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Here and There

Stacy Alcantara's picture

I’ve heard about Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues (TVM) since I was in high school, but it’s only around 7 years later that I decided be part of the cast. I am about to graduate from university and deeply regret that I’ve only taken an active part in this when about to finally leave the halls of my school.

I care so much about gender issues because the stories surrounding women who have been used and abused give me the most unsettling feeling. It gives me goosebumps knowing that there are real women around the world who are suffering the most unimaginable tortures.
This year’s TVM puts the spotlight on Congo—a war-torn country in the heart of Africa. The women in Congo have suffered so much considering that rape alone has become one of the inevitable consequences of war. Some of these women have been forced into the sex trade to escape the war, only to find themselves in another nightmare.  To put it bluntly, several women in Congo continue to suffer from femicide—from female genital mutilation, to rape, to discrimination, to torture. 

A friend of mine was right when she said that femicide is the global warming of women.  Everyone knows about it but very few actually care about it. We know its consequences but don’t necessarily care enough to actually try to mitigate it.

“It’s silly how people say, ‘why should we care about a little girl being raped by 50 men all the way in Congo when we’re here in the Philippines?’” my friend said.

Why should we care about holes in the ozone layer over the Antarctic if we live in Indonesia or in Australia?

My friend couldn’t have said it better when she pointed out that Congo is the heart of Africa and Africa is the heart of the world. At the center of this heart are women who hold the future generations in their wombs. When we destroy these women, we eventually destroy the future.

They always said that the hand that rocks the cradle, rocks the world.

The kind of future we perceive for future generations will greatly depend on the kind of present we allow our women to live and enjoy.

Just because some of us live in relatively safe and peaceful communities free of the harsh realities and violence that many people live through doesn’t mean we should fall short of doing something. Because what happens all the way there will eventually be felt all the way here.

Comments

Submitted by Eagle Zero on
Growing up as a guy has been easier to what I have observed in comparison to what women go through and with the paternalistic culture of the Philippines, it was only natural that as a boy of six or seven, I believed my gender to be superior. Although I have never thought of women as slaves, I must admit to have thought of them as second class citizens but a boy of six or seven would not phrase it as such as the description would be not be in his vocabulary. It was a good thing that such a mindset was easily changed with the watchful eyes of family that did care what I thought about and a high school that augmented the importance of an egalitarian setting. The idea of "start them young" is very effective and quite truthful. I have grown to detest torture and discrimination not just based on gender but by religion, race and all other absurd and archaic reasoning. It is for this that I feel a grotesque kind of discomfort at the still existing culture that glorifies and thrives upon the suppression of women for the sake of exclusive male leadership and joy. The situation in many parts of Africa and the world in general--the Philippines included if you consider reality--is something that must be addressed not just for equality sake but for the continuity of the world and the advancement of the human race. I will disagree that we are relatively safe and peaceful as was written in this blog. Better off, perhaps, but not safe; not peaceful. The difference here is that the war is silent and screams are not heard but society says that there should be none because what is happening to the women is correct and acceptable. We love to say that we are transitioning to the equality of gender and yet the mindset has not changed and the reality of the present plight of women is evidence enough. I am very thankful for my family, my high school and the Jesuit priests--men of the cloth who know and fight against this oppression--than ran the school. It is because of them that I can speak out against this and see the beauty of this particular battle as a weaponry against the continued darkness the other half of the human gender has to go through everyday. It is not yet my time to fight...but I will let this little response at least be the initial sparks before the fire that will come. As for the writer, expect more responses from me.

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