After reading Half the Sky, I think women in America have a lot to be thankful for regarding the level of protection we are afforded under the law regarding domestic and sexual violence. Yes, there are a lot of challenges that we still have to overcome regarding the idea of equal protection under the law, but when I think of the stories I read in Half the Sky, I realize just how good we have it when compared to other parts of the world.
At the same time, I can’t help but wonder about the real reasons we don’t see the high numbers of sex trafficking and rape of young girls and teenagers like we see in other places. Is it really our security in the police? I just don’t believe that is the case. Could it be our overtly sexually driven culture that is reflected through TV programs and advertisements that provides an alternative in playing out sexual fantasies regardless of how vulgar they may be? Is it the ease of surfing the Internet to participate in the cyber-sex world? Have these outlets to some degree minimized the risk of sexual assault in America or have they exacerbated the problem? An even more interesting question is how do our statistics of when girls in America lose their virginity compare to statistics of girls in other developing countries who have lost their virginity? Will we find similarities in those numbers? Are girls consensually having sex in similar numbers to girls who are being forced? What does that mean in the great scheme of things?
I didn’t think this was my research interest at all, but due to the book’s impact on me personally coupled with the article I posted earlier (http://thegrio.com/2013/02/07/south-africa-outraged-at-gang-rape-of-teenager/), I really see a paper developing out of my passion and concerns for the protection of women.
In terms of policy, I don’t really have much experience in the area of gender policy or any type of policy for that matter. I will definitely be spending a lot of time educating myself and playing catch up and I know the journey will be worth it.