March is Women's History Month: It's time to rally | Amy Johnson

Because March is Women’s History Month, it seems a good time to reflect on the places in our world today where young girls are regularly kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery for sex — where human sex trafficking flourishes.

I consider the places in our world today where women are routinely raped to bring dishonor on another family member, or to ensure the right to marry the raped woman. I think about the places in our world today where the honorable thing to do when raped is for a woman to kill herself. And I’m appalled there are places in our world today where women still consistently die from childbirth.

While we may be horrified at these tribulations and thank the good Lord that they aren’t routine in Federal Way, we are still a long way from justice.

There are women right here in Federal Way who have proclaimed to me that the reason domestic violence and sexual assault exist is because it is human nature, the world is evil, and of course, Eve brought a curse on all women. To me, these reasons ring of rationalization for keeping women in their proverbial place. They show signs of turning the other way instead of turning the other cheek.

This month, as we honor women’s history and gains women have made in our country, I believe we also have an obligation to continue to rally around women in our own backyards and across the world.

The AIDS epidemic in developing countries seems a bit closer to home when we know that one in four teens in our country has a sexually transmitted infection.

Comprehensive sexuality education seems more essential when we realize Federal Way School District ranks fifth out of 20 districts in King County for having the most teen pregnancies. From the outside, it looks for all the world like our community members are more supportive of teen parenthood than the distribution of condoms to our youth.

Repression comes in many forms, and it takes many people and many practices to keep it in place.  What will it take for us to realize that true freedom means allowing access to enough information for our children to make informed decisions and choices — and to trust them to do so? What will it take for us to stop arguing with each other and come together to provide access to services that benefit everyone? We joyfully support people across the world overthrowing dictators, and we admonish governments that shut down the Internet and limit access to media.

Yet, right here in Federal Way, we’re in danger of sending the same message to our youth if we fight to keep information and services from them. This does them, and us, a disservice — just as it does for anyone to keep information, services and freedom from sexual violence from our sisters across the globe.

This March, whether your passion is international or local, remember that women are half our world, and worth fighting for.

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