My morning peruse of BBC news depresses me. In general, the reporting of only the most heinous and awful things that humans do to each other is wrong in my view. I respect the idea behind Russell Howard’s Good News in that, the good deeds and kind actions take precedence and you feel good watching it, rather than depressed. However, personally, Russell Howard is just far too annoying for that. But, watching the 10 o’clock news is enough to make even the holiest saint cynical. Someone has shot someone, for no reason, someone has raped someone, for fun, someone was raped 20 years ago and when they went to the police, that person was laughed at. I mean REALLY? IS EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET EVIL?

The answer is of course, no. But bad things happen, and always will happen. What’s more, bad things happen to everyone, of all shapes and sizes, all genders, all races, all sexual orientations, all ages. But what makes me really, really angry, is when the news reporter is reading out, like a roll call, all the horrible things that have happened in the past 24 hours, and the majority of them are carried out on women.

Are women destined to forever be the victims? Are we humanity’s punch bag? Do I, as a woman, have “weak” written all over my face? Now, this is not going to be a “all men are horrible” sort of article, since what upsets me more than anything else is the fact that too high of a proportion of the awful things happening to women and girls across the world, are done by women.

An arrest at Heathrow airport last week was made over intended FGM (female genital mutilation) on a young girl. The arrest was made to an elderly lady who was travelling with the young girl, both from Sierra Leon. In Cameroon, the culture of “breast ironing” is perpetrated by the elderly women and grandmothers. The premise is that when girls start developing breasts, they become sexually attractive to males and with all the hormones raging round their body, they become disrespectful and independent – neither of which a young girl should be in the elder-worshipping society of Cameroon. So, flat rocks are warmed on the fire, and girls have their breasts beaten until they are “flat”. In the case when, the breasts won’t flatten (i.e. most cases duhhh) the child must lie with burning hot stones on her breasts, and after the stone becomes attached to the breast, she must rip off the stone (and with it the skin of her breast). In one particularly appalling video on YouTube, it is an elderly grandmother who is the orchestrator and implementer of this awful deed – simply because she sent her 10-year-old granddaughter to buy some soap and she was gone too long.

In the West, females victimising other females is prevalent in a different way. The culture of judgement and bullying is strongest amongst women and girls. We aren’t supportive of one another, instead we’re bitchy and catty and we like to put other females down. It is jealousy perhaps, I don’t know. At high schools, I think most girls suffer the most from other girls their own age – it’s not the boys at all. They aren’t the ones labelling other girls “fat” or “ugly”. No, no that’s generally a girl-on-girl phenomenon. Why can’t girls be supportive and encouraging of other girls? I feel like I’ve read too many articles recently about female-on-female bullying in the workplace too and too much of it is about rivalry, jealousy and competition for male attention. I mean, really? Is this what it comes down to – putting a fellow woman down to get in with the male boss? Can we women afford to put other women down when we’re put down enough as it is…I don’t think so!

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