A Little Respect

Dear Sam, Well thought-out words, and how true your points are! I certainly identify with your argument. Respect should be colour and gender blind; everyone deserves respect and a measure of dignity, for even the Creator dignified and endowed us all with His marvelous and amazing qualities and attributes, like love, wisdom and justice.

Sadly, domestic violence and abuses are disturbingly common and are worldwide epidemics, crossing cultural, economic, and social groups. Zahra, 15- years old, quoted in the magazine GEO, French edition, painfully admitted: “When I see how women are treated, I really don’t want to become one.” Such admission reveals a grim reality—worldwide, violence, abuses and discrimination affect girls and women throughout their lives. Consider this excerpt from the Awake! Magazine. It reveals the odds against women.

• Gender discrimination. In Asia, most parents prefer boys to girls. A 2011 UN report estimates that in that part of the world, nearly 134 million women are missing from the population as a result of abortion, infanticide, and neglect.
• Education. Worldwide, women and girls make up two thirds of those who had less than four years of schooling.
• Sexual harassment. Over 2.6 billion women live in countries where marital rape is still not considered a crime.
• Health. In developing countries, about every two minutes, a woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth complications as a result of the lack of basic medical care.
• Property rights. Although women cultivate more than half the world’s crops, in many countries they have no legal right to own property or inherit land.

Since many incidents go unreported, no doubt the situation is worse than statistics reveal. Sadly, like you admitted, women erroneously believe that they are to blame and they are ashamed to admit that they are being abused.

Just recently, a friend of my wife was both physically and sexually assaulted by a guy who broke into her room early in the morning. Leaving her with a swollen face, cuts and bruises all over her body as a result of hours of struggling with the rapist, my wife and I, as well as other well-meaning friends, called for police investigation and prosecution of the case, but she and her family objected. It was obvious they were afraid of the publicity this would create and the seeming stigmatization she would eventually have to contend with.

Finally, although a person might have grown up in a violent atmosphere and become violent himself/herself, they are not to be excused from their behaviour.

Left at the Lights

English was not my first language. It’s true that I was born in Marston Green but I don’t recall leaving the house much as a small child so there was probably no use for it. Any memories I have or what I understand to be memories are spoken in another language, the Mirpuri dialect my mother spoke. But as soon as I started nursery the memories very suddenly change and I remember giggling at my white reception class teacher for employing two Punjabi phrases every teacher needs when dealing with little ones; “line bunaow” make a line, and “chup kar” be silent. There were a large number of us without English as our first language but personally, my grasp of English has never held me back.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way words translate cross language and how so much of what we mean when we say a word…

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