#metoo #theytoo #stopVAWG

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Author: Angeles Reyes Ridgeley

I’d like to make a few points after seeing the development of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the criticism of women who shared their experiences of harassment and abuse under the #metoo umbrella and were dismissed as “porn rape”. It’s amazing the many ways in which we are invited to shut up again from the most diverse places in society and it’s particularly sad when it’s other women who do it.

 

I have lived too many #metoo moments in my li3fe, which had a “happy end” because I wasn’t raped, so I thought they hadn’t affected me, until I had a daughter (yes, I bring up my daughter, am I not disgraceful, naysayers?) and I saw how scared I am for her and how unwilling I am to test her good luck, her quick thinking or her ability to go from calm to psycho in less seconds than a Bugatti. I paid a high price to develop quick reflexes and I wish no girl had to be on high alert most of the time and drown her brains in cortisol to fight off aggression effectively.

So, I stand with all the women trying to raise awareness through #metoo. I also want to thank the vast majority of good guys out there who wouldn’t dream of attacking anyone and feel ashamed when they come across this news.

I don’t need to say that in one of those #metoo moments in my life, when I was only 14, a guy was key to my not being attacked by three blokes on my way to school. Although the girl I was then had been super brave, she couldn’t bring herself to approach him and say “thank you” out of sheer embarrassment. I’ll be always grateful for him and for all the guys out there ready to intervene.

Making this world a safe place for girls and women is everyone’s work.

And that takes me to #theytoo.

#theytoo doesn’t exist yet, I made it up and I’m the only one using it in social media. It comes from the awareness that there are enough girls in the world (that includes the “first world”, our so civilized countries) being trafficked to become sex slaves. They are either imprisoned or coerced into silence through threats to their loved ones. Some are moved within a country, others are “exported” and kept in what I call “rape factories”, places usually innocently described as “brothels” where men pay for their right to abuse them – they may not be aware but it doesn’t make it better.

These girls/women won’t be able to say #metoo so I made this poster to invite everyone who got into the Weinstein and #metoo conversation to consider whether they could research the issue of sex trafficking and slavery and pay attention to their surroundings, there are signs when girls are kept in a flat/house for “clients”. You can find them online. You can also share #theytoo and this image to spread the word for them, to demand governments everywhere to stop being complicit on crimes against girls and women – from forced “prostitution” to rape conviction rates and treatment of victims of violence.

Have you heard of femicides?

It’s too late for so many girls and women who have been beaten to death by an ex partner, or tortured and raped. In the outskirts of Mexico DF it’s a daily thing to find pieces of bodies of the missing girls/women. In Argentina many girls were found in bin bags. We are rubbish. Dehumanized into Nothingness.

So, there’s another group of women that need us: those at high risk of being killed as a result of violence against women and children. In Argentina, this year, a woman is being killed every 18 hours. And that does not account for how many girls are kidnapped to be systematically raped until they die – like products, their “useful life” once their ordeals start is, in the best case scenario  (is there one?), 10 years. Drug dealers have discovered what a profitable business it is and it’s becoming their second source of income.

So, what can we do, as (powerless?) individuals to stand for those who are #theytoo in a number of ways? If you can’t stomach a lot of info on this, it’s ok – it happens to me, I can’t deal with it on a regular basis, that’s why I have so much respect for those able to work against this, able to look for the kidnapped girls, to fight maffias, to lobby governments and raise awareness on a daily basis without breaking apart.

You can add your voice today, in just 15 minutes you can share in social media and write to your MP a few lines about it, about stopping grooming of vulnerable girls in UK and anywhere you are reading from, to take seriously the research on the effects of porn on teenage boys, to support the victims of violence, abuse and rape and raise the conviction rates, to make UK – or any country – trafficking-free and to punish violence and exploitation of women and girls.

If we find so tough to talk about the moments of fear we went through when there wasn’t physical harm, just imagine what it is like to endure harm, whether for an hour, for a month, for a year. Try to imagine yourself or a loved one going through this, because you can do something to stop it.

Seriously.

You have more power than you believe you have, and you can make a difference.

Thank you.

Submitted to us by our fan Angeles Reyes-Ridgeley for reproduction.  Original article can be found here: https://www.pinkmyarse.co.uk/single-post/2017/10/27/metoo-theytoo-stopVAWG

With a background in creative content and market research, Angeles Reyes-Ridgeley works for equality, co-creation and people-advocacy, helping businesses and NGOs to listen to people and update their products and content.

She’s the founder of feminist social business www.pinkmyarse.co.uk  – and its goal is creating a modern “agora” for feminists to trade and talk, to get the feminine perspective to influence policies and brands.

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