An experiment recently by a young New York actress was indicative of the continuing lack of evolution by American men. Our Culture continues to view women as sexual objects first, and as people second. Sexual harassment continues.
While walking the streets of the ‘Big Apple’ for ten hours, Shoshana B. Roberts received over 100 ‘cat calls’ and sexual innuendos from men as she passed by them. One man followed her for five minutes. All of this was captured by a video camera hidden in the backpack of a person walking in front of her.
Shoshana did not speak to those who verbally abused her for nearly one-half day. Some of the comments were simply insulting such as ‘smile.’ Some were more sexually explicit referring to parts of her body.
Was this experiment a surprise? It was most definitely not a revelation; it was an affirmation.
Objectifying women has not declined and is symbolic of their continuing lack of respect, and therefore their position in our society. When this writer recently posted an article of the slight possibility of First Lady Michelle Obama running for the Senate in California, one of the first ‘tweets’ was angry, ignorant, and misogynistic. To paraphrase the comment; ‘we don’t need an ugly, buck toothed woman in office.’ It wouldn’t matter to what degree this same person hated a male in a similar article, the verbiage would have been entirely different.
Detractors from this piece will surely point to certain facts, especially those regarding sexual assault; and they would be correct. The numbers show that these attacks, mainly on women, have declined by 50 percent. In the most recent report 4.2 million victims reported the crime. But the number continues to be far too high; every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. And that only includes the number of reported cases.
Here are some of the terrible statistics.
One out six women in America have been a victim of rape or attempted rape.
Three percent of men have been victims or attempted victims of the crime.
15 percent of all victims are under the age of 12.
73 percent of the crimes are committed by someone the victim knew.
Juvenile victims knew their attackers 93 percent of the time; they are family members, friends or acquaintances.
The violation of a victim’s person committed by these individuals results in problems which are often endured for a lifetime. They are more likely to suffer depression and PTSD. There are statistics of more frequent drug and alcohol abuse, and more considerations of committing suicide. Estimates are that 60 percent of all sexual assaults go unreported.
Just this year when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand returned from maternity leave, a Senator from across the aisle made a disparaging remark about her weight gain. Harassment continues at all levels.
Throughout history and around the world women have lacked the respect given to their male counterparts. This is the 21st century. Women outnumber men; they control much of the world’s wealth; increasing numbers of women are running corporations and large businesses; there are presently more women than men in universities and colleges.
Time is supposed to ‘heal all wound.’ In the discussion about sexual objectivity towards women, the wound is reluctant to close.
By James Turnage