A Piercing Protest

Not that a United Nations holiday has ever relieved any epidemic global problems, but let's join in celebrating the upcoming International Day of No Violence Against Women (NVAW) on November 25 anyhow. After all, little else is being done to deter the spiriting-away of young girls between night-life hotspots of international trafficking or even throw the breaks on the rate of one rape per two minutes in the United States.

International Day of NVAW...perhaps its laborious name is what keeps Women's safety day relegated to obscurity. If non-violence against women were a popular cause, what would the Hallmark card look like?

Perhaps Leif Lindell, the Swede who designed the FemDefence, is the lady to ask. FemDefence is a 63 mm tampon that retracts to 46 mm when pressure is placed, revealing a bobby-pin. Yow...scary but sleek! The imaginary device is meant to serve as a creative, covert counter-attack to rape.

Whereas boobs were once the sole domain of negligees and the knowing jokes of men (and boys), now businesswomen wear pink breast cancer-awareness jewelry to work and run national marathons to raise money for research. The deterrence of gender violence has yet to overcome the shades of guilt it perversely lends its victims and the binding cultural ties that claim oppression is essential to tradition. While Eve Ensler has revolutionized V-Day, no clarion has yet rallied sympathy for victims of female genital mutilation, for instance.

Most social movements begin on the fringe, their advocates experimenting for years with the right vocabulary to present the case to a larger public. Unfortunately genitals are unlikely to ever conform to a marketable image; the travesties of East-Asian imps stolen as chattel for perverse pleasures need the rule of law for solace, but who is there to hold a banner of protest for these girls, and what on earth would it say? But somewhere between Ms. and Bitch, Feminists are struggling to make a cause for equitable treatment palatable even in America, a virtual haven for women's rights.

November 25-December 20 are 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.