Can there be redemption when unspeakable atrocities and deadly legislation against women continue with impunity? It's hard to fathom sometimes. Between the horrifying kidnapping of the Nigerian students and the uptick in the War on Women here in the United States (How many women's health clinics have been shut down now? How many rapes go unreported, mocked, or ignored?), it looks like we're caught in gridlock at the intersection of Regression and Hostility.
Redemption has to be earned. Redemption takes effort, empathy, and education. And more.
And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
The kidnapping of girls happens to be in the news right now because of Boko Haram's abduction of Nigerian schoolchildren. Yet there are multiple horror stories reflecting how women live around the globe. ("Boko Haram chose its victims for a reason -- to stop progress," Opinion, May 12)
Women are forced to wed to settle a feud, are victims of "honor killings" in some societies, face sexual assault on U.S. college campuses and in the military, are routinely denied opportunities for education, have more difficulty being paid as much as men and are the victims of restrictions on reproductive healthcare.
It is commendable that now we have female presidents, lawmakers and chief executives of major corporations, but for the great majority of women around the world, it is a constant battle for basic rights — just to be alive, to get an education, keep a good job, obtain decent pay and make our own reproductive choices.
We have the tendency to overlook some of these issues because they are part of an ethnic or religious culture. Let's instead demand the freedom to live, to have reproductive care and to have access to education and jobs. None of us is free until all of us are.
Much, much more depends on girls than the world realizes or often cares to admit. The tragedy of the Nigerian female students kidnapped by Boko Haram should make it obvious that nothing less than the redemption — and dare I say, salvation — of "mankind" is linked to how we treat the female gender.
Indeed, bring back our girls. Let them learn. Let them lead. For it is quite apparent that two of the greatest perceived threats to the terrorist mind-set are the educated girl and the liberated woman.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Leymah Gbowee's piece on the courage and heroism of Africa's women — as they worked, not fought, for rights, including the return of more than 300 young women kidnapped by Boko Haram — contrasts with an ongoing cowardice that is displayed by men around the world. ("The heroic women of Nigeria are standing up to Boko Haram," Opinion, May 13)
All women are beset by men's sexism, and America is no different, with men sexually assaulting and raping women on and off school campuses. The world's major religions play a very supportive (and cowardly) role by claiming some creator as a male and refusing women their rights as equal human beings, simply because men can physically overpower them.
It's all so cowardly.