For the next 4 weeks, we'll be working our way through various resources on the issue of trafficking and exploitation. We're doing this in conjunction with our aim to support the work of Refuge for Women, a national post-human trafficking and sexual exploitation agency around the country. Pick up a bag of our REFUGE coffee and engage in the conversation with us as we look at what can be done to minimize trafficking, provide relief for those that are or who have undergone it, and bring awareness to what is already being done about it.
"Violence against women and girls is a human rights problem that impacts the lives of millions of families and communities. In the United States one out of every four women has experienced domestic violence and one out of six has experienced attempted or completed rape. Almost one and a half million women have been abused during the past year, and the health costs are an astounding 5.8 billion dollars...Globally, it is a significant and complex human rights problem that exacerbates the problems of poverty, child abandonment, communicable diseases and homelessness. The perception of violence as a private, family problem has obscured efforts to increase the visibility of this dilemma as a public human rights issue that affects all members of society." - From Elizabeth Gerhart's The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global VIolence Against Women and Girls (IVP: 2014).
I remember in college taking a marriage and family class in our sociology department at Appalachian State. One of those things was a startling statistic (of which, unfortunately, because I have lost my text book I lack a source for--so this is hearsay, admittedly): one in three college age men admitted they would rape if they could get away with it.
I've thought long and hard about this statistic. One in three?! Surely, as I thought at the time, that must be inflated beyond belief. But I think the longer I've lived and the more I've realized what is designated as abuse, what things trigger peoples' reactions, what the real moral compromise man carries in his soul, what is considered "legitimate" in the minds of people, especially under disparate (and desperate) circumstances, the more I am convinced that this number might not be very far from the truth.
The contingency that keeps people's immoral behavior at bay often is simply this: "if I could get away with it."
And, unfortunately, when we realize that one out of six women experiences some form of attempted or completed rape and one out of four experience domestic abuse, I think we have to recognize that there's a good swath of our population that still lives their day to day actions on that kind of contingency. In the public world, certain actions are precluded because of consequence. But because of closed doors, people don't see the consequence; they do believe in getting away with something; they do think contingency is a valid consideration for their own behavior.
1) What do you do in your own life and in your own relationships that are based on the contingency of being 'found out'?
2) How, specifically, does physical violence towards women contribute to other major social issues like health care, poverty, homelessness, trafficking, etc? How does this need to fit into current discussions that center on those things?
The Daily Brew is a daily blog devoted towards offering daily reflections, meditations, and thoughts regarding particular social issues. Often, we will take a particular book and begin working out way through it over a series of days and weeks. You can subscribe to the Daily Brew by clicking on the RSS feed.