This is President Jimmy Carter’s new book. I’m about half way through it, and I have to pause and take several deep breaths. Regardless of the reality that I’ve worked with survivors of rape and incest and every other form of physical abuse, I am “leveled” emotionally to see the actual up to date statistics and real life examples of violence against women in every part of the world. The powerlessness is seen in every country, and President Carter has written his book as a call to action. It’s time, more honestly, far beyond time, to examine what is necessary to put a stop to the lawless treatment of women and girls. The question is always how.
I must also admit, that I hold on to constant hope that change is happening….that organizations and governments are paying attention to the need for education, medical care, and legal action. I consequently look at every small example of change or success as a sign that we are making progress. This is perhaps my own unique form of denial of reality because when I read A Call To Action I see that the incidents of violence against women are increasing — not diminishing.
We see so many examples of successful women in our part of the world. CEO’s and corporate board members are now — sometimes — women. There are growing numbers of women managers and leaders everywhere; and despite such a show of positional power, there is still pay inequity. And at the same time women campaign to take a more representational stand in the political world — state, local, and national legislation to restrict, even destroy, our rights to make our own decisions about our bodies — from the right to health care and contraception to the painful decisions about abortion — is proposed in over 30 states. These legal road blocks are in the way of true positional and personal power ….. and SAFETY for women.
I wish I could point to a handful of actions to suggest to anyone interested in taking action, in getting involved, in making a difference. Right now I simply suggest the idea of impacting one person, with one conversation, with one action that is in your personal “wheel house.” One thing at a time does grow. Explore the avenues available to you — in your part of the world. Find a way to take a stand if you, indeed, believe this kind of inequity must be changed.
And as I finish A Call To Action I may have more thoughts to offer. Meanwhile, read it for yourself. Examine if in fact you want to be part of making a difference and see if there’s someone else you might influence to take action with you. I’m personally hopeful that the upcoming political campaigns will bring more women into positions of power. Once that happens I think we will begin building a broader pathway for change.