Calling himself a well-traveled former-POTUS, Jimmy Carter confessed that if there’s one thing he has learn from his experience around the world, it is that the abuse of women and girls is the biggest human rights issue. In this TED Talk he delivered, he shares a series of revelations and a lifetime of his observations of the phenomenon:
1 . Misinterpretation of religion:
Jimmy Carter has been a Baptist for 70 years, and still teaches Sunday School. Thus, in his prolonged stint, he had access to unlimited insider information on religious figureheads trying to make the laws of the land. The male heads at Synagogues, Churches, Mosques, who are in the position of power and complete control of the scriptures, often propagate warped construal of it to project women as inferior. “They interpret these rules to make sure that women are ordinarily relegated to a secondary position compared to men in the eyes of God.”
2. The excessive resort to violence:
Referring to the human tendency to assert power and dominance through violence, Carter pointed out the types of abuse that kept him up at night. Genital Mutilation in countries like Egypt where almost 91 percent of the little girls are forced into it, or honor killings of girls and women who are raped, may marry outside their caste or religion (which again ties in with misinterpretation of religious scriptures), or for something as trivial as wearing inappropriate clothing. “This is a horrible affliction on all women that live in such countries,” he said.
3. Prevalence of Human trafficking and flesh trade:
Human trafficking for flesh trade and slavery are yet to be checked and curbed, and latest statistics indicate that there are 30 million people still living in slavery – and 80 percent of those are women, who have been trafficked for sexual slavery. “If a brothel owner wants to buy a girl that has brown or black skin, they can do it for 1,000 dollars. A white-skinned girl brings several times more than that,” he informed gasping crowds.
4. No Place is Safe from Rape:
Not the Military, definitely not your school or college. According to his research, 26000 rapes have been perpetrated the “protectors of the country”, but only roughly 1 percent are held for it. The commanding officers of the offenders are in charge of reporting these crimes, and “the last thing they want is for anybody to know that under their command, sexual assaults are taking place, so they do not do it,” he sighed. And in universities, 1 in 4 girls are sexually assaulted before they graduate. 89 universities have been condemned by their Department of Education, because “the officials of the universities are not taking care of the women to protect them from sexual assault.”
5. Equal Pay for Equal Work Still Distant:
Reiterating the now debated “women earn 23 percent lesser than men as full-time employees” statistic. “So we’ve made some progress, partially because I was president and so forth” he joked, but he expressed his disdain over how there has been no progress made in the last 15 years. Most Fortune 500 companies are still led by an alpha-male, and only 23 CEOs are women - who, make lesser on an average than their male peers.
He concluded with an observation that might change the course of the movement- “In general, men don’t give a damn. The average man that might say, I’m against the abuse of women and girls quietly accepts the privileged position that we occupy.” Calling upon the other half of the population that has been silent all this while, his speech was to make them realize that this is a humanitarian issue, and must irk the entire race.
Image credit: TED Blogs