According to the International Women’s Day (IWD) website (yeah, days have websites now), “IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.” Its origins are a bit murky (see this article describing attempts to tie it to an apocryphal March 8, 1857 protest by female garment workers), but in many countries it is a longstanding national holiday. -And in fact, demonstrations in St. Petersburg on International Women’s Day 1917 sparked the February revolution. (Back then, February was in March.)
This year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day is: “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls.” I think we can all get behind that. (Despite what some of our commenters think of our views about rape, Amanda and I are both adamantly anti-sexual violence. Bold stance, I know, but we’re nothing if not mavericks.)
MSF seized the opportunity for a tie-in with their new report on sexual violence “Shattered Lives.” The report, forwarded by one of our extremely awesome readers, highlights the importance of immediate medical care for victims of sexual violence, and generally does a bang-up job of emphasizing that rape is rape whether it happens in wartime or peacetime, whether the perpetrator is a rebel combatant or a high school teacher, and whether the victim is male or female.
So, happy International Women’s Day 2009 to you all, and let’s hope we’ll be seeing more of this sort of intelligent advocacy on the issue of sexual violence. (Maybe don’t hold your breath, though…)