Student Blogger - #13Amend Live Blog: Slavery Against Women
What does "involuntary servitude" mean for women? Professor Martha Nussbaum explained the prevalence of sexual exploitation of women and girls. There is the case of Josef Fritzl and the acceptance of rape within marriage in Afghanistan (and differential treatment of marital rape within this country). Battered woman syndrome leaves the victim too afraid to leave. In India, the "restitution of conjugal rights" is permitted, where a runaway wife is forcibly returned to the home. Sex trafficking is becoming more common, especially across Eastern Europe. When something happens to men, it is often labeled "slavery," but not when the same act is inflicted upon women. Human rights standards until recently did not include sex-specific abuses such as rape and sexual torture, for example. The categories of genocide do not include violence directed toward women as women. When violence is political, we properly recognize that it is systemic, but violence against women is often seen as isolated acts of pathological individuals. Nussbaum quoted Catherine MacKinnon about mass acts of violence against women: "If it's happening, it's not so bad, and if it's really bad, it isn't happening." All of these acts ought to be seen as "involuntary servitude."