She told us about her thought of being a woman. And this is her self reflection.
But you will never be a man. And is to wish to be so wrong? Is it anti-feminist to desire to live without the fear of sexual assault ‘naturally’ brought about by my possession of a vagina? Let alone the daily discriminations which are so entrenched that most of society doesn’t even notice them. Yes that’s hair under my arms. Don’t you grow it?
Deep down I do not want to be a man. I like being a woman. I like my body – it’s the one I’ve got and 25 years have made me pretty comfortable in it. But this comfort has come slowly and despite rather than because of society and its normative ideas. It’s a comfort that I fought for, a hard fight against a beast that still rears its head from time to time. And when I think of the battles I faced I get angry. Because they were so hard and to society they are nothing. There are billions of women who face the same battles or even harsher ones every day. Society does not care. Every moment a woman is being raped, violated, placed second, mutilated, denied, forgotten, silenced, simply because she is ‘she’. And we do not care. Even the ‘she’s in the ‘we’ do not care. Not enough.
In a joint UN programme study conducted in South East Asia one in two men admitted to using physical or sexual violence against a woman, one in four to having raped a woman, one in 25 to having taken part in a gang rape. Admitted. These men felt entitled to force sexual interactions with women. Entitled. This attitude is in no way limited to South East Asia. In South Africa27 cases of rape are reported a day. It’s estimated that another 250 go unreported daily.
The numbers here make distancing ourselves from the problem impossible. We all know of a case of abuse, rape, violence. This is not someone else’s problem. This is your friend’s, your mother’s, your sister’s violation, this is your violation. You know the perpetrator too. It’s time to talk about it – to remind ourselves that this is unacceptable. And to heal together.
One place to start talking is at a workshop hosted by one of Samsara’s network connection, Crafty Queer in Yogyakarta on 8 September. The theme of the workshop is sexual consent and it will be held at 13:00pm at Grha Sahba, UGM on 8 September. If you’re interested find their facebook page and come-along.