Opinion

SOUNDOFF: Imagine living without fear

Saturday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. As our nation continues to put priority on issues of homeland security and terrorism, let us take time to reflect on the struggles that women, people of color, elderly people, people living with disabilities, and children continue to face in our community, our country and across the world.

Thousands of people continue to live in fear within their own homes, facing daily acts of terror at the hands of abusive partners. Elderly people and children continue to be ignored as a resource. Access to family planning services and adequate sex education continue to be limited to those who need them most. And issues of oppression and marginalization continue to plague an enormous number of our world’s population.

As resources and funding from our government are funneled toward other priorities, we must remember that the struggles faced by women and many others are the concern of all people -- a community is only as healthy as its weakest member. It will be up to each community to identify the concerns of women and other oppressed groups as a primary reflection of its overall health.

As a woman I am both honored that there is a day to celebrate all of the strides made on behalf of women over the years and saddened that there continues to need to be a day that calls for equity amongst the sexes. Facing all of us is the challenge to not just strive for equal rights for women, but to challenge ourselves to work toward a society where all people have equal access to safety and freedom.

Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues, challenges us to imagine a world without violence against women. I repeat that challenge to my community and add -- imagine a world where no one, man or woman, adult or child, gay or straight, abled or differently abled is able to walk without fear both physically and spiritually, achieving their highest potential as a vital part of our world.

Take just a moment to inform yourself about the state of women across the country, the world, and most importantly, in your own community. Explore the tough issues -- access to family planning, abortion, domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and access to equal education. Challenge yourself to contribute to a change in consciousness -- a change that will eventually take us beyond equal rights to a state of being that is without fear for all people. Imagine.

Erika Sanders lives in Oak Harbor.

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