What two words carry enough power to not only lower women's self-esteem but make them especially vulnerable to perpetrations of every kind?
What two words are the last words many women have heard just before being raped or murdered? These two words have been used for millennia to shame women from all walks of life.
The father said…“They betrayed Islam” by consorting with boys, posing seductively for cell phone photographs, and refusing to wear the hijab. In a 2010 statement, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated:“In the name of preserving family 'honor,' women and girls are shot, stoned, burned, buried alive, strangled, smothered and knifed to death with horrifying regularity.”Women in the West have come a long way in some respects, but the labels “slut” and “whore” are still so shaming, and still evoke so much contempt, that even murder can seem justified to some.
A woman who is stigmatized by these labels can be reduced to a status where she lacks access to the rights and protections accorded other citizens.
But I can't help but wonder if the increase in suicides among teenage girls has something to do with the unique pressures of entering puberty as a female in today's world.
I find it deeply disturbing that much of the increase has occurred in girls ages ten to nineteen.
While firearms used to be the favored method of suicide for both girls and boys, girls are increasingly choosing to commit suicide by hanging themselves.
They have often been used to justify all manner of ill treatment, including rape and murder.
Maybe you have personal experience with these two words? In fact, I have many, many times used these words to refer to myself over the last 25 years. My mission is to gut the destructive power of these two words.