On July 2, 1928, English women over 21 years old received the right to vote. In 1837, Oberlin College became the first United States college to admit women. On September 26, 2017, Saudi Arabian women were allowed to receive their driver’s license for the first time.
Our society once denied the vast majority of women basic human rights. Women could not vote, attend school or own property. These inequalities were conquered through the combined efforts of determined women and men. The past proves that it is only by working together that progress can be achieved.
After suffragettes spent years pushing for their rights, David Lloyd George and men of the British Parliament passed the policy allowing women to vote. Oberlin College was founded by Charles Grandison and John Shipherd. The King of Saudi Arabia lifted the ban denying women to drive, after long and intense protests. These events prove that when God’s children unite for positive purposes, positive changes can be achieved.
We, at Scroll, are proud of the progress made for global gender equality but believe that we must take strides to tackle an existing inequality concerning the universally declared human right of security of person.
In spite of strides taken to honor all human rights, inequality between men and women still exists, especially with sexual assault cases. According to RAINN, the nation’s largest organization against sexual violence, teenage girls between 16 to 19 years old are four times more likely than the rest of the public to be victims of rape and sexual assault.
Another statistic, brought by the United Nations, says that 71% of all human trafficking victims are female.
Spreading awareness of this inequality is crucial to overcoming it.
One way the United Nations has done this is by declaring Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
According to the World Health Organization, “The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”
The global goal concerning sex trafficking and sexual assault isn’t to bring the balance to 50/50 boys and girls. The goal is to eradicate it completely, creating an equally safe world for all.
Helaman 14:30 says, “ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.”
We are meant to be free. Human trafficking and sexual assault deny people the greatest gift God has granted us: our agency.
We can do our part in celebrating International Day of the Girl Child by gaining knowledge and spreading awareness on these issues. As awareness is spread, the number of people capable of noticing signs of abuse and trafficking victims will grow. This could potentially decrease the number of assault and trafficking incidents. Together we could prosecute the culprits and help young girls and women be cautious in avoiding dangerous situations.
Many organizations strive to spread awareness. The following websites are good resources: polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognize-signs and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ page on abuse, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/get-help/abuse.
Reaching out to victims of such cases is another way to promote equality. When we lift others, we create a safer world.
Operation Underground Railroad is another great source to become involved in helping victims of sex trafficking. In the past five years, they helped rescue 2,800 victims and arrested 1,500 traffickers. On their page, you can sign up for training courses to, “Know the signs. Break the chain. End human trafficking.” You can sign up to volunteer with and donate to their cause as well.
Men and women working together can create an equally safe world for all. As the number of sexual assaults and human trafficking cases diminishes, we have hope that one day we will be listed as a people who overcame an inequality.