Last year, myself and a colleague of mine took our students to a “Billion women rising” march at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Hundreds of women were walking around with notes pinned to their shirts that read, “I was raped” or “I was a victim of sexual violence.” My students heard these brave women speak, one after another, about their personal, painful, and traumatic experiences they endured.
Besides sexual violence, their stories were similar in a very disturbing way. The vast majority never received justice through our courts. This is not a reflection of Santa Fe; it’s a reflection of the nation and the world. Many times the perpetrator is a friend or relative or even a spouse. More often than not society blames the victim: “Well, look how she was dressed,” or “Why did you leave with them?” (As in the case on Oct. 24 this year).
I do not know what it’s like to live as a woman. I don’t know what it’s like to always have to be aware of my surroundings while walking to my car in a large parking lot. I don’t know what it’s like to meet a nice guy but have to constantly be on guard. I do, however, know that the solution to the problem is with us men.
I am frustrated that the recent “alleged” kidnapping investigation with the state police is not moving forward. The Oct. 29 Journal North article did not reflect the statement that I overheard. She did not smell of alcohol, and in her statement she said that she was drugged. The statement by police, that they hope to talk to her when she “sobers up” is insensitive but aligns with the many stories told at the Roundhouse by victims last year.
My intention is not to indict the police but to shed light on an injustice or injustices that are scientifically proven through statistics every day; women who are second-class citizens and perpetrators are not arrested or convicted in most cases.
Another fact, as reported in the New York Times, states, sexual violence against women increases dramatically in every area the oil industry drills in. These women are our mothers, sisters, and daughters. It is incumbent on the men of San Miguel to insure their safety.