So I've been feeling so frustrated because it's been 2.5 weeks and one of the guys still hasn't gotten back to me (See my previous essay on "Patriarchy found me"). He seems to be blatantly ignoring me as a human being and considering that he has committed a crime and that this is a grave situation, it makes you wonder why he would want to actively avoid even acknowledging what he did or just owning up to his wrongdoing. I just heard a speech by the former Prime Minister of Australia - Julia Gillard - who gave a 15-minute speech on misogyny and sexism to the members of the Australian parliament in which she publicly shamed a member (leader) of the opposition party for his years of misogynistic and discriminatory actions and speeches and remarks where he belittled and demeaned her on the basis of her gender. You can sense the frustration and the tautness in her voice, but her strength shows through. She mentioned that her opposition member only recently acknowledged his role in his misogynistic and discriminatory treatment towards her, but only after a newspaper article went out and disclosed his conduct; it was only after this that he "took cover" and outwardly tried to come around to her side because "it was politically expedient for him." (See Prime Minister's speech in October 2002. Similarly, in this perpetrator's case, he has demonstrated a double standard in his treatment of women -- he states on his website that "he organizes women's conferences and gives keynote speeches to women" (ZamyGo), but has been reckless of his treatment towards me. On a brighter note, Kickstarter which sponsors the above's work, emailed me today and let me know that it decided to take action against him for his crime, which includes blocking financial payments, reprehending him or removing his start-up altogether. Although this is a minor development in the grand scheme of things, I was a bit relieved to hear that Kickstarter had taken some steps to rectify this situation, even though this wasn't the outcome I was anticipating. Yet, at the end of the day, why do some guys NOT want to take responsibility or demonstrate accountability for their actions, especially when they have harmed women or put their lives at risk.
In the international affairs arena, there are mechanisms to make member states who have dictatorial regimes , such as North Korea or Iran or South Africa (the apartheid system) accountable for their egregious human rights violations. There is such a thing as transitional justice (it consists of judicial and non-judicial measures such as criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programs, and institutional reforms to redress legacies of human rights abuses) or UN body mechanisms such as the UN Convention against Torture, the UN Convention for Human Rights and other Conventions that exist to sanction, reprehend and hold the governing bodies up to certain standards, rules of law and governing frameworks so that the "bad actors" in the international system don't go amok.
I believe such a similar system or guiding principles should exist to hold perpetrators, abusers and misogynists accountable so that they don't just get away with their wrong actions and leave the women reeling with the consequences of their actions. How about a system of shaming where women can appropriate simple hashtags such as the #MeToo Movement to express their situations and to establish immediate rapport with their female allies? How about an app that allows women to sign onto their respective mobile devices and register (anonymously) their stories -- to the extent that they are comfortable in a victim-centered way -- so that they can receive the appropriate emotional support or referrals to crucial resources in their areas or be paired up with appropriate counsellors or helplines? How about a website or a community group of support where women can safety share their stories and lived experiences according to their intersectional identities so that women feel nurtured, heard and seen? These simple avenues or outlets would mean a life and death difference for some women.
It is extremely difficult to experience gender-based violence - to be a survivor -- and have your perpetrator ignore or neglect your story or experience as if it didn't happen. While this can be disempowering and frustrating, I believe that the above support steps I mentioned might help in mitigating the effects of trauma and victimization that is pervasive in gender-based violence situations. If you have any questions about gender-based violence or are a victim or survivor of violence against women , please contact the 24- hour hotlines for either the Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) at (718.460.3800) or Womankind at (888.888.7702 ) - these resources are especially helpful for those residing in the NYC area. . In this difficult season of the epidemic, let us take steps to make sure every woman -- our sisters, friends, mothers, in-laws, and neighbors -- is held safe and well.