Human Nature or Human Sacrifice

To: Rwanda Association of University Women from Eve Ensler: I Am Over Rape

We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine – once and for all – what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need you to let our rage and our compassion connect us together so we can change the paradigm of global rape.

  Today it begins, moving toward 14 February 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.”

This powerful piece, I’ve excerpted only a few lines from it, came over my desk just after I returned from a sublime Hawaii vacation.  I  applaud the social movement. Read the rest of it. It is a reminder and a necessary call too action.

A question is posed:.

“ You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?


Men, she is asking,  where is your outrage, your compassion and your protection ? Unfortunately , we  know many of the answers to the questions the writer poses. Much of it has to do with how scapegoating works, the way human sacrifice evolves.. Sometimes it is inconvenient knowledge and may sap the energy from fervent pleas for action which are so needed. Knowledge of human process does not justify human cruelty of this kind but in the long I think knowledge is a friend of action that truly changes our behaviour not its adversary.

Hawaii was instructive. The super bowl that I watched there was instructive. Scapegoating of women in that theatre piece is so dramatic, so ubiquitous,  and so accepted—by men and women. And we, the human species, love it. Men love woman kicking up their heals at   super bowl heroism. They love it enough to accept the high cost of brain damage later in life.   Women love it too and they go along accepting  well paid well publicized roles and unknowingly mentor younger less talented women to take up careers  which denigrate their beauty and bodies.

“Killjoy.”  I can almost hear the voices as this is read and some of them are in my head.

As I’ve said many times in this blog and elsewhere women are the scapegoats of human history. Rape is one way but there are so many others. The social media makes the most dramatic occurrences—like what happened in India on a bus a few weeks ago—famous for a while and in our world society fame may bring social change. And there usually is   some positive change though often temporary and not as much as one would think given the hype.

Social justice is one thing. Understanding and therefore changing how scapegoating works in another.  In Hawaii there were football games on the beach the morning before the game. Men roughhoused and their girl friends, mothers and grandmothers were delighted with the violent drama and egged them on. There was competition for who was the queen of the game. Woman became more and more provocative; Men more aggressive and possessive. Too much beer helped the incipient scapegoating process build.

Then the game began and people rushed from the beaches for more of the same.

When I watch these scenes I want someone to intervene, calm the waters, explain the potential outcomes. Three years ago I witnessed a funeral of 2 young men who died in free diving “accidents ” near where I was staying. They were accidents, breakdowns in safety procedures in the last fatal dive,  except that these guys were not diving on their own. They were part of a group  process and yes they were the scapegoat heroes.: there were records to break and admirers to preen for and money to be had. These athletes went for all that and they went to far. They died, and were well mourned. The ceremony was profound and people spoke and parents wept and the partying went on well into the night. Human nature or human sacrifice?  Killjoy?


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