Odilia Rivera Santos
In Brazil, it has been reported that ten women die as a result of domestic violence everyday; Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently offered asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery; according to Iranian officials, she has confessed.
But could Lula consider asylum for those ten women per day?
Is there a place for those Brazilian women to go?
Sometimes, the task of looking at one's own culture is a lot more troubling than the examination of the other - a faraway other.
My country, Puerto Rico, also has its share of domestic violence along with light sentences for the perpetrators; my cousin was murdered by her husband and this was something that devastated the entire family but especially her young children.
Abuse has other branches besides that of physical violence - ones that are less tangible: controlling finances, verbal abuse, ageist remarks to make a woman feel less attractive as if all women aspired to make a living from their looks, calling unmarried women jamona or finding a way to denigrate her ideas.
Some of the most powerful women I have known have been brought down with the intangible everyday abuse of language.
Violence to the psyche, leaving the body unbruised. No police report to be filed.
No quantifiable visible damage. Psychic damage done with words, which erodes a woman's sense of self doesn't get a day in court.
Both violence with fists and violence with words serve one purpose - to silence a woman and remove her from the public sphere.
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