I’m making RNA-seq libraries which means I’m churning through audiobooks. In my view, this is the best way of keeping my mind occupied while processing many samples over countless hours of tedious repetitive tasks. I recently finished a biography of John D. Rockefeller and quickly became bored with a book on brand relevance and decided to delve into a book recommended to me by a high school friend on women’s issues abroad.
“Half the Sky” tells the stories of oppressed women around the world. Slowly but surely we can tear down the systematic and institutionalized oppression of women at home and abroad, where the issues grow in severity from unequal pay and representation to blatant gendericide, denied access to healthcare or education, economic entrapment, rape, and forced prostitution.
I went into instant injustice rage anger and frustration mode when I heard the detailed and personalized story of a young girl coerced at a young age into the industry of human sex trafficking. Many of these girls are sold and then beaten and raped into submission, economically trapped, socially stigmatized, and drugged or kept dependent on drugs to encourage compliance.
Most infuriating moment thus far: in a conversation with a border guard (i think?) one of the investigators asks why not crack down on human trafficking? The border guard responds that prostitution has always existed in every country, always. So why bother? What else are the young men to do between the ages of 18 to 30 when they are married? These girls are poverty stricken young girls from the country side, nobodies. no one cares about them. they are sacrificed so that the ‘good middle class girls’ can retain their virtue. 😡
What are the boys supposed to do? How about control your urges! Channel that energy into production, or fall in love with a girl (or boy) and become a responsible, mature adult committed to that person and building a life for yourselves. Not someone who learns to hate and despise the people you participate in sexual acts with! Talk about set up for marital distress later on. And I can’t even begin to comment on the idea of poor girls from the country being appropriate sacrifices because they inherently lack worth. Disgusting.
I think this is exactly what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was talking about when she said that girls are taught we cannot be sexual beings in the same way boys are, or that we have such a low opinion of men that we think they are incapable of all self control.
If all brothels were run by ambitious, educated, sexually safe and entrepreneuring nymphomaniacs then perhaps my tune would change.
I’m only a few chapters in, so I’ll report back with more.
For more about the book, click here.
For more about the movement and how you can help, click here.