On Sept. 21, the World Champion Spanish women’s soccer team defeated the always tenacious contingent from Sweden, 3-2.

          La Roja had boycotted the sport, outraged that Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales had grabbed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso’s head and kissed her full on the lips during their World Cup victory celebration. Rubiales’ resignation (finally) and the firing of an unpopular coach mollified the champs and they have hit the pitch again.

          Prior to the match, players from both squads met behind a banner that proclaimed “Se Acabó” (“It’s Over”), with an English subhead: “Our fight is the global fight.”

          The drama in Spain might be over. Alexis Putellas, one of the four Spanish captains, declared a “turning point for soccer.” 

          But that global fight for women’s rights and right to respectable treatment seems to be losing ground.

          Last month Iran observed the first anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hand of its immoral Morality Police.  Her offense was not wearing her hijab properly.

          The Monday prior to the Spain/Sweden match, Sierra Jamison of Chicago was strangled to death by her boyfriend. A month earlier, Huffington Post reported, she had spoken out about violence against Black women.

          Later that month, Icelandic newspaper Visir reported that a man – not identified – was “sentenced to eight months in prison for violence against four women. He had another five crimes to add to his “criminal record that dates back to 2012.”

          Two months per assault. What a deterrent: “When determining the punishment, it was taken into account that the man confessed to his crimes clearly, but he was aggravated by the fact that these were repeated and unprovoked violent crimes.”

          You might have thought the attack happened in America.

          NBC News reported at the first of September of one Christopher Pelkey of Maine who served little jail time after, “One woman accused him of beating her so badly that her pelvic bone was broken, leaving her disabled. Another said he choked her until she couldn’t breathe.”

          “Now Pelkey is headed back to court,” according to Tim Stelloh, “accused by another woman who said he choked her, assaulted her son and threatened to kill them both with a hammer, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC News. “

          The Iranian parliament marked  the anniversary of Amini’s murder by passing even stricter penalties for women caught without their hijabs – up to ten years in prison (if they survive their interrogarion).

          Since the hijab is only worn by women, it can be weaponized two ways. A Tennessee woman, being booked for an outstanding minor traffic warrant was told that she would be jailed indefinitely unless she removed her headscarf for her mug shot.

          And, last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a Kansas restaurant over an incident from 2021 when an assistant manager partially ripped a hijab from an employee’s head after badgering her repeatedly to let him see her hair.

          The French have raised apparel discrimination to the next level. Just before school started this fall, its 2004 ban on wearing the hijab in schools was extended to the abaya, the “loose-fitting, full-length robe worn by some Muslim women as a sign of their modesty,” according to Farid Hafez of Turkiye’s Anadolu Ajansi news service.

          She reports, “Since the new school year started, videos have spread across the globe showing how security personnel are checking every single female student’s clothes. Videos are posted on social media that show young ladies taking off their wide clothes, deemed abayas, following the disciplining of the police.”

          Maybe not Immorality Police, but sliding down that slippery slope.

          Hafez congratulated France for becoming “a member of the club of other authoritarian regimes, such as Afghanistan and Iran, that dictate to women what they ought to wear and what they are not allowed to wear.”

          Of course, women and girls in Afghanistan are forbidden from gaining any form of education, living the most restricted lives of women anywhere.

          But, the perils persist everywhere. Rape has been a weapon of war forever, with reports constantly emerging from Ukraine, the Chinese suppression of the Uyghurs and the chaotic civil wars in Africa – where entire classes of schoolgirls have been kidnapped as sex slaves,

          And, more stable societies are just as susceptible to such outrages as the two women from an Indian Christian community whp were paraded naked through town in May by men from a Hindu tribe before being raped in a field, as reported by Al Jazeera.

          The island holiday haven of Mallorca witnessed two gang-rape incidents in July and August. In the first, six German tourists were charged with raping a German tourist. In the second, five young Frenchman and a Swiss tourist are charged with raping an 18-year-old British woman.

          Closer to home, three firefighters were charged with a gang rape in Albuquerque last month. This victim was the sister of one of their colleagues.

          Then, there were the five Palestinian women stripped naked in their family home by Israeli troops in July, according to Ramzy Baroud of Common Dreams, getting his information from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which reported, “‘masked female soldiers’ threatened a mother with a dog and forced her to strip completely naked in front of her children.

          “The degrading treatment was repeated against four other women, as they were forced to move, naked, from room to room. Other soldiers, meanwhile, were busy stealing the family’s jewelry, according to the report.”

          The Lancaster University Management School reported last month of the “extent of sustained exploitation within many Chinese families that have a clear preference for sons over daughters—and why daughters can stay ‘trapped’ in this situation throughout their lives.”

          This exploitation is taking place in Britain, not China, where traditionalists raise daughters who “are expected to make substantial financial or labor contributions to their parents before and after marriage—often to subsidize the schooling and living expenses of their brothers.”

          Of course, America has many religions that also teach their daughters that they are second-class human beings, some even restricting their schooling.

          And the justice system, legal and social, often reinforces that status.

          An Oklahoma coach resigned this summer after objections were raised about his past misconduct with a 15-year-old girl. The incident happened more than 20 years ago. He pled no contest to the charges, and received a two-year ban from teaching.

          His teaching license was never revoked. He taught in Oklahoma schools in the interim. I guess he was fortunate not to be telling students how to find books Ryan Walters finds educational.

          Oklahoma Sooner fans also got to deal with the distraction of former Baylor coach Art Briles joining an on-field celebration after a victory in Norman. Briles was wearing an official-looking OU knit shirt.

          At Baylor, Briles’ football players received a virtual carte blanche to sexually assault any women on campus. When the school-wide cover-up was exposed, Briles and some administrators were fired.

          Briles tried to blame his assistants for the lawlessness, saying they were the ones closest to the players. Awkward, I guess, since one of those assistants was his son-in-law, Jeff Lebby, now the OU offensive coordinator and the reason Briles was at the game.

          At last look, none of the assistants – the ones Briles had thrown under the team bus – had yet missed a season of coaching.

          Last year Carme Vinyoles of Barcelona’s El Punt Avui condensed what daily news reports continue to verify:

          “We are witnessing a global rollback of women’s rights. Rights that we thought were guaranteed are threatened by the advancement of extreme right-wing movements, parties and governments that confront social change and the values that drive feminist struggles….The lives and safety of women and girls are at risk at home, in public and leisure spaces, at work, in the educational environment.”

          There are so many examples of men mistreating women that a late September story out of Pennsylvania should surprise no one.

          A married Pennsylvania state trooper won an argument with an ex-girlfriend by using his position of authority (and alleging doctoring evidence) to get her committed to a psychiatric ward for five days.

          Football fans Tuesday were treated to repeated replays of Cincinnati Bengal Joe Mixon making a nifty touchdown run.

          This is the same Joe Mixon who was charged with aggravated menacing of a woman on Feb. 2 only to have the charges dismissed early the next day, enabling him to score a touchdown in the Bengals’ playoff win over Buffalo. Charges were refilled April 7.

          Yep, the same Joe Mixon who hit a woman in a Norman bar, knocking her out and breaking bones in her face – and who was charged with a misdemeanor and had to sit out his freshman year of Sooner football. Tough, tough love.

          Also from the NFL’s third week, pop goddess Taylor Swift caused a commotion by attending the game featuring her current beau, Kansas City footballer Travis Kelce.

          One of the morning shows ran a clip of some paunchy-as-I old guy observing that Travis had made a lot of big catches in his day, but none bigger than this….Because, because, because – women are evidently objects to be “caught” and not subjects with equal value to men.

          Yes, getting a misogynistic soccer official sidelined is a victory. But, the prospects of global (or American) progress on the treatment of women seems bleak.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Far from over for many women

Post navigation