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Breaking the Silence on America's Third War

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President Barack Obama was elected to the White House to put an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they have endlessly maimed and killed countless Americans overseas. The dirty little secret, however, is that the United States has been engaged in a much longer and much bloodier conflict right here at home -- a war aimed at its women -- to which the outrage is abysmal. Running through the terms of many presidents, this is a war that has devastated lives and livelihoods for decades, tearing at the very moral fiber we seek to strengthen as a nation. It is yet another conflict we have failed to devise a true "exit strategy." While such a phrase is foolishly devoid of the human cost of inaction, it may be our only hope to ending America's Third War.

According to the most recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner related physical assaults and rapes each year. That's more than 13,000 attacks per day, and nearly 550 attacks per hour. As a result of such egregious violence, roughly 1200 women are murdered every year by their current spouse, former spouse, or dating partner -- that's three women, murdered, every single day. Adding to the horror, every couple of minutes, a woman is forcibly raped in this country. If you find yourself outraged, you ought to be. This is a national emergency. Each and every day, America's women are being sexually violated, attacked, and killed. It is time to end America's War on Women.

On September 11th 2001, nearly 3,000 people were murdered in an act of terrorism, upon which America went to war. Since that time, nearly 10,000 women were murdered by their intimate partners -- more than three times the number of lives lost on 9/11. Where is the outrage? With the U.S. still spending a combined $3B per week in Iraq and Afghanistan, in terms of allocating proportionate resources to address the killing of innocent Americans, we should be spending more than $9B per week on ending violence against women right here at home. Of course, that is simply not the case. But again, where is the outrage? The moral sponge of this country has been soaking in misogyny for far too long, and thus, while scathing statistics elicit temporary anger, tackling violence against women has turned into a mere talking point -- so much so that arguments of liberating women were even used to generate support for 'staying the course' in Iraq and 'changing the mission' in Afghanistan. It's time for America to liberate its own women from misogynistic structures that are, at best, indifferent to the plight of women, and at worst, complicit in their suffering. We cannot afford either of those extremes, for even the best case is no cause for celebration.

On November 25th, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is a time for both reflection, and for action. If the United States is truly interested in protecting innocent Americans from being killed, a national discussion about the nation's treatment toward its women should be a top priority for the country moving forward. The Third War has steadily bled the healthy moral organs underpinning America's being. It is time to call the surgeons, rather than reach for a band-aid. How many more women must be abused, violated, and murdered before the American public becomes relentless in their pursuit for justice?

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