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Bandera Courier
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2013-01-10

Save the women & children

Carolyn B. Edwards

I see that the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, R-Calif., has said that his committee may investigate the bootcamp scandals at Lackland Air Force Base. McKeon changed his previous stand of "letting the Air Force handle it" once evidence came out showing the trainers had abused their power over male trainees, too.
Apparently, while the scandal allegedly involved male trainers abusing female trainees it wasn't important enough for Congress to look into. I imagine the thinking went along the lines of, "boys will be boys," and "the b-ches were asking for it."
That kind of prejudiced thinking reflects how far we still need to go to achieve true gender equality, not only in the world, but right here in the US of A. "We've come a long way, baby," the advertising catch phrase said. But it seems to me that in many ways we have digressed in recent decades.
During the feminist movement in the 70s, American women subscribed to Ms. Magazine, attended consciousness raising sessions, read Germaine Greer and Simone de Beauvoir, and realized, along with Gloria Steinem, that "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
In 2013, however, too many women stay in violent and debasing relationships because they don't believe they can manage their lives alone. They dress in ways that portray a prostitute mind-set that says there is only one part of them that is of any value.
We need to teach our girls that their minds and hearts are the true treasures. Even more, we need to teach our boys to honor and respect the minds and hearts of the females they encounter.
Emily Nielsen Jones, president and co-founder of the Imago Dei Fund, part of a movement of women-led philanthropies mobilizing resources to create a more just world for girls and women, recently said the following:
"... Everywhere on our planet, whether in Cambodia or India or right here on our own doorsteps, 12-27 million people are caught in a web of slavery today and, according to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, three out of every four are female and over half are children. (http://www.freedomcenter.org/slavery-today/)
"In the last half century alone, more women and girls have died as a result of gender discrimination than all the men who died in all the battles of the 20th century. More girls are killed each decade than all of those who died in the genocides of last century.
"Did you know that over 10 times as many girls are currently being trafficked each year than African slaves were transported during the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?"
The trending word for this humanitarian crisis as "femicide."
Treating women as less than men damages society to its roots.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, "Study after study has taught us that there is no tool more effective for development than the empowerment of women."
We need to realize that "what is good for girls and women is good for the world, good for humankind, and good for the planet. The global development community has placed the empowerment of girls and women at the center of poverty alleviation efforts, economic and community development, and fighting a whole host of social ills," said Nielson Jones.