Tuesday, December 05, 2006

International Law, Women and the Feminist Perspective...

Until my Human Rights seminar tonight I had no idea there was such a misconception surrounding the issue of women's rights. So allow me to set the record straight. Before I do let me also add this, the following is not the ranting of an annoyed feminist, although I am both annoyed and a feminist, this is actually a widely accepted and I might add PROVEN and well DOCUMENTED FACT! Women do not have equal access nor representation under the law weather that be international or domestic law. International human rights law was written by men and primarily addresses concerns within the public sphere, while women's issues, such as domestic violence, happen with in the private sphere.

Ok, now that we have that cleared up let me now rant about the, some might say chauvinist, let us call him mis-guided soul that I heard share his opinion tonight. The discussion, as by now you have guessed was women and international law and the issue of equality. Let me set the stage for you a little, this is the seminar or discussion time that precedes our Int'l human rights law class. There are less than a dozen women in the class of over 40 students, in other words we are the minority by far. But back to the statement that had me speechless for a whole 30 seconds. The 'mis-guided soul' was making a counter "argument" to the point made by a fellow (female) classmate that women in Latin America were not treated equally under the law when bringing cases of rape against a man if they were thought not to be or were not actually virgins prior to the rape. The 'mis-guided soul' then made the statement that 'well women who bring evil against themselves by what they wear....' it was at this point that he was unable to finish his outlandish, ridiculous, chauvinistic and offensive statement because the room as a whole gasped while every woman in the room made an objection of disapproval. Disapproval hardly seems strong enough but you get the point.

It should go without saying, that to suggest a woman, or any person for that matter would invite any kind of violation of their body is absolutely absurd. As is the argument that her dress some how stands as an excuse or some kind of justification for the violation. One wonders if this mis-guided soul really is in pursuit of human rights or merely his interpretation of them. I hope my reasons for feeling not merely annoyed, but infuriated and offended have been made clear. For further documented evidence and feminist legal arguement within the context of international human rights law see my dissertation yet to be written but sure to be finished by September 2007.


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