On the war against women Are we headed back to the Dark Ages?

by George Gold
posted Sept. 26

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has reported that in the United States, 45 percent of sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance, and an additional 25 percent by a current or former intimate partner. That means that in 70% of all cases, the rapist is known to the victim.

photo by George Gold
Women at a protest for reproductive rights in Chico.

In a major 2009 European Commission study of rape cases across Europe, it was found that 67% of rapists were known to the victim. To the best of my knowledge, these horrific numbers haven’t really changed in the last 25 years.

When we hear about Afghanistan orders that prohibit women from going to school, orders that decree women must wear a burka and be completely covered when they leave the house and must be accompanied by a man, is the United States far behind?

Women are being denied the right to control their own bodies, and even being prohibited against travel to another locale to seek medical care. These prohibitions are being implanted by the very same people who proclaim that they do not have to wear a mask to help control a pandemic because it’s their “right” to control their own bodies and their environment.

It’s a matter of freedom of choice, yes? So these people claim those rights and freedoms, but they’re happy to deny the very same simple right of freedom to access health care to others.

photo by Leslie Layton
A 2019 protest in Chico for reproductive rights.

These same men who lead these controlling efforts would have heart failure if access to Viagra and condoms became as difficult as it is to obtain an abortion. And soon additional methods of birth control will be added to these denials of freedoms. Are we headed to the Dark Ages where even birth control, a major medical advancement, is unavailable to women and families?

In a country that is always touting progress, what’s happening in America today is a step backward. The path we are on, led by ideologues, is devoid of the medical advancements that have taken decades to develop. These medical advancements have made our lives better and provided, of all things, more personal freedom, for women and men.

Abortions may be outlawed whether local or for travel to another locale. Will other medical conditions or procedures be outlawed? Birth control was once hailed as the savior of overpopulation, and soon, in the most technologically-advanced society, we will not allow simple and safe medical procedures. What’s next, bans against heart and kidney transplants?

Not only is abortion being outlawed, increasingly there are no exceptions for those pregnancies that are the result of rape. The very idea is sickening.

What is most troubling, is that these ideas are being propagated not by just one fanatic, but by entire governmental legislatures. America spent decades sharing birth control technology with so-called Third World countries only to turn itself into an increasingly repressive Third World country.

Equality, freedom of choice? Why don’t the sexuality deniers and anti-abortionists make vasectomies, condoms, and Viagra meet the same legal standard as abortion?

The Dark Ages are behind us, aren’t they? We no longer cut off someone’s hand because they stole a loaf of bread, right? We have enough violence to be weary of in today’s world; let’s not go back to those primitive and violent times and punish women for seeking medical attention.

Book banning is also a hallmark of repressive and authoritarian regimes. In 1933, a series of massive bonfires in Nazi Germany burned thousands of books written by Jews, Communists and others. Included were the works of John Dos Passos, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Vladimir Lenin, Jack London, Thomas Mann, Karl Marx, Erich Maria Remarque, Upton Sinclair and Leon Trotsky.

From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) reports that America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles. These are books like Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Banning books and criminalizing women who want to obtain normal medical procedures are steps backward. This is not democracy, this is the path to authoritarianism, and it’s being voted in by legislatures across these United States of America.

During the 1980s, contributing writer George Gold lectured in colleges and high schools on rape in Santa Cruz County and was appointed by the mayor of Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz City Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women.

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