March on Trump-haters, but remember girls mutilated at home
CAROLINE OVERINGTON below has some restrained comments about the butchered genitals of *Australian* Muslim girls. I would add: "What about Clemmie?" Alleged feminist Clementine Ford wrote recently and angrily about the rude way some young Australian men at a car rally spoke to some of the women present.
Where is her sense of values? There is no record of any women being hurt by men at the Summernats but there is ample record of what some Australian Muslim families do to their daughters. If rude car-freaks burn up Clemmie, female genital mutilation should set her on fire. But there is no record of that. No rage at all.
It is quite clear that Clemmie, like most so-called feminists, doesn't care about women at all. All that drives her is her hate of her fellow Australians -- in the best Leftist tradition. She is a towering hypocrite and a nasty piece of goods. She should be proud that even while in a drunken mob, young Australian men did women no harm. Her misdirected anger defiles Australian society. Does someone have to perform a clitoridectomy on her to get her attention to it? I think it would take that much.
Now, I’m a feminist, obviously. I believe in equal rights for women: to work, to vote, to drive, to travel. But the Women’s Marches around the nation this weekend has me worried.
The Women’s Marches have been organised so Australian women can “show solidarity” with American women as Donald Trump becomes president.
The organisers hate him, obviously. He’s the pussy-grabber. The misogynist-in-chief. The group behind the Women’s March has a Facebook page that promotes Meryl Streep’s speech at the Oscars,; and the hashtag LoveTrumpsHate. And that’s fine. Trump was democratically elected but nobody has to like him, and protests against government are an important part of democracy too. So, march away.
But where, I wonder, is the thousand-strong march, the loud protests, the hashtags and the Twitter campaign for women and girls suffering the vilest forms of misogyny right here at home?
Last week the Australian pediatric surveillance unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in western Sydney released a report on female genital mutilation in this country. It found 59 brutalised girls. But here’s the line you don’t want to miss: the study’s author, Elizabeth Elliott, said “most of the procedures on the girls were performed overseas”.
The key word in that sentence is “most”. Most of girls had been cut overseas. But some were Australian-born. Meaning they had definitely been cut here. It’s very likely that some of the others had been cut here, too, after they arrived. Of the 59 — according to the report, that’s a gross underestimation of the actual numbers — only 13 were referred to child protection services. Why only 13?
These were girls whose parents — usually their mothers — had taken them to have them cut. What will happen to them next? Will they be shoved into an arranged marriage with a much older man to whom they already may be related? Because that, too, is happening.
Last October, a young Iraqi girl, Bee al-Darraj, told The Australian that she knew several girls from her former Islamic school who had been sent to Iraq to be married, while still underage. Nothing was done. She knew one girl who gave birth while underage in a public hospital in Sydney with her 28-year-old husband standing by. Nothing was done. She knew girls in Year 9 who were married and had 30-year-old husbands picking them up from school. Nothing was done. (To be clear, there’s no suggestion the school knew, for to know and not report would be a gross breach of mandatory reporting obligations. What we’re talking about here is child rape.)
Last week, we had a prominent cleric, imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, charged with conducting a child marriage between a girl under the age of 16, and a man aged 30.
This is real, and it is happening here, and it is right now. Dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of girls are suffering vile abuse, but it’s like screaming in an abyss. Where is the march? Where is the hashtag?
Genital cutting is not as fancy a topic as Hollywood pay for women, obviously, but it’s a creeping tragedy that threatens the freedom of all Australian women. A freedom our grandfathers and great-uncles died for. A freedom the feisty Australian suffragettes of yesteryear, with their dry wit and their long skirts and their button-up boots, once marched for.
I get that there’s cultural sensitivity. People don’t want to be accused of racism or bigotry. They don’t want to discriminate. But what about the discrimination against girls going on right now in Australian schools? Don’t believe it? Cast your eye over this, the official uniform list for the al-Faisal College in Sydney’s west (see below).
What jumps out? Only the girls, from age five, have to wear long sleeves, even in summer.
Only the girls have to wear skirts to the floor (ankle-length) summer and winter. The hijab, or head covering, also is compulsory for girls, from age five. It is compulsory even for sport. The boys scamper about in short sleeves.
A friend of a friend who is a teacher at the school recently sent out some pictures of children at the school receiving certificates at an assembly.
The boys are relaxed and grinning. The girls are swathed in so much fabric you can see only their faces. You support this, with your taxes.
It’s blatant discrimination. It tells girls that there is something sinful about them, something that will drive men to distraction, something they need to keep covered while out in the world.
The sight of your wrists, or ankle, or forearm is offensive and wrong.
Now, Australian women are smart, and most of them are very used to carrying more than one bucket at a time. Meaning: they know that you can adore pretty clothes and still want equal pay.
Likewise, you can be outraged by female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, and lousy school uniform codes, and Donald Trump. But which is more important? Macho bragging about pussy-grabbing in a trailer on the set of The Apprentice? Or acts of extreme violence against girls — and the rights of girls — here and now?
Yes, it’s possible to carry more than one bucket, so, if you’re marching this weekend, good on you, that’s your right — but maybe also carry a placard for your Australian sisters, suffering vile misogyny as we speak.
They’re hidden from view but they deserve attention, too.