What is happening to us women out there?
Apparently if you read the news these days, we’re being groped, molested, violated or sexually assaulted–day in, day out.
It’s true, the #MeToo movement has likely been covered on every possible news platform in the world, but guess what?
Women never seem able to scream that word loudly enough. Rape.
Except it’s not just a word, is it. Any rapist would be able to tell you that. If only they came forward more often–the rapists, of course.
In Asia, Korea’s Kim Eun-hee and Japan’s Shiro Ito have taken the fight to the ring.
Now more than ever, there is precedence set for women rising to claim their bodies back. And we’re gaining speed.
R-A-P-E, is a four letter word gone viral
Asian women getting raped: Breaking silence in South Korea
You think you’ve seen and heard it all. Until you read an account like Kim Eun-hee’s.
Just last week, she came forth to denounce years of sexual abuse and violence inflicted on her by her coach.
By forfeiting her rights to anonymity, the Korean tennis player is shaking the tree hard enough to send a wave of tumult into the country. Don’t mess with a raped woman’s call for justice.
Although sadly, justice should have happened for her when it all started, at just ten years old. Where she should have had a figure of strength, her coach exploited her innocence. Rape is not picky about age.
With her account of events, Kim Eun-hee’s gives perspective over how vulnerable young athletes are to their trainers. The violence and abuse can reach unimaginable levels. She shares, “The coach was the king of my world, dictating everything about my daily life from how to exercise to when to sleep and what to eat,” said Kim, adding that he beat her repeatedly as part of “training””. For years, she was convinced her coach was trying to kill her.
For a woman like Kim surviving her fears and living with such trauma, she’s done a great service to all women by coming forward. Her testimony and call-out has allowed for one less predator in the Korean sports arena: “I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to give him any chance to abuse little girls any more’.”
Her ex-coach was sentenced to a ten year prison sentence and everywhere in the world, women stood proud.
The land of the rising shame: Shiori Ito exposes rape in Japan
Not long before Kim’s account Japan saw its land rattled, and not by the usual earthquakes.
In 2017, Shiori Ito came forth to speak out on her account of sexual assault as well as its disturbing trend in Japan.
Instead of receiving due justice, the prosecution against her rapist and ex-boss was dropped just two months after investigations launched based on her report. Noriyuki Yamaguchi, the Washington bureau chief of the Tokyo Broadcasting System at the time, walked away scot-free.
There is something to note about a woman’s limits too far pushed. Something about a woman being scorned and the hell we can, and should raise. Breaking silence is no small feat, but Shiori made it a point to yell loud and clear: she was raped and the world was going to hear it. In a land where there are no clear laws around rape or consensual sex, Japan must now answer to Shiori and the myriad women suffering sexual violence, unnoticed.
Her interview with The New York Times had the ears of women in all corners of the world towards Japan. She shared, “I know if I didn’t talk about it, this horrible climate of sexual assault will never change,”. Thanks to her call-out and the publishing of her book to recount her experience, there’s kindled hope for some to set foot on the trail Shiori blazed: that of deafening uprise.
That’s rape culture for you: Asian women getting raped
At some point one should give some thought to the the origins of this heinous word.
The term has not only withstood the test of time, but also proliferated. Call it a lasting trend.
Rape, became practically immortal and so did the atrocity behind it. How and why was this ever possible?
It starts with objectification and sexualization of our bodies for one. In Kim’s case and for many of us, a lot earlier than fathomable. The mediums have always been consistent. Through media, unwitting bystanders, global sexism and and a whole lot of ignorance.
For us Asian women, the narrative around this objectification stems largely from the legacy of sexual imperialism: We are the “Geishas” or the “China dolls” or simply ” Exotic”. Cue for eye roll.
If that isn’t enough, women have had to deal with the burden of societal “quirks” and cultural norms which have been sadly, the fruit of perverted misogyny. In Asia especially, women suffer under the patriarchal aspects of society, forcing them to bend over. We see examples of this behaviour in Japan, in Korea but also well, the whole damn world. The result? The heading was a hint.
A post shared by Anna Loyds (@annyloyds) on“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai . . . . . . . . . . #opressed#rapeculture#intersectionalfeminism#feminism#feminist#women#womensrights#standtogether#loveislove#pride#equality#unity#support#female#womensmarch#veterans#abuseisabuse#noabuse#staystrong#neveragain#standtall#feminismhasnogender#strong#bestrong#standup#doublestandard
It is decades of societal conditioning that have chained us women to silence. Too many of us have been told to shut our mouths, eyes and ears. Too many have listened. Why? Because crying rape is apparently thrown in the same bucket as crying “wolf!”. Believing is us hard, if you go according to the age old laws of rape culture. We’re practically hard-wired to fear the rejection of those who don’t stand for us in the first place.
If you spoke up, you were either disregarded with force, victim shamed, or slut shamed. Some way or the other in the eyes of society, we had a part to play in another man’s intent to harm our bodies. We can’t have not wanted it. Rape, for as long as history remembers, has been trivialised if not normalised for us to suffer in silence under.
Breaking silence is one thing. Breaking free from self-blame and self hate imposed on to us requires the work of gods, and women united. And we are.
We demand to be heard. We will stoke the fire that others likes the Silence Breakers, Kim Eun-hee, Shiori Ito and others have courageously blazed for us.
History is shifting as we speak. We will win.