I have been writing a blog for the last few months. It is a creative outlet for me and was rather intrigued to discover that today’s social media would enable me to make my voice heard internationally. With some encouragement I began to feel rather empowered by that process and frankly rather obsessed with how hashtags on twitter could direct my blog to the person, organization or region of the world that I want to address. The direction of my blog took an abrupt turn towards the issue of Rape after the death of the 23 year old woman in India. It wasn’t that I had been unaware prior to that news. It was just that I got sort of tired of seeing news of Kim Kardashain getting more media attention than the epidemic of rape. Most recently I posted a letter to the Prime Minister of India and a person in Mumbai asked if I had also written a letter to President Obama, addressing all of the problems that exist in the US. In fact, I realize I have not. So here goes:
Dear President Obama,
Congratulations on your re-election and Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. I am so proud of you.
I am writing to you today because I want to acknowledge that the United States is an imperfect country. We have a lot of issues to deal with, we have a gun control problem, mental health issues, uninsured people, unemployment and clearly we are not yet out of the danger zone economically. I’m pretty certain that most of the world feels that we set forth the 2008 global economic crises with our sub-prime lending and overall corporate greed. I’m inclined to agree with them. I should probably mention that I am also very concerned with poverty in our country. I’m concerned by the fact that the poor in our country are relatively voiceless and overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. I could also go on a complete tirade about Americentrism or American Exceptionalism, I’m there Mr. President. I am on that bandwagon. The truth however, is that I feel incredibly fortunate to live in the United States.
If my Dutch father had had his way my family would likely still be in Indonesia. And if the truth be known we probably would have been sitting pretty or maybe not. Members of my Dutch-Indonesian family could have been abducted during the Bersiap period never to be seen again. The truth of the matter is that it was the United States that offered my family refuge after my parents and two older brothers were forced out of Indonesia. It was the genuine kindness and generosity of people in rural Lawrence, Kansas that allowed my family to grow and thrive in an environment completely foreign to what they knew. The love and nurturing provided to my family allowed us to share a beautiful part of the American Dream. By Golly, my brothers and I “are” the American Dream.
Maybe it is because of our history that I feel a responsibility to women on the other side of the earth. I’m not implying that women have the perfect life in the States. I think that we are still fighting an uphill battle for equality and sexual abuse and rape are a prevalent issue. It’s just that I won the birthplace lottery and I can go to a movie, board what looks like a public bus with my male companion and be delivered home with relative certainty. If for some reason during that commute I end up lying on the side of the road bleeding with my intestines on the outside of my body because an iron rod was used as a tool of rape, I can be certain that some good Samaritan will stop to offer me aid. I want my sisters on the other side of the earth to have that same privilege. I have no doubt that it is attainable but I don’t believe it can happen without my voice and the voice of millions of others who want the same. I just can’t sit in the safety of my life and ignore the fact that my odds and those of my daughters are better because of luck and geography.
Thank you so much for your time, Mr. President. If you and Mrs. Obama have time, please have look at my blog and share your thoughts. http://ingridkeizerwilson.blogspot.com/.
Ingrid Keizer Wilson
If you would like to discuss human rights issues or the empowerment of women in your country, I will happily exchange email or call you at your convenience. Please email me at email@example.com.
As always if you are a victim of sexual abuse and need help or would like to learn more about preventing sexual abuse please visit http://www.rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources.