consent and informed consent.