I did not have to spend time as a domestic and sexual violence advocate in a big city to be a witness to injustice. The rural setting was enough. I watched women fight to regain custody of their children when it was lost through no fault of their own. I was witness to women fighting to keep from getting fired because of a stalker. I held the hands of women reliving abuse so horrific that those battles replayed in their minds so often and vivid that they thought they were experiencing it again. I have been there while women of all shapes, sizes, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds struggle to use every coping skill under the sun to survive.
They went through the ringer with a less than perfect justice system. Judges and lawyers with limitations. Officers who cared, but did not have a prosecutor (for whatever reason) that was willing to help. Officers that did not want to be involved in a "family matter" or thought rape was a "lesson to be learned."
For many reasons, one being confidentiality, I won't go into the sordid details. Being a witness to this sort of thing does not just go away. It wasn't possible to take off the advocate hat once I had worn it.
This is why I am particularly bothered that, as we near the close of yet another Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I get to read about a male Catholic blogger who does not believe feminism serves a purpose. I won't link to the post. I am sure many of you have read it. When I post a response from another blogger to his post, I see my Facebook 'likes' go down, so I would venture to guess some of you agree with him. I can't write up a response better than Simcha or Destiny, so I will just politely say that women have not gained equality yet. I saw someone on Facebook talk at length about not needing feminism because God gives her all the equality she needs. What about other women? Being equal in the eyes of God has not stopped the porn industry from stripping every ounce of dignity from women. It has not stopped men from thinking being married means they have free reign over their wife as though she is property. It has not stopped women in other countries from being pariahs once they are brutally raped by a man who is not their husband. God-given equality, inherent dignity if you will, is powerful. It means we have even more of a duty to end rape culture and violence against women. It means we have a duty to protect our children from a culture that oversexualizes our girls and teaches our boys that power is all that matters.
It makes me very sad to see that there are Catholic voices not getting it.