As we embark on Domestic Violence Awareness month, PBS has begun to air a new documentary series based on the book by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” This documentary brings to light the growing problem of violence against women world wide. Their message is extremely powerful and very important. In the United States, a lot of individuals hide within their bubbles about what goes on in the world and even in their own communities. Unfortunately, violence against women and children are not solely perpetrated in the far corners of the globe among poverty-stricken nations. It occurs everywhere, even in the United States, even among the affluent. According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. and 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced domestic violence within their lifetime, on average more than 3 women and 1 man are killed by their intimate partner each day, 1 in 7 men have experience domestic violence within their lifetime, and 1 in 5 teens have experience intimate partner violence. Theses statistics support the argument that women in particular are under-valued in society. Documentaries such as, “Half the Sky” bring these important issues to the forefront. For many people, they may feel that there is little that they can do. That is not so. What can you do? Educate, Take notice, Take action, Offer support. These are small steps in the right direction.
Making people aware of such important social issues is the first step towards positive social change. Be part of this step. After watching the first installment of the series, I immediately added it to my curriculum for my college students. I encourage everyone to watch this PBS special and read the book.
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