This morning, I read this disturbing piece by Nick Kristof, detailing some of the problems women face worldwide. Sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking--horrifying situations almost too tragic to imagine, and yet lived out in reality by hundreds of thousands of women and girls worldwide.
One Billion Rising estimates that one out of three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
As an American with a fair amount of privilege, I've noticed that we tend to think of those problems as being "out there"--someone else's problem. Things that happen somewhere "else". But what are we doing here?
Congress failed to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that extends protection to victims of rape and sexual assault.
An international version of that same act also failed.
Finally, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, directed at combating the ever-serious issue of human trafficking, was allowed to expire in 2011.
This is inexcusable.
I am too angry, too heartsick, and too hurt to do nothing--so will you join me in doing something?
My goal is to send every single member of the Senate a handcrafted set of chains or handcuffs, symbolizing the bondage that real women experience every day as a result of abuse or trafficking. These items will each be accompanied by a letter asking that Senator to renew these three pieces of legislation and make a difference for women everywhere.
HOW TO HELP:
1. E-mail me at newportcreativeco(at)gmail.com. I'll send you the name and mailing address of a Senator, along with a sample letter that you can use or adapt as you see fit to include with your chains or cuffs. If you're a US citizen, include your home state & I'll try to match you with one of your senators!
2. Craft a set of handcuffs or chains. Knit them, crochet them, draw them, paint them--whatever speaks to you creatively! Not very crafty? Make an old-school paper chain like you did in kindergarten.
Knitters: You can find a free pattern for handcuffs here.
Crocheters: You can find a free pattern for handcuffs here.
3. Mail your handiwork and your letter to your assigned Senator no later than February 14th.
Throughout the project, I'll be posting occasional updates on our progress here, so watch this space!
I also encourage everyone to consider helping victims of abuse & violence in other ways throughout 2013 as well. Volunteer at your local women's shelter. Donate to organizations that fight trafficking. Support women's co-ops by buying their products. Pray, love, give light.
As the saying goes, we don't protest just to change the world,
we also do it to keep the world from changing us!