Friday, February 10, 2012

The War for Our Future

I'm so angry about the war on women. The debates consume my thoughts and nothing seems more important than talking and thinking about women, and the reality we live in. I feel the need to share with other women how I'm feeling because I know we all feel attacked. This is so much more than a policy or law or debate or decision. This is our lives, this is our future, this is the future of our children.

I feel compelled to share my reflection with you below. I've never written an email like this but no other expression seems enough. I've always known these statistics but somehow they've collided in my mind into a clear picture. That picture being: we have a lot of work to do.

1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted by a man in herlifetime.
1 in 4 women will be beaten by a man.
1 in 6 women will be stalked by a man.
4 out of 5 women will be impregnated by a man.
38% of mothers are single mothers.

In 2007 over $34 Billion in child support was owed,overwhelmingly to single mothers.
1 in 4 women will be sexually harassed in the workplace,overwhelmingly by men.
Women on average earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makesin the same job.
Each year, less than 1% of women in the US will have anabortion
62% of women who are of child-bearing age are currentlyusing a contraceptive method.
The average woman in the US wants about 2 children. To achieve this goal women must use a contraceptive method for more than 3 decades.
The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn'toffer paid leave to new mothers.
100% of women will be affected by the decisions of men inpower.

To men so loudly saying that women should not have access tobirth control: I understand your desire to comply with your religious doctrine. I too try to live a life of faith and struggle when my beliefs are challenged. But I’m wondering how these views might change if you were subject to thereality of women in America. Thestatistics above are just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the laws andreligious doctrines written overwhelmingly by men don’t seem to hold up to the realitywomen live in everyday. Can you understand why we may want to preventpregnancy? Can you understand that we feel threatened by the possibility ofrape? Can you understand why we worry about bringing a child into the worldwhen many men don’t provide support for their children and we are forced intosingle motherhood and are paid less to care for more? Do you really think womenare born with dreams of having an abortion?

I’ve heard from many of you, your solution: don’t have sex. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it leaves me with more questions. What about men? Why aren’t we telling you not to have sex? Why aren’t we telling you that you shouldn’t’ have access to condoms? Why aren’t we calling you a slut when you have premarital sex or a one night stand? Why do you bear no responsibility for any of this? If you feel strongly that women should not have access to birth control or family planning methods then are you willing to only have sex when you are trying to conceive a child? If you conceive a child will you care for the child financially and emotionally? Not all men abuse women. Not all men seek to oppress women. But no man will feelthe responsibility of carrying a child and bringing it into the world.

Katie Kraft
Membership Director

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