Let me give you pervs out there a second to wipe off the excited sweat before I proceed.
Calmed down? Ok.
As if my workload and commitments are not enough already, I went and got myself activated over a new obesession last weekend- Women.
Please stop grinning lecherously. I promise I will burst that bubble of yours very soon.
Whilst mulling over what dramatic onslaught to present to my long-suffering boyfriend with on that gloriously commercialized joke called Valentine's Day, it suddenly struck me that not every woman out there would be plotting and planning like I was, because not every woman out there had a boyfriend worthy of plotting about. Given that I anyway have a thing for ball busting, I'd been doing some recent reading on the issues of domestic violence in the country and was pretty horrified to learn that an estimated 60% of the country's females are victims of violence in their homes. I say 'estimated' because there is no national survey conducted yet to assess the real numbers. All they have to go by is the number of reports logged in to the police and charity organisations. So it's safe to say that the ACTUAL number is probably far higher.
60%. SIXTY percent. That's 3 out of every 5 women. Logically, that means it could very well be your own wife, mother,sister,daughter or aunt. Or more than just one of them.
You don't have to be female to be shocked by that statistic. You just have to be human.
What was worse still was finding out that in most cases of domestic violence, all that's done about it is diddly squat. Either the victim is too afraid of the consequences of speaking out or her family is too ashamed to air their dirty laundry. More often than not, reports to the police (those champions of justice and paragons of virtue who do fuck-all for the betterment of society) result in the cops asking the woman what she's done to piss hubby off, and then advice her to go home and sort it out. After that, nobody cares anymore and life goes on. It only creates a minor buzz when her body is found chopped to pieces in a village well, and that too only if anyone feels like they need to alert the media.
Apparently, the most the authorites have done towards punishing a perpetrator of domestic violence is fined him a pittance and 'tsk'ed at his naughtiness.
Needless to say, I was incensed. I may not have had acid thrown at me, but I know what a slap on my face from someone who claims to love me feels like. I know how it all starts with a few derogatory remarks and then propels into full-blown physical acts. I also know how no matter how many people advice a perpetrator or how many apologies he makes, he's going to go back to being the same sorry bastard he always was.
And now I'd found out that 3 out of 5 women in my country are going through the worst kind of hell imaginable at the hands of such insects. I wanted to go out there and crush every testicle in the land into a fine dust and then feed it to the fishes (I would, too, except I don't think the fish are interested). I have always thought of myself as not belonging to this pathetic race called humans, with their apathetic attitudes and selfish ways. I had to do something... anything. But what? If only I had some help in the matter.
And then it struck me. I would get help. I could put out the statistic to everyone I knew and gather up some like-minded souls, and then together we could possibly make a noise loud enough to get the lazy-ass retards in government to put some goddamn justice system into place.
Valentine's plans were speedily forgotten. The boyfriend would understand. I rocked to and fro like a maddened monkey trying to figure out how to get people interested until it hit me... of course... Valentine's Day! What better day on which to shock the public into realizing that, as they traipse about like blithering romantic fools buying roses and gifts, there are women out there who will receive bleeding noses and black eyes instead. Those were THEIR 'gifts of love' from their husbands. If enough people realized this, then maybe enough people would give a shit and speak up about it.
Highly excited about the fact that I coincidentally happened to work in an industry where it's all about communication to the world, I spoke to my superiors about my idea. Could we do some work on this and get it out to the world? Could we make people care? Could we make a difference in the status quo?
My boss thought we could. We gathered arms immediately and put together a cracking team to work out the nittygritties. We contacted an organisation that works in women's welfare and got them excited too. They came on board and gave us the support we needed to put the plan to work. We contacted venues that could host our message and danced in glee when they offered to do it for free. Then we rolled up our sleeves and tried to help women. I spent days and nights living, breathing, shitting and dreaming of any research I could get my hands on. Even though I had a few bumps on the road with certain people exploiting the cause to their advantage, others at office were nothing less than inspiring, with their positivity and kick-ass attitude. People like LD, who weren't involved at the beginning, jumped on board voluntarily and helped with whatever support and advice they could. That in itself was awesome.
Three days afterwards, on the morning of Valentine's Day, we launched. Displays went up in major malls in the city, showcasing the kind of 'gifts' 60% of Sri lankan women receive - knives, acid, iron chains, hammers, poles, etc. We handed out brochures on action that responsible civilians should take when witnessing domestic violence. We directed people to a facebook site that we'd set up with the objective of educating and inspiring more people to speak out against the issue. I stalked out some of the venues that day and nearly pee-ed with thrill when people starting taking notice of the displays and reading the brochures.
That was three days ago. Today, I've got over 300 followers on the FB page. And counting.
This morning, a friend's nephew called me. He wanted to tell me that his dad sometimes beats his mom and he always thought that was ok, because it's all he knew. After reading our brochure and educating himself on the FB page, last night during a particularly violent argument he'd called the police, his extended family, and then stood up to his dad. Although the police never came and his father wasn't taken away and punished, he had nevertheless backed off and for the first time had apologized to his mother. It was a start. The boy now wants to get more involved and be an endorser of the cause in his school.
I have to tell you.... hearing that felt... and still feels... fucking good.
Please do join the page and help us out. Follow 'His gift of love' on FB, or log on to www.facebook.com/hisgiftoflovethisvalentines
I don't have to be the only one bothered about this. You're a blogger... can YOU take it up too?