Sometimes we just don’t know how good we have it

Peter has a warning about When women are property, not human beings that is a reminder that we need to be careful about our presumptions.

I constantly struggle to explain to my lady friends in America that the freedom to be themselves, that they take for granted here, simply doesn’t exist in many other parts of the world. They find it hard to believe me, even when I show them newspaper articles of forced marriages in the Islamic world, women being sold to prospective husbands for a ‘bride price’ in many tribal cultures in Africa, and – here in America as much as anywhere else – the horrible phenomenon of men murdering their wives and children rather than accept a divorce, on the grounds that ‘if I can’t have them, no-one else will’.

Friends, for those of you with daughters who are still growing up, please don’t keep them in ignorance of these realities. Many young American girls are naive to the point of insanity! They really think they can go anywhere, do anything, and no-one can or will stop them or hurt them. You might want to point out the example of Natalee Holloway . . . and she’s not alone. Girls are killed like that each and every year in popular student holiday spots. It continues to happen, because the girls are never warned by their parents, and they never learn.

The plea is one of the generic class of trying to advise teenagers how to stay alive and healthy but it also illustrates just how difficult it is, even for adults, to see that the world is not like the home.

There is often an assignment of guilt that does not have a fully realistic world view. The status of women is just one issue. Slavery is another. Terrorism also falls prey to this limited vision. It is difficult to even debate these issues when some of the participants in the debate just cannot understand how the world at large is a different place than their own living room.

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