Privacy is a privilege. It is rarely enjoyed by women or transgender men and women, queer people or people of color. When you are an Other, you are always in danger of having your body or some other intimate part of yourself exposed in one way or another. A stranger reaches out and touches a pregnant woman’s belly. A man walking down the street offers an opinion on a woman’s appearance or implores her to smile. A group of teenagers driving by as a person of color walks on a sidewalk shout racial slurs, interrupting their quiet.
For most people, privacy is little more than an illusion, one we create so we can feel less vulnerable as we move through the world, so we can believe some parts of ourselves are sacred and free from uninvited scrutiny. The further away you are from living as a white, heterosexual, middle-class man, the less privacy you enjoy – the more likely your illusions of privacy will be shattered when you least expect it.
From left: Elaine Congress, Regina Sarabia, Mariam Elrazaz and Dolly Sacristan
Let’s get some facts straight about rape, sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
According to Fordham professor Dolly Sacristan, studies show that in the United States, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of intimate partner assault every year. Eighty-five percent of the victims are women and 20 to 24-year-old school-aged women are at the highest risk of non-fatal sexual assault.
These issues are compounded by the fact that an estimated 95% of sexual assaults aren’t reported for numerous reasons: fear of revictimization, a sense of hopelessness in the face of unwarranted skepticism and lack of any meaningful change and countless other reasons.
The Delhi rape case gave gender-based violence in India an international profile. It is an issue that activists are still desperately trying to find solutions to. But with increased dialogue and community-building comes the opportunity for change.
WATCH Meena Virayann’s powerful TED Talk about her personal story of pain, perseverance, and ultimately, hope.