Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Now Showing in 3D: "Denial, Degradation, and Domination"

image is from here
The image above is a visual example of what denial and domination does to women and girls: it degrades them. It dehumanises them. It makes them into things to be taken apart; things which men do not desire to put back together. Men take apart women and girls in so many grim and common ways. All of those ways are terrible and many are horrifying. It is, especially, the horror and the political construction and maintenance of it that men, as a class, refuse to be responsible for.

I have been trying to assist a friend and her children who are prisoners of the husband-father. He controls all the money and other aspects of their lives, and his abilities to do this are backed by the country in which they live. Their country, like mine, is very patriarchal. The country is his, not hers. All social and economic and political systems, and many customs, are patriarchal, are male dominated, and value male dominance over women and children. This is how it is across the globe in most places. In his country, boys and men are valued, and girls and women are not.

If her story were told--it will not be told here--many men would blame her for the situation she is in. Truth told, many women would too. Maybe even more women than men, actually, because in my experience women are terrified of being trapped by a man, and don't want to ever admit it could happen to them, unless it has already happened. And even then, denial works wonders to allow us to pretend the oppressive and dehumanising conditions we live in aren't all that bad, aren't degrading, and don't constitute severe oppression. That men's domination and degradation of girls and women is not seen as oppression in most places is something I have encountered here recently.

I called an attorney about my friend who is held captive with their children. I couldn't speak directly to the lawyer, only her assistant who is male. I asked him if there might be some form of political asylum for her. He balked at that--political asylum??? Was I crazy? He said that's for conditions in which a group or individual is being terrorised politically. (Silly me: I view battery, trafficking, rape, gendered poverty, and other domestic and international violence that way, when men do it to women and girls.) I told him VAWA would not agree with him and he might wish to educate himself. Actually, I didn't suggest he might wish to educate himself. I knew that would only annoy him and that he was set in his beliefs about women not being able to be political prisoners of men, in the home. His views are typical of most men I know.

What I find generally is that men do not wish to believe that they can be and too often are terrorists of women and girls. The fathers who molest and rape their daughters deny it. The boyfriends who abuse and control their girlfriends deny it. The husbands who beat and terrorise their female spouses deny it. The men who rape women on dates or on the street or in their homes deny it. With all that denial, is it any wonder that the male assistant to the woman attorney responded as he did?

It is not a surprise to me. But it is infuriating. I despise his point of view. I despise men's ignorance and arrogance, men's willful refusal to get how men dominate and degrade women politically.

And I hope there is a special place in hell for the men who do terrorise women and girls. Because men put women and girls in a special kind of hell by degrading and dominating them in many ways including economically and sexually, including interpersonally and institutionally--all of them political.

This has been explained and expressed in painfully explicit detail for forty-plus years worldwide. From every area of study, from every area of the Earth. Why haven't men, en masse, been paying attention? Because men, collectively, home by home, region by region, continent by continent, don't care enough about women's and girls' liberation from men's denial, degradation, and domination.