There is a worldwide femicide going on against girls, where girls are being killed just for being girls, but the violence is a symptom of how our world views women and girls. In order to stop the violence, we must make significant lasting change about how we see girls.
Writing about ten and twelve year old girls being brutally killed and threatened is not only heartbreaking, but it’s also horrifying. Until it stops, it is necessary. But, believe me, I would rather read and write about how girls are progressing in school or about some of the amazing things they are doing.
Following are the names of four girls. Two are dead, one is in a hospital, and the other’s life has been threatened.
Autumn Pasquale- Just the other day, 12 year old Autumn was lured by a teenage boy into his house under the guise of getting parts for her bicycle and then, with his older brother, killed her.
Jessica Ridegeway- She was a ten year old murdered and dismembered by an older teenager who recently came forward to admit he did it.
Malala Yousafzai is the 15 year old Pakistani girl who blogged and spoke out about how the Taliban has closed down schools and continues to keep girls from getting education. They shot her about two weeks ago. Luckily she was airlifted to a hospital in Britain, the bullet removed from her head, and she is recovering.
Hina Khan is a girl, believed to be 16 years old, whose house was graffitied with a red X, which she says is from the Taliban warning about her speaking out for girls’ education. She has also received death threats like Malala.
These girls are only a few examples of how violence is affecting us all, especially girls and women. Lives of girls aren’t valued. Women’s lives aren’t valued. Girls and women are so objectified by the media, by the laws passed restricting rights, and by messages given by politicians and churches about girls’ and women’s bodies and lives. When girls and women are objectified, we are seen as NOT human and violence against us goes up.
If we want to save our girls and women, we must begin to de-objectify them. We must see girls and women as people.
Of course we do that, you say. But do we? Girls are paraded around like dolls for TV reality shows, they are given messages on all extremes: they should show off their bodies because they are only valued for them, they should cover themselves up, they should save themselves until they’re married, they should have sex, they should be thin, fat is ugly, they are not as smart as boys,… the list goes on.
We must teach girls to value themselves. We must value girls. We must value women. Women need to be able to make decisions for their own bodies. Women need to be paid equally to men. Women need to be able to have childcare options. Women need to be able to have healthcare and access to it.
Girls need to see that they are valued. They need to see the women they will grow into are valued. Girls being hurt and threatened is a symptom of the larger problem. If we want to save our girls, save our women, we must value them.
For these girls and all girls and women who have been victims of violence, let’s change this system that puts girls and women at risk!