Recent attacks should draw more attention to violence against women

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | 11:27 a.m. CST; updated 6:38 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

I would like to draw attention to an event that only received a few paragraphs of attention from your publication but deserves much more.

Kendra Yoder, a graduate student at MU, was in a fight for her life less than a week ago. She was attacked by a man outside an open business in broad daylight and had the skills and the luck to escape. The article you printed did not mention how he threatened to kill her if she didn’t go with him.

A woman in the sociology and women and gender studies field, Kendra is a social worker and coordinator of the MSA/GPC Rape Education Office. She has helped at the Women’s Shelter and works to address issues of social justice. Her victory in this situation should not be rewarded with a dismissal of her experience, which could easily have been tragic.

At least two other women have been attacked in Columbia this month. These incidences of violence against women cannot be dismissed, nor attributed to individual acts of crime. Violence against women is a reality that is too often overlooked or downplayed, and if any good can come from Kendra’s ordeal, it would be that we are forced to look at the magnitude and origin of this problem, even in our cozy little town of Columbia.

If you doubt the severity of this issue, click here for reliable sources of the statistics and know that many women do not report the crimes against them because they are perpetrated by loved ones or acquaintances or because prosecution against these attackers is rarely successful or sufficient.

In an educated society, the dismissal of this and similar acts of violence against women is appalling. As unpleasant as these news stories may be, ignoring them only gives permission for more to occur. This problem is real, and so is the harm it causes on the 50 percent of our population we call women.

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