Where to even begin…

The Art of Mission.

It is only Tuesday and my week has heard its fair share of disheartening stories involving rape and sexual abuse. Each story exemplifies men abusing power and authority. Each victim was a vulnerable female.

Lately, the short youtube clip “How the Media Failed Women in 2013” has been consuming my Facebook homepage. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NswJ4kO9uHc) With its many visual examples, it depicts how women today are sexually exploited and undermined in the media and within society. Watching this clip infuriates me. It is almost 2014 and equality between men and women is still a global issue. Come on people!

For some random reason I’ve taken a recent interest in learning about Marilyn Monroe’s life. Through reading articles and watching documentaries I’ve been trying to envision a day in her shoes. She was a beautiful, talented actress who desired to be loved for her intellect but society obsessed over her physical appearance. Por ejemplo, she was the first girl to appear on a Playboy magazine. Three disastrous marriages led her down the path of loneliness and addiction, ultimately resulting in her death (to all the Marilyn fans out there, please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted her story). I love how Elton John finishes his song “Candle in the Wind”…

“From the young man in the 22nd row who sees you as something more than sexual.   More than just our Marilyn Monroe.”

Everyday in the Dominican is a learning process for me. The more I engage in conversation and people-watching (one of my favourite pastimes), the more I learn about the local culture. The first world has such an influence on the Dominican community where I reside yet relations between men and women are quite traditional.

Men dominate.

The concept of a vasectomy is unheard of. Wives often care for children that their husbands created with other women. Weekends are for men to do what they want with whom they want. Men seek relations with ‘gringa’ women ultimately in hopes of escaping to another country. If a woman is unable to produce a child with a man, there is a slim chance he will stay in that relationship. That being said, the ability to produce a child doesn’t guarantee that he will stay either. When a girl hits puberty age she is a sexual being. It is not unusual to see girls as young as 13 with a baby belly. Even boys as young as 10 strive to be flirtatious with me. Seriously.

Now please don’t get me wrong. Not all men in the Dominican are like this. In fact I know some incredible men here who have nothing but love and dedication for their wife and their children. Though my blog posts may make me out to be a Debbie Downer, I promise I am not losing hope in the male species.  Know that I believe in women’s equality and empowerment as women and mothers can make such a positive difference in the world.  However, also know that I once punched a boy in the face for making a sexist remark.  My father seemed quite proud of me.   On that note, I am quite proud of my father. Whenever I made a rude remark about another girl in my teenaged years, he would remind me that “that girl is someone’s daughter”.  Everyone is valued and loved. God’s does not create junk.

Entonces.

Sexual abuse is happening all over the world. Women, men and children become victims of rape every single day. The statistics are horrendous.  As individuals I believe we have the ability to change this. We can refuse to turn a blind eye to this reality. We can speak up in our local communities and watch an impact spread globally.

I really encourage you to watch this clip …

http://www.upworthy.com/if-a-man-asks-what-women-have-been-asking-for-centuries-will-men-finally-listen?g=2&c=ufb1

Originally posted to The Art of Mission.