Unfinished business for the world’s women

This Women’s History month, is a time to celebrate the tremendous progress women across the world have made. But still, many members of my gender have ways to go to correct their brutish behavior towards women. I am in particular thinking of rapists that never seem to die.

As we celebrate the liberation of western women, let’s be mindful of the dire straits millions of women and girls around the world live — in fear from their male torturers. Filled with hate, cruelty and testosterone, men roam the streets or hide, in wait for their victims. Others lead troops to promised virgins — reward for their bloody deeds. Rape is used by armies of men to exact revenge on their enemies.

I have been thinking of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack of Israel accompanied by rape, mutilation and murder of Jewish women. There’s something very base and evil about a strong, powerful man subduing and abusing a frail, defenseless woman. Many groups of warring men take rape of their enemies’ women as the hill they had to storm.

In Iraq and Syria ISIS fighters claimed that the Quran gave them the right to rape non-believers. They systematically raped Christian Yazidi girls and women as part of their organization’s radical Muslim theology. Added to the systematic rape was the revival of slavery as an institution. Yazidi girls were traded a dozen or more times.

It’s been alleged that Israeli soldiers, prison guards, policemen have abused Palestinian women in their prisons for decades, notwithstanding Israel portraying itself as ethical and democratic society. British imperialists claimed to be guardians of universal democratic governance and jurisprudence. Our experience in Kenya was, white men flying the Union Jack proved the British lie. In Kenya’s concentration camps during the Mau Mau war of independence, British soldiers raped Kikuyu women in indescribable and painful ways, using broken bottles and hot, boiled eggs in women’s vaginas and rectums. Clearly claims of ones culture’s superiority do not correspond to their brutish behavior.

The masculine heart is full of secret, mysterious, ugly propulsions and desires. Clergymen’s pedophilia negates the veracity of sermons and professed belief; dastardly acts that resemble those of Afghan soldiers and generals whose penchant for boys was a point of bitter contestation with the American Army.

Perhaps humanity would best serve women if wars were outlawed — my absurd wish. The rape of women in Ukraine by Russian soldiers wouldn’t have occurred if Putin hadn’t invaded Ukraine. Serbian soldiers systematically raped Bosnian Muslim women in 1992. Many victims continue to suffer mental anguish.

In every group of the human race women bear the brunt of man’s sexual depravity, manifested in his malignant reptilian behavior. We see this in Myanmar, Darfur, Ethiopia, India, the Congo. In most of these places, the egregious behavior of gangs of armed men make one wonder if they have a human soul in them. Something in men’s biochemistry seeks weakness; it desires to dominate and destroy. It is as if testosterone, the male sex hormone, is in peak production in mobs or other aggressive groups.

Eve Ensler wrote the “Vagina Monologues” and has been a dauntless activist against sexual abuse in Congo and elsewhere around the world. In 1998 she started her V-Day which continues to raise funds to protect girls and women from violence. More of us need to join her and “do something.” Women cannot continue being passive objects for man to pick and pluck whenever he wants. The fight is both local and distant; sexual and mental; direct and juridical. By educating boys to respect their sisters, brothers and all mothers as they grow up, we effectively reduce the numbers of rapists.

Not all men are women’s enemies. Consequently, women might consider including eligible men into their networks of self-defense. Feminist movements across the world seem to have lost their old zeal. They need to regroup and aggressively fight against bullies and rapists.

Women’s History Month is a good time to consider what has been won and what more needs doing. The road for White women in the West has been full of hope and success. Less so for women of color — especially, Native American women. They have a great deal to overcome; great distances to travel. Women’s willingness and ability to return for those they left behind is truly admirable. The future should involve a greater engagement of all women’s groups; women’s progress is also the whole family’s and whole nations’ progress.


Pius Kamau, M.D., a retired general surgeon, is president of the Aurora-based Africa America Higher Education Partnerships (AAHEP); co-founder of the Africa Enterprise Group, and an activist for minority students’ STEM education. He is a National Public Radio commentator, a Huffington Post blogger, a past columnist for Denver dailies, and is featured on the podcast, “Never Again.”