Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I’m as Mad as Hell

Credit: AFB
London Rising

On Valentine’s Day I took part in an event to draw attention to violence against women across the planet.

Network is a movie made in 1976 that features Peter Finch as Howard Beale, a deranged TV news anchorman. In a sublime moment of madness Beale speaks to the nation at large, clearly striking a cord. This is the wonderful “I’m as Mad as Hell”, rant;

We know things are bad — worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot — I don't want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. [shouting] You've got to say: 'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!'

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!...You've got to say, I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

Well, then, I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore. I was as mad as hell on Valentine’s Day, taking part in a One Billion Rising event in London’s Parliament Square. One Billion Rising, if you’ve not heard of it - and lots of people have not - was a world-wide day of action intended to draw attention to the problem of sexual violence towards women and children across the globe. The Billion in the title is intended to emphasise that one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, that’s approximately a billion human beings.

My first article of 2013 drew attention to the appalling rape case in India, where the victim was butchered as well as assaulted. Sexual violence is an issue I feel strongly about, an issue that is simply not taken seriously enough by so many politicians, lawyers and judges, evidenced by the asinine comments of an applicant for a senior legal position in Indonesia, something else I drew attention to on my personal Ana the Imp blog.

One Billion Rising, marked in 160 countries, was inspired by Eve Ensler, the American playwright responsible for The Vagina Monologues. I should say that the day had no particular political overtones, and it was not specifically for women; for sexual violence concerns us all, men and women alike. The inspiration for the day was Ensler’s outrage over the remark last year by Todd Aitkin, a politician of a particularly dense cast of mind (mind, what mind?) to the effect that some forms of rape could be defined as ‘legitimate.’

As I say, I was at the London gathering. So, too, I’m delighted to say, was Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for Harwich and North Essex, showing that campaigns of this kind are not simply the preserve of the political left. He later explained his position in a blog on the Huffington Post;

Why did I go? Violence against women affects men. These women are our mothers, sisters, partners, daughters. No man would dismiss this campaign whose life has been touched by violence against someone he loves. But I went because men have to be part of this campaign. We cannot leave women to try fix this problem on their own. Men commit most of the violence. Men still run so many of the institutions - the police, the judges, the courts system - which historically were poor at addressing the causes of violence against women - or dealing humanely with the victims.

The central event of the Parliament Square gathering was the release of 109 balloons, a poignant occasion, each balloon marking the life of a woman lost to male violence in Britain last year alone. That same day there was a debate in Parliament on the need for better sex and relationship education, something I personally feel passionate about. The ‘zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships’ was approved without a vote. Unfortunately the government us still refusing to commit to definite measures here. In my own way, from my own corner, I will keep pressing. I would rather speak than lapse into silence.

We simply can’t be silent. This is an issue that won’t leave us alone. We cannot or should not retreat into quietism, hoping for peace as the world gets tighter and tighter, drawing ever closer to our own thresholds. We are all human beings and our life has value. Time to stand and shout – I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

About the Writer

Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on I’m as Mad as Hell

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By Uttam Gill on February 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

I am mad more than as Hell...This blog or 1 billion rising won't keep the female safe...The predators are everywhere...Create more than, what we assume is enough...I am totally aghast at the fixed mind set...

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By melanie jean juneau on February 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

very well written

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By Anastasia on February 19, 2013 at 05:20 pm

Yes, Uttam, rising still and rising.

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By Anastasia on February 19, 2013 at 05:20 pm

Thanks, dear Melanie.

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By Barbara MacDonald on February 19, 2013 at 05:27 pm

Yes, Ana, I was so happy to see this...I have worked with many survivors and devoted a large part of my life to helping in this issue...when I first started addressing this, it was very much in the closet...people were afraid to speak out...thankfully this has changed, but we still have so far to go. Thank you for this wonderful article Ana. :-)

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By John Nelson on February 22, 2013 at 03:04 pm

In my community I'm on the Board of Directors for our non-profit domestic violence shelter. Sadly, we are often full. Our Senator, Orin Hatch was a co-author of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that helped (in part) to fund domestic violence shelters and rape crisis and prevention programs. Hatch is a Republican and worked with Democrats to pass the bill many years ago.

Sadly, VAWA was up for renewal and Mr. Hatch, pandering to the nasty radical right-winged Tea Party movement voted against it.... Against his own bill! Fortunately, we have not been taken over completely by the crackpot fringe and the renewal of the bill passed!!

The VAWA funds help, but only covers a little of the operating costs of our shelter and rape and domestic violence programs, the rest is done by fund raising. It survives largely due to the dedicated volunteers who keep it going.

Thanks for supporting the Violence Against Women movement. In our shelter we also shelter men. Rape and domestic violence are still too prevalent in our world and we need to keep this issue in the public space.

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