Whispered in Wind, Written in Sand

 

Every single week we hear of another massacre-by-dad. In this horrible case in Orlando, Florida on 4 August, a father killed his wife and three daughters, the youngest aged 7, before killing himself. But this is only the most recent! Dads have been slaugthering their entire families at the rate of about one a week in the US (and it's happening in other countries, as well). Sometimes these male-relative-on female killings or attempted killings presage a mass shooting. The Uvalde gunman shot his grandmother in the face before attacking the school. There is such a huge link between hatred of women and mass shooting that researchers have begun taking a look: "more than two-thirds (68.2%) of mass shootings in the U.S. involve shooters who either killed family or intimate partners prior to the mass shooting or had another history of domestic violence, according to a 2021 study by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence."

People talk about gun control, but no one talks about how it is men who need greater control. If we made it illegal/impossible for a man to own a gun, any gun, gun violence would virtually disappear in this country overnight. It's not a gun problem; it's a man problem.

But going even deeper than this, the problem also concerns how male violence against women is completely unremarkabble. It's the ocean we swim in. And the ocean is getting deeper, as porn trains men to think violence against women is downright erotic. One commentator put it this way:

"Misogyny falls into [the] space where you can dismiss it out of hand because itís so baked into our countryís fabric, the way we treat mothers and parents, the way we provide no support for childcare, the way we donít pay teachers enough. All of these things are rooted in the belief that women and their contributions are not worth as much. I think that plays into why people can just get away with quite literally murder when it comes to attitudes towards women.Ē

And not just murder. You can get away with nearly every form of violence against women. Over 98% of rapists will never see the inside of a jail in the UK, for example. Governments have had to pass anti-strangulation laws that prohibit a "rough sex" defense when a woman is choked to death during sex.

I'm a big fan of the work of Andrea Dworkin--I view her as a troubled individual, but also as an outright prophetess. Consider her words from 1983 (emphasis mine):

"The accounts of rape, wife beating, forced childbearing, medical butchering, sex-motivated murder, forced prostitution, physical mutilation, sadistic psychological abuse, and the other common≠ places of female experience that are excavated from the past or given by contemporary survivors should leave the heart seared, the mind in anguish, the conscience in upheaval. But they do not. No matter how often these stories are told, with whatever clarity or eloquence, bitterness or sorrow, they might as well have been whispered in wind or written in sand: they disappear, as if they were nothing. The tellers and the stories are ignored or ridiculed, threatened back into silence or destroyed, and the experience of female suffering is buried in cultural invisibility and contempt. Because womenís testimony is not and cannot be validated by the witness of men who have experienced the same events and given them the same value, the very reality of abuse sustained by women, despite its overwhelming pervasiveness and constancy, is negated. It is negated in the transactions of everyday life, and it is negated in the history books, left out, and it is negated by those who claim to care about suffering but are blind to this suffering."

Amen.

I thought about this all again today when I read The Atlantic's devastating critique of the family separation policy under the Trump administration concerning illegal migrants. As I read about nursing infants and toddlers being torn from their mothers' arms, as I learned that there are still over 1000 children who have not yet been reunited with their families because no one thought to even make a spreadsheet of what children were going where in the country, when I hear all of this was done on purpose by men, I pray that God is a God of justice for women.