Days and months that mark sexual assault awareness come and go through the calendar year. While I pay tribute and advocate for these special periods that heighten consciousness, it’s also too easy to let the everyday go by and forget that everyday, every minute, in every community in this world womyn are being raped, sodomized, and tortured.
Survival does not always follow rape. Neither does healing. Destructive silence, failing justice systems, invasive medical attention, and disbelief must first be dealt. And then, under the right circumstances and fortune, does support, resources, and healing begin.
These stories give testament to the violence that we know occurs but rarely hear about. It’s like that very dark closet in our homes that we know is there, existing in a corner that we rarely have to turn. We refuse to talk about it: rape in our military. Power has always been at the crux of sexual violence, and where does the imbalance of power and superiority exist more than in our armed forces?
It’s not just in the nations we invade where womyn are raped and tortured, but also the womyn within our own military whose stories reflect the same truth: womyn are raped and then silenced when they try to speak out. When people talk about feminism, they first don’t think of war as a feminist or “womyn’s issue.” Why not? At first, it appears the humanitarian and international rights groups have the tags on this. However, I question, what issue does not belong to womyn? What area of social injustice does not first affect and violate womyn of color in any community in this world? How does war not imprison, starve, and mutilate the lives of womyn in a militarized nation?
When I say end this war, I’m not just talking about bringing the troops home. I’m talking about saving the lives of the undocumented violence against womyn of color for which signs and peace rallies will not acknowledge.
*Thanks to an anonymous commenter who put forward the authentic origin of the links and I have since decided to remove the links to some of the photos.