Thursday 7 January 2016

Comments on the Attacks in Cologne 2016

I am not a fan of this particular podcaster, but this one is sort of on point - whether or not anyone likes it. I could make some minor complaints about the podcast, but why bother?

These attacks in Cologne took me back to 1976, when I was sexually assaulted in a Paris by 5 young Algerian men. While I didn't know it then, now I can only call it the precipitous cause of the breakup of my first marriage. The nightmares, the PTSD (although we didn't have a word for it then), caused a chain of events that made us a statistic that society didn't have back then either.

What horrifies me most is that people don't want to acknowledge that beliefs have real world consequences. The excuses that believers come up with for the negative attitudes towards women are sometimes beyond the pale. Unless religious systems change - and Christianity is not exempt - religious systems that make women second-class beings subject to men will always implicitly - if not explicitly - condone the actions of these sexual predators - because in the end, women are supposed to somehow change their behaviours, their demeanors, their clothes, their jobs, where they go, so that they won't be attacked.

The secular world is trying to change this - not very successfully, at times. Nothing excuses sexual assault on anyone - but women are the primary victims. The fact that most religions see women as appendages to men is something that is so embedded in worldwide cultural structures that people don't even see where it comes from - or they don't want to see - they just find "secular" justifications for what were originally god(s)-driven justifications.

There are times when I truly wonder whether anything will change. Then I tell myself that at least it is better than it was in 1976. It is no longer just an individual problem - although there is still resistance to the idea - there is acceptance that this is a societal issue that has to be dealt with at that level. Can I applaud the Ontario government for its ads on sexual harassment and violence against women - I can. Will it change things? In the long run, I think that it will. Social marketing can work - the justice system just has to follow up.

Now that that is out of my system, I will go to sleep.

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