“All violence is not acknowledged or responded to equally. Some violence goes unrecognized all together.” YWCA USA
Violence against women has become a master in disguise; it has made its way into our homes, schools and communities with many faces such as intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking and harassment. Despite what has been reported and explained by the media and an unfortunate assumption that has been made over the decades, violence knows no boundaries and it certainly does not discriminate. This global pandemic doesn’t see race, religion, age or socioeconomic background. So the question is why is there so much silence, when so many voices are trying to be heard?
The core of the silence is from what is known as intersectionality, which is the concept that the multiple parts of our identities intersect and the different combinations of these identities create specific oppressions and shape what our individual life experience in society look like. So, although violence against women is equally dangerous and horrendous, the acknowledgement and response certainly is not. When you take into consideration other parts of that women’s identity such as her race, religious background, and sexual orientation you realize that not all women are experiencing violence under the same conditions.
The common response of, just get help or call the police is not an easy task or even an option for everyone. When you’re minority or lower income woman your identity influences your access to these services, and your ability to trust the law enforcement or other resources in the community and seeking help is not taken lightly. When you’re are woman seeking help your sexual orientation and gender identity can also require compromising your privacy and safety and puts you at risk of being denied access to medical treatment. If you are a woman and undocumented help is accompanied with the risk of endangering one’s legal status, not everyone is privileged to the same resources and help.
So to those millions of voices seeking to be heard the YWCA hears you, to those faces that feel unseen or forgotten the YWCA see’s you. The YWCA’s Week Without Violence is a call to action, challenging the world to make sure that the safety of all women and girls is made a priority.